DIY Network

How to Install a Retro Toilet

Classic lines give this bathroom essential a retro appeal.

More in Plumbing

Toilet installation
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Cut the Drain Pipe

Note: The toilet used in this project was fully assembled. If the internal mechanism isn't in place on the toilet, assemble it according to the manufacturer's instructions before proceeding.

A professional plumber roughed in the plumbing for the toilet, which included a PVC drain pipe that extended above the floor. Amy used a reciprocating saw with a flush-cut adapter to cut this drain pipe off at the floor. The adapter allows her to cut a straight line flush with the floor, without having to bend the saw blade.

Installing a toilet

Step 2: Install the Flange

De-burr the cut PVC pipe with a file.

Apply PVC primer to the inside of the toilet flange and the outside of the PVC stub in the floor (Image 1). Follow up with PVC cement on both surfaces.

Fit the flange into the PVC stub, positioning it so that the slots for closet bolts are at the sides of the drain.

Secure the flange to the floor with stainless steel screws (Image 2).

Step 3: Position the Wax Ring

Fit the closet bolts into the slots and position them to go through the bolt holes in the base of the toilet.

Unwrap and position the wax ring on the flange. This ring creates the airtight, watertight seal that makes the toilet work properly.

Toilet installation

Step 4: Position the Toilet and Finish Installation

Carefully set the toilet in place on the wax ring, with the closet bolts coming up through the holes in the toilet base. Don't rock or wiggle the toilet, or the wax seal will be ruined.

Note: Always try to have at least one other person assisting when it's time to set a toilet in place. Even a lightweight toilet is heavy, and it's difficult to position the toilet properly on the bolts without help.

With the toilet in place, slip a nylon washer, a metal washer and a nut on each closet bolt. Tighten with an adjustable wrench. Be careful not to over-tighten, which can crack the toilet base.

Snap on the plastic bolt covers.

Attach the water supply line to the toilet and to the water shutoff. Open the shutoff valve and let the toilet tank fill.

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  • Toilet from Improvement Direct Inc.