Should I repair or replace my toilet?

toilet with an out of order sign

Taking Care of Toilet Problems

If there is one thing in your home that you wouldn’t want to live without, it is probably the toilet. You could; they did many years ago before the toilet was invented, but who would want to do that, right?  As important a part of daily life as the toilet is, it makes toilet repairs an absolute must. Fortunately, you can do many toilet repairs yourself, and toilet repairs from an experienced plumber are still affordable.

Can you repair the toilet bowl?

It seems unlikely, but yes, toilet bowl tanks will crack, and those cracks aren’t always visible at first. It could be a crack from the factory that never showed up until now, or a crack may develop over time, often due to extreme changes in temperature. 

Whatever the reason, before you can repair it, you’ve got to find the crack. Then you need to assess if it is a possible toilet repair, or if will you need a new toilet. A toilet bowl crack can be challenging to find, and the water leaking may only happen when the toilet is flushed. So, as you inspect the toilet bowl from the floor up and all around the bowl, flush the toilet. 

Three common places a crack may occur and require toilet repair are: 

  • Above the water level: You’ll need to keep monitoring this because unless the water gets up higher than normal, you may never know there is a crack. 
  • Below the water level: This will be more challenging and almost impossible to find because of the bowl shape. If you can see the crack, you can’t do any type of toilet repair – it needs to be replaced. 
  • The invisible crack is a possibility that will show up in different ways: water standing on the floor around the toilet, or water is missing from the bowl. This type of leak will cause water to pool up on the floor at the base or slowly leak into the drain. This could be because the seal is worn on the underside of the bowl and isn’t the easiest toilet repair, but it is repairable. A hairline crack in the base of the toilet can be sealed with an epoxy. 

Can you repair a toilet tank?

If the tank has a hairline crack, an easy toilet repair is to use waterproof epoxy to seal the crack. If there is a crack where it bolts to the floor, you can try an epoxy seal there too. If that toilet repair doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to replace the toilet. 

Can you buy a replacement tank for a toilet?

Yes, you can purchase a replacement toilet tank at any home improvement center or hardware store. Replacing a toilet tank is a fairly easy toilet repair for DIY homeowners, saving you a service call to a plumber. 

It is essential to match the toilet tank with the toilet bowl, getting the same manufacturer brand and model so the installation goes smoothly and the toilet functions correctly. Nothing can be worse than finishing a toilet repair and finding that you’re still having the same problem, or worse, another problem! 

Where can I get replacement toilet parts?

Any hardware store or big box chain home improvement store will have toilet parts and toilet repair kits for the internal parts of the tank. You can also purchase for retail plumbing supply stores, where you’ll be able to get experienced plumber guidance. 

Do toilet repair kits come in different sizes? 

Yes, there are different sizes when it comes to toilet repair kits. Not all brands of toilets are the same and within the different brands, the toilets are often different too. When everyone is having to ‘jiggle’ the handle to stop the toilet from running, there are several toilet repair kits to choose from. 

Each one will have a chart or guidelines on what toilet it fits and information on how to replace a toilet repair kit. This can include information on how to repair toilet flange and other parts within the tank. You can also find a plethora of online videos that can walk you through the process of toilet repairs. 

plumber performing toilet repairs

The Big Question About The Household Throne

How do I buy a replacement toilet? And how do I choose a replacement toilet? Every homeowner will find themselves asking this question sooner or later. We will flush a toilet over 100,000 times in our lives. The toilet uses up to 30% of the water in our home. A few facts you’ll want to consider when purchasing a replacement toilet: 

  • Gravity-assisted toilet – the common type in most homes. The height and weight of the water in the tank facilitate the  flush. 
  • Pressure-assisted toilet –  there is an active mechanism that facilitates he flush using gravity to force the flush.
  • Vacuum-assisted toilet –  This type uses a vacuum to draw water with force into the bowl using the holes around the rim of the upper toilet bowl. 

There are one-piece model toilets that have an integrated bowl and tank, creating a compact unit. These are easier to clean and ideal for small bathrooms with limited space. Then there is the standard two-piece model, separate bowl and tank that fit together and is often less expensive than the one-piece style.

When it comes to the seat, there is an elongated shape and a round shape and then there is toilet height to be considered. If you have a home with small children, the standard 14” to 15” height would be recommended. The most comfortable toilets are 17” to 19” tall from the floor. You’ll need to measure the rough-in for your new toilet as well. This is the space between the outlet pipe of the toilet and the wall behind it. There are several different sizes within the different models, the correct rough-in is important in getting the right size of toilet for years of happy flushing and hopefully minimal toilet repairs.