How to Install a New Toilet

Installing a new toilet in bathroom
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A new toilet will improve the look and energy efficiency of your bathroom. Here’s a quick guide to adding a new toilet to your space.

Remove Your Old Toilet

Turn off your toilet’s water supply and flush the toilet. Hold down the flusher until all the water has drained from the reservoir and bowl. Use a sponge and bucket to remove any leftover water in the bowl. Disconnect the water supply from the toilet tank and remove the nuts from your closet bolts. Lift the toilet up and over the bolts to remove it from the drain. Have someone help you lift your toilet. Some toilets are awkwardly shaped and can be difficult to remove on your own.

Remove the Wax Ring

Once your toilet is gone, place a rag in the drain to block any sewer gases. Use a putty knife to remove the old wax ring. It’s also important to inspect your closet flange once the wax is gone. Replace your flange if it’s rusted or deteriorated.

Make Your Measurements

Measure from the wall behind the toilet to the closet bolts. These are the bolts that slide into the flange and secure the toilet to the floor. Be sure your measurements are from the wall and not the trim. If you’re working with a small space, it’s also a good idea to measure from the side wall as well. Use these measurements to select a new toilet.

Install Your New Toilet

Add your new closet bolts to the flange. Be sure they’re lined up with the holes on the sides of your toilet. Flip your toilet upside down and add the new wax ring to the base. Lift your toilet and set it over the drain. Be sure your closet screws are aligned with the holes in your toilet’s footing before setting it down. Press firmly on your toilet to create a watertight seal. Place the cap base, washer and nuts on the closet screws and tighten. Be sure your screws aren’t too snug. Over tightening can crack your toilet. Place your caps on your closet screws. Use a hacksaw to shorten any screws that are too long. If you have a two-piece toilet, you’ll need to install your bowl before reconnecting your water supply lines. Most two-piece models have come with the flush-components assembled. Install your bolts and the rubber gasket and place the tank on your toilet. Tighten the bolts to create a seal.

Reconnect Your Water Supply

Connect your water supply and turn on the water to your toilet. Check your toilet for leaks and make any necessary adjustments. Once your tank is full, flush your toilet to make sure your wax seal is working. If you notice any leaks, turn off your water and check your toilet connections. If you’re unable to pinpoint the source of your leak, call a pro. Using a drip-prone toilet can damage the aesthetics and structural integrity of your bathroom. If you don’t notice any leaks, attach your toilet lid and seal the base with latex caulk.  

When to Call a Pro

Toilet installations are a simple job, but they can present some problems if you’re not familiar with this task. If you feel uncertain about any part of this project, call a pro to help. It’s especially important to enlist the help of a plumber if you notice leaks or damage to your closet flange or drain. Fixing these components will require the expertise of a pro.