In plans for a new bathroom or for the renovation of an old one, the question of future convenience has naturally been given paramount im portance. One of the three basic fixtures is the water closet. All plans include one, and theoretically it can be placed wherever it will fit into the bathroom layout to the best advantage. The theory, however, may ignore the harsh facts of cost and labor. If you do not have to consider either, you can do what you like.
But if you are an amateur plumber attempting to make the installation yourself, and you want to do it as inexpensively as possible, you may decide to modify your plans in order to simplify the installation of the water closet.
Before going further, it is advisable to consider the various types of water closet, select the type you desire, and actually buy it, for outlet connections vary slightly according to make and type.
Types of water closetThere are three basic types of water closet now made and generally used. The simplest is the washdown type of closet. The second is the washdown reverse-trap closet. The third is the sipbon-jet closet, an improvement of the other two.
The washdown closet is probably the most inexpensive and has been widely used for some years. The trapway is at the front and has to be small, since flushing depends on the siphonic action in the, trapway. However, it is slightly less effective than other types.
The reverse-trap closet has its trapway situated at the back instead of the front. Some people think this adds to its appearance. The water seal is slightly deeper, and the flushing action of the bowl is a little quieter.
The siphon-jet closet is claimed to be the most efficient and sanitary of the three. The trapway, located at the rear; is larger than that in the reverse-trap closet. The water surface is almost as large as the rim opening, thus reducing the fouling area. Water discharges from the flushing rim, cleaning the bowl and creating a whirlpool which draws the water and waste down to the bottom by strong centrifugal force. Then a powerful jet from the bottom forces the contents of the bowl up into the outlet passage to complete the flushing.
Price is an important consideration in selecting your water closet. Prices change, of course, and vary in different parts of the country, partly as a result of the distance from manufacturer to purchaser. However, a comparison of the prices of the three types of water closet may be useful. Delivery costs would increase these prices, since the water closet, including tank, weighs about 100 pounds.
Types of flushing
Many years ago most water closets had their tanks near the ceiling, six feet or more above the water closet. Now tanks either rest against the back of the water closet or are hung from the wall with their bottoms just a few inches above the closet. Still another type has a flush valve and no tank, but it is not practical for most private homes because, in many cases, the water volume is insufficient to make it operate properly. You. can sometimes overcome this by installing larger pipes from the source of water supply to the house, but that adds greatly to the expense.
Outlet location varies
A comparison of the dimensions as given above, which show the distance from the finished wall to the centerline of the outlet, indicates the necessity of deciding on exactly what type of water closet and flushing source you are going to use.
Manufacturers of such equipment furnish sketches and measurements which are very complete and easy to understand. But make sure the closet you buy has that dimension, do not just plan on it because it is average for that type. On the other hand, if you had first planned on a flush-valve closet, and had already installed the outlet pipe to the soil stack, allowing only 10" from wall to centerline, and you then decided to install a flush-tank closet, it would be almost impossible to do so without changing the outflow pipe and closet bend.
Not only is it necessary to consider the measurements from the front and the back of the water closet to the wall, but you also have to plan on the distances of the sides from the wall, from other fixtures, and from the bathroom door. Some bathrooms are quite small.
An inch or two may not seem important when you are planning fixtures on paper but it will make a great difference to your finished bathroom. If, for example, the door opens too close to the front of the water closet, you may have a real problem. It might then be advisable to use the low-down flushtank type of closet rather than the wall-hung type. You might even recess the tank 1/2" or more into the wall in order to reduce the 25 1/2" dimension.
Still another point to remember is that the water closet tank is some 21" wide. You cannot jam the tank up against another fixture and so must not move it so far from the door that it is against the lavatory. All of these points have a direct bearing on the location of the water closet outlet, so check them carefully.
Another factor must be taken into account. The bathroom floor is supported by joists, and the soil pipe from your water closet has to run between them. Since bathroom fixtures are heavy and need support, you cannot just cut through a joist that is in the way. A cut part way through a joist would be safe if you nailed another joist to the other side, but you should avoid weakening the structure of your house unless you have to do so.
