DIY Network

How to Replace an Outdated Commode

This outdated bathroom has some unfortunate 1970s era problems. Find out how one couple gives their outdated bathroom a new period commode.

More in Remodeling

new period commode replaces 1970 era fixture
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Remove the Water From the Commode

Turn off the water shut off valve.

Flush the toilet.

Disconnect the water supply line. Have a small bucket handy to catch any excess water.

Inspect the shut off valve. If the valve is leaking or corroded, you will need to replace it.

disconnect water supply line

Step 2: Remove the Toilet From the Bathroom

Disconnect the johnny bolts (i.e., the two bolts on either side of the base of the commode)

Lift the commode up and off the wax ring and drain hole.

Stuff a rag into the drain pipe to contain any sewer gasses that might be present.

Carry the toilet out of the house. Be sure all of the water is gone, before moving it.

Clean and inspect the drain flange. If it's damaged, a repair flange may be fitted in place.
Note: In this bathroom restoration project, the grout replacement and tile cleaning took place between the time that the toilet was removed and the new one was installed.

lift commode up and off wax ring and drain hole

Step 3: Prepare the Area for a New Commode

Procure a period commode from a salvage shop or use a period reproduction commode.

Clean the surrounding tile using liquid tile cleaner, bleach and brushes or sponges as needed (Image 1).

With the grout work completed, remove the rag from the toilet drain flange.

Install new johnny bolts into the drain flange.

Install a new wax ring on the drain flange (Image 2).

Step 4: Place the New Commode

Place the period commode onto the wax ring.

Press down on the toilet (Image 1) squeezing out the wax until the commode rests on the floor.

Place washers/nuts on the Johnny bolts and tighten (not too hard) to secure the commode (Image 2).

Step 5: Hang the Water Tank and Attach the Seat

Install the toilet seat to the commode basin (Image 1).

Drill wall at appropriate spots to secure the tank to the wall with wall anchors and screws (Image 2).

For a wall-mounted tank, attach the flush pipe to the commode basin and the water tank (Image 3) and secure the connection (Image 4).

Finally, place the lid onto the toilet water tank.

Older commodes often have water tanks that need to be supported by attaching them to the wall. For drywall, simple wall anchors can be utilized for that purpose. For ceramic tile walls, as in this project, the tile can be drilled with a small 3/16" or 1/4" masonry drill bit. Plastic wall anchors are inserted into the drilled holes and the water tank is fastened to these wall anchors with long wood screws.