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How to Replace a Toilet

A golden toilet on a pink and white background

Do you have an old toilet? Does the handle get stuck? Maybe it’s just outdated, and you need one that uses less water. Installing a new toilet isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it can be accomplished in just a few hours. With the right tools and these tips, you can achieve this afternoon project leak-free.

1. Measure the Area

A close up image of a yellow tape measurer with 17 through 23 showing

Measure from the wall (not the baseboards) to the hold-down bolts that are securing the toilet to the floor. Also, measure the water supply line to the wall to ensure you choose a toilet that will have the correct base size. They can vary depending on style. You may want to measure from the bowl to the sidewall to be sure your toilet will fit the area. Elongated toilet seats are more comfortable, but in small spaces, a rounded seat is more practical.

2. Replace the Mounting Bolts

An image of a professional plumber installing a new toilet in a bathroom

There are two different ways to go about installing a new toilet. You can keep or replace your old flange with a new one. If you are reusing your old flange, you only need to replace the 3 ½” flange bolts. Put an extra nut on each bolt and tighten it to hold the nuts in place.

3. Secure the Wax Ring

The size of the wax ring will depend on the size of your flange. Check to be sure you purchase the proper size. Place and center the wax ring on top of the floor flange. Push it down firmly into place between the mounting bolts.

4. Place the Toilet

A professional installing the back end of a toilet tank

Straddle the toilet, so one foot is on each side of the toilet. Lift it over the flange and lower it straight down on the wax seal ring. The bolts should emerge up through the holes on the base of the toilet bowl. Push the bowl down securely on the wax ring, sealing it completely. Using a carpenter’s square, ensure the bowl is perpendicular to the wall. Adjust if necessary. Install bolt cover retainer plates, washers, and nuts.

5. Attach the Toilet Tank

Start by placing the anchor bolts through the holes in the tank to help guide the tank onto the bowl. Then tighten the tank bolts with an adjustable wrench and screwdriver. (Tip: do not over-tighten the bolts over-tightening the bolts as this can lead to cracking the bowl.

6. Install the Shutoff Value

A detailed image of the inner workings of a toilet

Set the valve over the compression ring and tighten the nut until it’s hand-tight. Use two adjustable wrenches to tighten the bolts snugly. It is best to replace the supply tube to prevent leaks, screw flex tube in place and leave enough pipe so it will fit inside the shutoff valve outlet, then cut the tube using a tube cutter.

7. Connect Supply Line to Tank

Guide the flexible supply line to the bottom of the tank and hand-tighten it. Add a quick turn with pliers to ensure a good seal. Turn on the water supply and flush the toilet. Check for leaks around the base of the tank and along the supply line visually and by feel.

And voilà, your new porcelain throne is ready for any king to sit upon. So go ahead, sit, try it out, and relax, knowing that you're getting the royal treatment. Find all your plumbing supplies at your local Do it Best store.  

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.


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