You must also plan the exact height of the finished floor. Probably only a rough floor has been put down thus far. If tile is to be laid, you should take its height into account. Four-inch cast iron pipe does not stretch and, if you install a closet bend flush with the top of a wood floor, and then put tile over the wood floor, you will run into difficulty when trying to connect the water closet. Linoleum, of course, is not thick enough to cause much trouble.
Careful planning vital
After studying the material given thus far, the amateur plumber may conclude that his plumbing system should be built around the water closet. Plan your bathroom carefully: actually buy the water closet and from its dimensions plot the location of the outlet. After that, locate and install the soil stack. The rest of the actual installation will then be much easier.
Installation of the water closet
There are several ways of connecting the water closet outlet and the soil stack as discussed below. A piece of threaded cast iron pipe and a cast iron elbow with a flange at the top are one of the simplest means. If done this way, only three operations are necessary: screwing the pipe into the elbow, cutting the other end of the pipe to the right length, and then connecting it into the bell of T or Y fitting in the soil stack. This method is not common because threaded cast iron pipe is not readily available and is quite expensive. The methods that follow are more frequently used.
Support closet bend
If your house is still in the building stage, it is likely that a rough floor will have been laid in the bathroom before you begin the work of installing the water closet. After your planning is completed, mark off on the floor where the center of the floor flange or top of the closet bond is to be. Then cut out the section of floor between joists. Be sure to cut one or two floor boards away from the wall beyond the point of the closet bend, so as to give you both room to work and room to install supports under the closet bend. Nail pieces of 2"x4" on the open sides of the joists so that they will support the pieces of floor when replaced.
If the joists run the other way and one or more has to be cut to allow the soil pipe to be run over from the soil stack, attach headers between nearby joists to support the floor.
Of course, before you replace the floor, other bathroom plumbing should be installed if it is to be accessible through that particular hole. The water supply line for the water closet tank may be one such pipe. The drainage pipe or pipes from the tub and wash bowl may also be connected to the soil stack.
Lead closet bend
One of the commonest methods of connecting the water closet to the soil pipe is by means of a lead bend and brass flange. Perhaps a reason for this is the fact that, it is easier to correct a slight miscalculation with a lead bend. If you have installed the soil stack an inch or so off, the cast iron soil pipe from the T or Y in the soil stack will not reach the right spot for the water closet outlet. Then, instead of cutting the lower end of the lead bend off square, cut it at a slight angle and when joined it will reach the right spot.
First a brass floor flange is soldered to the lead bend. Clean the inside edge of the brass flange and tin it. Shave the outside end of the lead bend and then apply flux to it to prevent the cleaned lead from oxidizing. Next the flange is slipped over the lead bend and the lead is pressed against the flange all the way round.
Then use a soldering iron or blow torch to flow solder around the floor flange and against the lead bend. Flow the solder until it fuses to the lead and to the brass flange. After it has cooled, cut off any lead that sticks up above the range with a saw or penknife.
The other end of the lead bend is connected to the cast iron soil pipe with an ordinary wiped joint.
Cast iron closet bend
Another method of connecting the water closet to the soil pipe uses cast iron entirely. A specially made cast iron pipe and bend runs from the T-Y in the soil stack and a cast iron flange is attached to it by means of a regular caulked joint. This is sometimes referred to as a government-type connection.
A piece of cast iron combines both closet bend and a foot-long piece of pipe and connects directly to the sanitary T in the soil stack. It is scored at either end to facilitate cutting, which can be done with a cold chisel and hammer. First cut the end which is going to fit into the soil stack T.
Then caulk and pour that joint. If the closet bend extends up above the level of the floor, locate the flange at the proper point, being sure the slots in the flange are at the right point to bolt on the water closet in its proper location. Caulk and lead-pour that joint joining flange to closet bend. After the lead has cooled, caulk it and cut away any part of the closet bend that sticks up above the flange.
You are now ready to attach the water closet. However, this method can be used only if you can secure a pipe and bend which is long enough. It is made in one size, which is 15" from center of inlet to end of pipe. This will cover most cases.
