In theory fitting a toilet is a very simple job. Water enters the cistern. Water fills the cistern. The cistern is connected to the bowl. The bowl receives water and when flushing occurs pushes old water and any bodily excretions within it through the waste pipe. In theory very simple. In theory.
In theory chatting up women is very simple too. You coat yourself in Doctor Ofknowledge’s Miracle Unuglifier Sealant. You load the neOnbubble Slightly Saucy Conversation Sentience into an unused node of your brain. You talk to women. They respond. You work your way through the Karma Sutra until dawn. In theory very simple. In theory.
We’re going to look at fitting a toilet today. This is based on the assumption that you live in a "builder-modernised" house "modernised" by a "lobotomised asylum escapee" (like me (that is living in a house like that like me, and not an asylum escape like me – I’ll have you know I never escaped!)). This means we’ll need to remove the old toilet first.
Before you attempt to remove an existing toilet and fit a new one it is imperative that you are prepared beforehand. You will need:
- gym membership – concentrate on building up your thigh and lower back muscles,
- a double life – at night you will need to engage in bare-knuckle fisticuffs with ruffians and oiks in order to weather your hands, roughening them up for gripping purposes,
- a triple life – on nights when there are no uncouth youths just waiting for a good old-fashioned pounding you should sell your body as a cheap whore paying special attention to buttock-clenching and being down on your knees a lot,
- enough food and water to survive a nuclear holocaust in the event that you can never turn the water back on again.
Turn Off The Water
Realise very early on that there is no isolation valve on the existing toilet. Realise soon afterwards that there is no stopcock in the house. Resign yourself to stepping out into the street and stopping the water from the valve outside your house. The valve is rusty and there is muck all around it and possibly things waiting to bite you or crawl over you like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Turn the valve clockwise. Then anti-clockwise. Then clockwise again. Then realise you don’t know which way is off. Leave it where it was, consult the internet, and try again. It’s clockwise!
Drain The Toilet
Flush the existing toilet. This will remove most of the water from the cistern. However, what’s left – which doesn’t look like much at all in the grand scheme of things – is far more than you think! Do not disconnect the inlet pipe at this time unless you are on the ground floor of your house or don’t mind running downstairs into the kitchen, standing on a stool, and poking holes in the ceiling to relieve the pressure build-up that’s already dripping onto the sink and floor.
Remove The Existing Toilet
You’ll want to remove the cistern from the bowl first. Unscrew the fixings beneath the cistern. Or, if they’re rusted to buggery and won’t budge, cry a little. Now unbolt the cistern from the wall. If the bolts are also rusted to buggery take this time to spend some moments in your makeshift Klingon Zone Of Contemplative And Imaginitive Cursewords. I chanted "You son of a Mogherfuggin Qa’ Bah Feck Feck Feck Dahhh’ Gih! Arsehole Qa’pla!" a number of times until the spirit of Kahless told me to stop being a whiny sissy boy and that seemed to do the trick.
With the cistern removed you can now remove the bowl from the floor too. You should find that the screws or bolts attached to the bowl are marginally less rusted through than those elsewhere in the bodged toilet system installed by the twat who originally put it in but you should remember that rust on these bolts or screws is most likely down to splashed urine rather than water. Break out that biological encounter suit once more if you’ve got it or flap your hands about saying "ooh!" a lot as that seems to ward off pee-based infection too.
Testing The New Cistern
You won’t find this tip anywhere else on the internet’s wide, wide range of toilet-fitting guides so write it down now: test the watertightness of your new cistern before you fit the cistern to the toilet and fix it into place. I cannot stress this point enough.
Screw your inlet valve thingy and your outflow valve whatsit into place and then fit the tank-to-bowl bolts. Now here’s where it gets real tricky. The bolts and washers supplied with any new cistern and fittings do not stop water coming through. Oh they say they do but they lie. It doesn’t matter how much you tighten them. It doesn’t matter if you try different configurations of plastic washers, metal washers, or rubber washers; if they came in the pack with the toilet fittings then they’re shit.
When putting the bolts and washers in place make sure they are dipped in leak compound sealant first. After the washers and bolts are in place coat them in more leak compound sealant. Let the sealant harden and then add some more. Build up layers of sealant. Okay: you’ll never get that bolt off again but Goddamn You Sonofabitch Water If You’re Going To Keep Leaking All Over My Bathroom!
Fitting The New Toilet
Seat the cistern on the bowl but don’t connect yet. Move the bowl into position so the cistern is against the wall and connect the waste outlet pipe to the back of the bowl using a flexible connector. Make sure you have a really good seal here. Anywhere else on the toilet and a leak means water. Here, a leak means wee-wee and poo and soggy loo paper and water and tears and more hand-flapping. Mark where the bowl bolts will fit into the floor then disconnect, drill (praying there’s nothing underneath but wood and corpses), reconnect, and fit.
Bolt the cistern to the bowl. Connect the water inlet pipe to the valve (or the valve to the pipe – go crazy and connect it whichever way you want!). Screw it into place. Use a spanner or wrench. If you’ve been sensible and/or lucky then you should have fitted an isolating valve at this point too. If, on the other hand, you got confused and picked up the wrong flexible connector then you’ll just have a normal pipe in again and will need to engage the assistance of someone with a mobile phone or be prepared to sprint through your house as you try to switch the water back on at the mains, hurtle indoors, check to see if water is spraying all over the place because there’s yet another thing that wasn’t quite tightened correctly, then thunder back down the stairs, along the hall, and out through the forecourt to the water valve once more.
The final stage in fitting a toilet is the worrying stage. For the next few weeks you will be convinced there’s a leak in your toilet still. You won’t want to sit on the loo seat and will try to hover just above it. After flushing you will spend minutes looking at the bolts and connectors convinced there’s a slight build-up of water. You will dream of toilet disasters. Every time you enter the kitchen you will instinctively look up at the screwdriver holes and wonder if the ceiling will collapse on you as you do the washing up.
After a couple of months, however, you will die of a stress-related illness and won’t have to worry anymore.