Toto Drake Toilet
I’m real particular about toilets because there are many models on the market that do a bad job – which in my opinion is the majority of them.
In choosing a toilet, I studied Consumer Reports when I remodeled the master bathroom at my prior home. Consumer Reports rated rated the Toto Ultramax toilet as one of the very best at flushing. The Ultramax and Drake models both use the Toto G-Max® Flushing System, which is very effective and gets the job done with 1.6 gallons. When you flush a Toto toilet with the G-Max system, the water level just “falls away” without all that churning and splashing of a cheap toilet.
The difference between the Toto Ultramax and Drake models is that the Ultramax is a more expensive one-piece toilet; and the Toto Drake is a less expensive two-piece toilet. For the basement bathroom, I felt the extra cost of the Ultramax was not justified. If I were upgrading the master bathroom, I’d go with the Toto Ultramax.
Unpacking the Toto Drake Toilet
The Toto Drake toilet is packed in three boxes: the base, tank and seat.
If you’ve ever wondered how a toilet is designed, here’s a couple of photos:
Bottom View (Upside down):
Toilet Closet Flange
A closet flange is an adapter that mounts the toilet to the floor. I chose a model with a metal flange. The PVC base of the closet flange is glued to the PVC waste pipe in the floor and the metal flange is fastened with four 3/16″ x 2-3/4″ Tapcon concrete anchor screws. Be careful with the PVC purple primer – it will permanently stain the floor. I put an old newspaper on the tile floor to catch any drips while applying the primer and glue.
Closet Flange Installation Steps
- Coat the PVC surfaces of the flange and pipe with primer and PVC solvent/glue.
- Mount the flange even with the floor – work quickly before the PVC glue sets!
- Adjust the flange (it rotates around the plastic hub) such that the two long T-bolt slots are roughly parallel to the wall. Add 1/2″ to the rotation for “wiggle room” when setting the toilet. You don’t want the T-bolts bumping against the end of the mounting slot leaving no room for adjustment.
- Mark and drill holes for the Tapcon concrete anchors. I used four 3/16″ x 2-3/4″ Philips head Tapcon concrete anchor screws. The toilet flange has holes for six mounting screws, but four Tapcon’s set in concrete will handle anything.
- Drive in the Tapcon anchor screws.
- Place the T-bolts in the slots of the metal flange.
Drilling Holes in Porcelain Tile for the Tapcon Anchors
Porcelain tile is extremely hard and highly resistant to standard concrete and masonry drill bits – a masonry drill bit will wear out while barely making a dent in the tile, an exercise in frustration! I used a 3/16″ DW5570 Dewalt diamond drill bit at low speed to drill the holes for Tapcon screws. The diamond drill bit is used only to drill through the tile; then I switched to a 5/32″ x 4-1/2″ concrete bit to drill the holes to the full depth in the concrete subfloor.
Mounting the Toilet to the Closet Flange
The toilet base is laid upside down a piece of cardboard to protect the glazed finish. The wax sealing ring must be pressed onto the toilet base before setting it on the closet flange. The wax toilet gasket is available at any home improvement store for about $5. Be sure to get the package that includes the T-bolts.
The wax toilet gasket is pressed to the bottom of the toilet. The T-bolts set in the closet flange and held in place by the plastic retaining washers as shown. Now I’m ready to set the toilet in place over the closet flange and over the T-bolts.
Set the toilet on the closet flange:
- Have a helper.
- Lift the toilet by the sides and straddle it between your legs, standing bowlegged. This centers the weight of the toilet directly beneath you.
- Gently lower toilet onto T-bolts and set it on the closet flange. I recommend a helper to guide the left side of the toilet over the T-bolt while you’re watching the right bolt. The toilet is too bulky to see both T-bolts at once.
- When the wax gasket makes contact, press the toilet firm down to fully seat it on the closet flange. Slowly apply your full body weight as you want the toilet in full contact with the floor with no rocking. Wax may squeeze out through the bolt holes on the toilet base – this is OK.
- Do not lift the toilet off the floor after it’s seated and the wax gasket is squeezed out. If you do, it will break the wax seal – then you’ll have to get a new gasket and start over.
After the toilet is firmly seated onto the closet flange, the washers and nuts are placed on the T-bolts and tightened.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions here and don’t over tighten the nuts as it’s possible to crack the porcelain base it you go overboard.
The T-bolt’s that came with the Fluidmaster was gasket kit are designed to snap-off to allow the plastic toilet bowl cap to fit over the bolt and nut. Unfortunately, the bolt was still too long and I had to use a Dremel tool and cutoff wheel to shorten the bolt stem for the plastic cap to snap into place.
This is the toilet bowl mounted to the floor. Now I’m ready to install the tank.
Mounting the Toilet Tank
The Toto Drake toilet tank comes with the internal fill mechanism and handle already installed and properly adjusted. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, you just need to install the brass mounting bolts and large black rubber gasket on the bottom of the tank as shown.
The tank is set on the toilet bowl and bolted into place. The Toto instructions say to hand tighten the bolts first, then evenly tighten both sides until the tank makes three points of contact – two front and one rear. Here’s the tank bolted to the toilet bowl.
Here are the working parts of the Toto Drake toilet tank. The plumbing parts are factory pre-installed and adjusted except for the two brass bolts at the bottom of the tank. Very neat and simple looking!
Toto SoftClose Toilet Seat
The Toto SoftClose toilet seat is simple to install using the nylon bolts and nuts. No tools are required!
A happy toilet! To remove, just peel the plastic label off the toilet lid.
Toilet Water Supply Hookup
Water supply hose is ready for hookup. I prefer the metal braided water hoses for dependability. These are available at any home improvement store.
The top nut of the water supply hose is tightened by hand. A small wrench is necessary to tighten the bottom compression nut.
Voila! The toilet is ready!
Grouting the Toilet
The base of the toilet is grouted to seal the bottom, improve appearances and give it a rock-solid wiggle-free fit on the tile floor. Grout has limited adhesion (glue) properties, so it won’t be a problem if I ever need to remove the toilet for repairs.
Some plumbers prefer not to grout the toilet base. I’ve seen it done both ways when visiting bathrooms with tile floors in office buildings, malls and restaurants. In my opinion, grouting the toilet base provides extra stability so the wax seal is not disturbed. (BTW – I would not caulk or seal a toilet base installed on a wood floor, use shims if needed to stabilized the toilet base so it doesn’t wiggle. You don’t want a leak to go undetected on a wood floor.)
About two handfuls of the tile grout are placed in an old coffee container.
The grout is mixed with a small amount of water. Start with not enough water, mix and add a small amount until a stiff consistency is obtained. Let the grout slag up for 10 to 15 minutes and remix.
Work the grout into the joint between the toilet and the floor using your fingers and smooth. I’m wearing a latex glove because the winter weather dries out my skin and the grout would make it worse.
The next photo is the wet grout after it’s been freshly applied. Let it cure for 2 to 3 hours before sponging off the excess.
The toilet and floor after cleaning the excess grout with a wet sponge and water.
This is the fully cured grout after curing for 24 hours. Seal the grout with a good quality grout sealant so it won’t absorb water and darken over time, such as when mopping the floor.
The vanity, faucet and drain plumbing hookups are installed and the sewage pump tested in Part 13 of the series.
Hope this saves you some buck$,
Copyright © 2013 HandymanHowTo.com Reproduction strictly prohibited.