Threaded bross flange connection
Still another method of connecting a water closet to the soil pipe here. This is a good method for cases where a sanitary T has been placed too low in the soil stack, or for any other circumstance which results in a bend's being low. A piece of 4" lead pipe is threaded at one end.
A cast-iron-drive ferrule is placed on the other end, which is then placed in the cast iron bell, caulked, and filled with molten lead in the usual manner of making a caulked joint. Then the threaded brass flange is screwed on so it will be flush with the floor when that is replaced. After making sure the slots in the flange are turned so they will take the water closet bolts, bolt it into the proper position. Then tin the brass next to the lead pipe and solder it securely. After that has cooled, cut off all lead above the flange.
Copper tube connection
If you have used copper tubing for the soil stack, naturally you will use copper tubing for the closet bend, and in fact may purchase a soil stack Y and closet bend all in one piece. In that case all that is necessary is to attach a closet bend flange by means of a sweat joint.
Or you may have a cast iron soil pipe with an appropriate sanitary T in place to take the water closet connection, and wish to use copper tubing from there to the water closet. In that case, you solder the lower end of the copper tubing closet bend into a cast iron copper tubing adapter ferrule. Connect that to the soil pipe with an ordinary caulked joint.
Attaching water closet
When the soil pipe, closet bend, and flange are all in place, and any other pipes have been installed, and the floor has been replaced, you are ready to place the water closet in position. The bathroom floor covering, either tile or linoleum, should have been laid with an 8"-diameter bole left for the floor flange. Slip the two water closet bolts through the slots of the floor flange with the square heads under part of the flange and the threaded section up.
Take the water closet and turn it upside down, and press down a water closet gasket over the horn which protrudes from the bottom of the bowl. This gasket is usually made of graphite and fits very snugly. If no graphite gasket came with the water closet, you should use a felt or asbestos gasket, and it should be placed over the bolts and on top of the flange.
Turn the water closet right side up and set it down to see whether it fits over the bolts properly. If it does, make its outline on the floor with chalk or pencil, and then lift it off. Mix up some plaster of paris. Take a small pan and place a small amount of water in it. Sift in plaster of paris gradually until the mixture is the consistency of putty.
Do not stir mixture, as stirring will cause plaster of paris to set quickly. place plaster of, paris around flange and bolt holes but be careful not to get any inside the closet bend or soil pipe. Also place it on the floor just inside the entire outline of the, water closet.
Dampen the bottom of the water closet bowl so that the plaster of paris will adhere to it, and then set the water closet back in place over the bolts. This will cause excess plaster of paris to be squeezed out. Put washers and nuts on the bolts, and tighten each one gradually, first one a few turns and then the other a few turns.
When both nuts are pulled up tight, wipe away with finger any excess plaster that ha squeezed out. The reason for setting the water closet on plaster of paris is to make certain that the water closet has a level base which will support it uniformly. Do not use putty inplace of plaster of paris. Putty dries up, cracks, and crumbles. It will also absorb moisture, and the moisture that it would absorb around a water closet will eventually throw offensive odor.
Attaching water closet tank
Houses are not all built in exactly way and there is no set rule as to which of several steps must be done first. The house water supply enters the cellar and is piped up to where it is needed in both the kitchen and bathroom. If your home has two floors and the bathroom is on the second floor, cold water may be piped to the kitchen first and then up to the bathroom. It is both economical and easiest to install as few pipes as possible. For that reason, one cannot say whether it will be better to have the water supply lines for the water closet come in through the bathroom floor or through the bathroom wall. In
Entering through the bathroom wall, which is desirable from the standpoint of having less pipe exposed in the bathroom. However, if your water closet is located against a different wall from the wash bowl and tub, it might involve extra piping to have the water closet supply enter through a wall.
Most water closet tanks now made are of two types, the free-standing, which rests on the back of the water closet bowl, and the low-hanging tank, which is attached to the wall. For some reason the amateur plumber may wish to install a lowhanging tank, but the free-standing tank, which has come into vogue in the last fifty years, is so much less work to install that it is preferred.
