Reseating a Toilet

If the toilet is leaking where the base meets the floor, you need to replace the wax seal on the bottom of the toilet bowl. Shut off the water supply, remove the water from the tank by flushing several times and mopping up any remaining water, and then disconnect the supply tube from the toilet tank (as detailed previously). Remove water from the toilet bowl by bailing and sponging.

Unscrew the bolts that connect the toilet tank to the bowl, and remove the tank. Set it somewhere safe, where it can't be damaged. Remove the toilet seat. Look for the bolts that fasten the toilet to the floor. Their plastic covers can be pried up with a flat-bladed screwdriver, but be careful not to scratch the toilet base. Undo the nuts and washers from the bolts.

Have rags handy so that you can mop up any water that spills. Water spilling from the toilet drain may not be clean; use rubber gloves when you're mopping it up, and throw out the rags afterward. A rag stuffed in the drain will help block any odors or gases from escaping into the bathroom.

Stand over the toilet bowl and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it until you can lift it up from the bolts and lay it upside down or on its side so that you can work on it easily (have a helper nearby, as toilets are heavy and easily cracked).

You'll now be able to see the old wax seal on the toilet base. Use a putty knife to remove it, and place a new wax seal over the opening in the toilet base. Many seals come with a sleeve that holds them in place; it needs to face away from the toilet. Run silicone caulking around the bottom edge of the toilet.

With your helper, lift the toilet back into place over the bolts and press it down, rocking it back and forth a little to seat the seal properly. Reinstall the washers and nuts over the toilet base bolts and replace the decorative covers.

Place a new spud washer, or soft seal, over the assembly where the toilet tank connects with the toilet bowl, place the tank on the bowl, and tighten the tank mounting screws. Reconnect the supply tube, restore the water supply, and check for leaks. Replace the toilet seat.

Now that basic plumbing, from faucets through to toilets, is taken care of, there's another major house system to tackle: electricity. Although most electrical wiring should be handled by a licensed electrician (and in some areas, must be done that way by code), there are some simple electrical tasks that you can handle yourself, revealed in Chapter 19.

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