The only thing we were able to salvage from Mom’s old powder room for her new accessible bathroom was the one-piece toilet. For the longest time it sat in the dining room. Not the most appetizing sight but that’s about to change!
Tools and Prep
Ensure the water supply is off. In came the tools.
Before installing the wax ring, Cameron from CDN Plumbing did a dry fit to make sure the bolts were long enough. We knew that our floor would be out of level (due to an unfixable issue with the builder, not our contractors) so there was quite a bit of rocking motion between the toilet and the floor. Not a good scenario because rocking will compromise the wax seal.
The best fix for a rocking toilet is to have some shims ready to go.
After the bolts were set into the slots, two wax rings went onto the flange to bring the height up. I’m not sure if I like the idea of doubling up the wax ring instead of adding an extender. I only caught this while writing up this blog post, so didn’t discuss it when the work was in progress. My thought is that if the wax ring fails, the water could pool below the tile making the leak undetectable. However, we installed a Shluter system under the tile so it shouldn’t be an issue even if it were to leak.
Ideally the flange should sit level with the floor. Although some plumbers raise it with extenders, ours has been doubling up wax rings for 20 years. If you’re pro or con either way, I would advise you to have a discussion with your plumber! Alternately, if you’re doing the work yourself, it’s up to you. Do whatever you’re comfortable with 😉.
Lift in Place
Then it was time to heave ho and lift that sucker into place. Positioning a one-piece toilet is tricky because it’s heavy, and you have to get both bolts through the corresponding holes on the toilet base. It’s like threading two needles at the same time! It probably didn’t help that I was documenting the install, but Cameron was good sport!
Once the toilet is in, the washers and nuts are threaded onto the bolts. Hand turn the nuts but don’t tighten all the way.
Shim to Level
The shims are then positioned at the back where the gap is (you can see one sticking out on the right side).
It’s important to get the toilet level. Any movement that isn’t resolved at this point can lead to a cracked toilet down the road, so take your time with this step and get the shims right.
Place a level onto the back of the toilet to check.
Apply some downward pressure to ensure the wax seal makes contact.
Finish tightening the bolts before cutting off the shims.
To hide the shims, score them with a utility knife until they break away.
Hook up the water supply using a steel braided supply line. Hand tighten to the toilet tank fill valve and also to the cut-off valve connection. Finish tightening by turning the nut 1/4 – 1/2 turn. If you use a crescent wrench for this step, it won’t scratch the finish on the nut.
Open the shut-off valve and let the toilet fill. Check for leaks. The great thing about a one piece toilet is that the only place you need to be worried about leaks is on the floor. The water level in the tank should be around an inch below the overflow pipe.
Now, use a hacksaw to cut down the long bolts.
With the bolts cut, the plastic caps can snap on to cover up the unsightly hardware.
Since this was a re-install of the toilet that was in the previous bathroom, the self-closing seat was already on, but it’s easy to add the seat.
Some Sound Advice
Take this last piece advice from Cameron: never caulk around the bottom of a toilet! The base of the toilet is designed to be a leak point. So when the gaskets go (and they eventually will!), you want to see the water coming out at the bottom. You can also tell by the discolouration of the grout lines that the gaskets are shot.
If you caulk around a toilet, the only place for the water to go is your basement – or whatever room is directly beneath the bathroom! The water is much better contained above the tile to prevent substantial water damage! You should get a few years out of a gasket – and the wax ones will last longer.
The Great TP Debate
Once the toilet was installed, the toilet paper holder could go in. It’s hard work; I felt ‘wiped’ just watching Joey from the Brolaws level the template!
Hubs will be cringing that I didn’t refrain from using toilet paper puns because they’re just ‘tearable’, but I can’t help myself: I’m on a ‘roll’.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Speaking of being on a roll, before we get to the reveal, do you want to weigh in on the great toilet paper debate? (A. is under, B. is over). Let us know how you hang YOUR toilet paper roll and why.
Our choice is (drumroll, please)….’A’ all the way!
Here’s how Mom’s accessible bathroom looked as it started to take shape:
The one-piece toilet we used is the Toto UltraMax II. Hubs and I have tried many toilet brands over the years. But in our opinion, Toto makes the best high efficiency – and more importantly, trouble free – toilet. We replaced every toilet in our house with a Toto, so if you’re in the market for a new one, check them out.
And now Mom has a throne fit for a queen.
Did you notice those empty hooks reflected in the mirror? In our last post, we hooked you up with how to install them in porcelain tile. Check out our tips and see how they look now accessorized with towels!
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