You will have received roughing in measurements from the manufacturer with your water closet and tank. Study these and measure. Note what size of pipe is specified. In many cases 3/8" pipe is the size the tank is fitted for. If your water supply line is different, a reducer will have to be connected.
The water supply line should be brought to the wall or floor of the bathroom and end at an elbow or coupling. The reason for this is that although any unexposed section of your cold water supply line is probably made of galvanized steel pipe, you will probably wish to have chrome plated pipe for all exposed pipes in the bathroom. In fact, some water closets come with a length of chrome plated pipe.
You merely cut it to the proper length, thread the other end, and install it as you would other threaded pipe. If valves are to be included, they should be chrome or nickel plated. Measure the valves carefully and do not forget to include allowance for the thread engagement. The end of the pipe that connects to the tank is not threaded because it slips inside a ball-cock spud connection in the tank.
Before making that final connection, slip a wall escutcheon or floor plate in place, below a valve of course, and then with all in place except the last piece of pipe which goes up to the tank, slip the loose-head coupling, the metal ring washer, and then the rubber washer over the tank supply pipe at the unthreaded end. Next slip the unthreaded end up into the ball-cock spud in the bottom of your tank. Lower the pipe to the connection it screws into and tighten it, first by hand and then using a strap or parmalee wrench which will not mar the chrome finish. Finally, raise the two washers and the loose-head coupling and screw the coupling tight against the ball-cock tank. When doing this, be careful that the ball-cock inside the tank does not turn.
Attaching low-down water closet tank
You must first decide on the exact point on the wall to which you are going to attach the tank. The bottom of the tank should be about 4" above the top of the water closet. You will probably receive roughing in measurements from the manufacturer in addition to the flush elbow that joins tank and closet to couplings and washers. Check the size of the slip elbow and plan the location of the tank accordingly. Then locate where the holes in the back of the tank will come.
It will be necessary to attach a reinforcement board between studs in back of the wall. The tank will be attached to this. Since the tank is about 21" wide and studs are placed 16" on centers, it is quite possible that part of it will go on either side of a stud. Therefore, screw board to studs. Anchor solidly as weight may cause future leaks.
When the reinforcement board is in place and you are ready to attach the tank, first slip the escutcheon over the water closet spud. Then take the flush elbow and over the top end slip a loose-head coupling, a metal washer, and then a rubber washer. Over the lower end also slip a loosehead coupling, a metal washer, and rubber washer. Then insert the end of the flush elbow into the closet bowl and screw the coupling onto the spud loosely with your hands. That will bring both washers up against the closet spud. Tighten the coupling just enough to hold the flush elbow upright.
Now place the tank in position. The best way to do this is to sit on the toilet facing the wall. Pick the tank up and rest it on your knees. Then lift the tank slowly into position, so the spud of the tank slips over the flush elbow, which has already been connected to the water closet. Let the tank slip down on the elbow approximately 1" to 2". Adjust the elbow so the tank rests against the wall. Do not tighten the connection yet.
After making sure that the tank is level, fasten it to the wall with washers and wood screws through the holes in the back of the tank. Be careful not to tighten screws too much.
After that, screw up the loose-bead coupling against the flush-valve spud of your tank and tighten it with a wrench. Be careful not to turn the spud in the tank. Also tighten the loose-head coupling at the' other end of the flush elbow. Finish job as for free-standing tank.
Installing toilet seat
In most cases the toilet seat does not come with a water closet but must be purchased separately. Rubber washers fit around the bolts and help hold the bolts firmly in the seat post holes. Then put on rubber washer, metal washer, and locknut in that order. Screw the nut tight enough to hold the seat firm, but not so tight that you strip the threads or crack the bowl. Seats should last for years, and it may be necessary to cut the bolts if you wish to replace an old one with a new seat.
Adding a drip pan
Regular flushing of the toilet brings fresh cold water into the tank too frequently for the tank or the water to warm up, and condensation and dripping water may result. The easiest way to take care of this is to install a permanent drip pan under the tank. These are manufactured and sold in department and other stores. A short piece of pipe or rubber tubing allows the condensed moisture to drain harmlessly down into the closet bowl.