Is toilet repair a DIY project?

By: Contributors

Most toilet repairs can be carried out by the home handyman or DIY plumber. One of the simplest repair jobs for your toilet is replacing the seat. Most modern toilets are one of two standard sizes. Choose the seat style that you like, and make sure to get the right size. The only difficult that may arise is in opening the bolts that hold the old seat in place. They're often hard to get to and on occasion will have rusted or decayed, making it necessary to cut them if all else fails. In this, as in all toilet repairs, be careful with heavy tools as the toilet bowl and tank can be broken quite easily.

Problems involving the flushing action of the toilet are also relatively easy to fix. These problems may be caused when the float ball gets full of water, is set too high or too low, or rubs against the wall of the tank. In this case you can adjust or replace the flush mechanism. Ballcock assemblies can also be replaced or adjusted to allow proper flushing. Chemical residue or stone from heavy water can sometimes cause the flush valve or water inlets not to function properly. Steel wool can usually fix this problem.


Blocked toilets can often be fixed by using a plunger. Make sure there is enough water in the bowl to cover the bulb of the plunger (add more from outside, if necessary, but don't flush the toilet); then work the plunger up and down. If this doesn't work, you may need to use an auger or a snake to reach the blockage. If it is necessary to remove the entire toilet, you can even do this yourself although it's a bit more difficult. Check whether local plumbing codes allow you to remove or replace a toilet yourself. If so, turn off the water to the toilet and empty both the tank and the bowl completely before removing them. Make sure your replacement toilet fits the available space.