Steps for Reseating a Toilet

  • 01 of 10


    Steve Hallo

    Installing a toilet may seem like a big job, but mechanically it is one of the easier DIY tasks there is.

    Tools and Materials You Will Need

    • Bucket and sponge or towel to bail out the toilet
    • Crescent wrench or channel lock pliers
    • Putty knife
    • wax ring
    • Newspaper
    • closet bolts and a hacksaw (if you are setting a new toilet)
    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Shut off the Water

    Steve Hallo

    Shutting off the water is usually the first step to most plumbing repairs. Shut off the water at the stop valve. If there is no valve you will have to shut the line down at the closest valve on the branch line. If you have to do this, turn on the sinks in the house to drain the line down.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Disconnect the Supply Line

    Steve Hallo

    Disconnect the supply line now while you are down by it. It should only be hand tightened on to the tank. If not use pliers or channel locks to loosen it. This is will make sure that it is not on the toilet when you go to pull it up. As silly as sounds to forget to disconnect the line, it happens. Toilets aren't light and discovering that the supply line is still connected when you lift it is annoying.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Bail out the Toilet

    Steve Hallo

    The first step to bailing out a toilet is to flush it. This will empty out the tank, making the toilet lighter when you pull it. With the tank empty, use your sponge or rag to get the leftover water out of the bowl. Ring out the saturated sponge or rag into a bucket. It's also a good idea to remove the tank lid at this point. Put it in a place where it will be out of your way and safe from being broken.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Take off Nuts Holding the Toilet Down

    Steve Hallo

    First, pop off the nut caps using the putty knife. Putting them into the open tank will ensure that they don't get separated from the toilet. Use a crescent wrench or channel locks to loosen the nuts holding down the toilet.

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  • 06 of 10

    Pull the Toilet

    Steve Hallo

    Spread out some newspaper on the floor near the toilet, but still out of the way. This is to keep any wax left over on the bowl from getting into your flooring. With the paper down, straddle the bowl and grab it in front of where the bowl connects to the tank. As with anything, make sure to lift with your knees.

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Check to Make Sure the Bottom of the Toilet Is Clean

    Steve Hallo

    Making sure the bottom of the toilet is clean will ensure a gap-free seal when you reset it. This step is a lot easier with a helper. You can have them check the bottom of the toilet right after you lift it and scrap off any wax that's stuck to it. If you don't have a helper you can lay the toilet on its side and check it your self. Take care when laying the toilet down, porcelain chips very easy. Also, make sure to clean the flange off. It is just as important as cleaning the bowl bottom.​

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Lay Down the New Wax

    Steve Hallo

    With the flange cleaned off, you're ready to put the new wax down. If it's cold outside, it's a good idea to put the wax on the dashboard on the ride home. The warm wax will make a much better seal. If your flange is far from the floor you may need to put a riser ring in to make up the difference. You can also use a flange-free wax ring on top of the other ring. If you are replacing the closet bolts, now is the time you want to set them into the floor flange. Use a washer and nut to tighten them down onto the floor. Make sure that they are even so that your toilet sits straight when you go to tighten it down.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Reset the Toilet

    Steve Hallo

    With the wax ring down you are ready to reset the toilet. Lift the toilet off the paper using the same technique you used to pull it. Make sure to line up the bolts with the holes, a helper comes in handy again here. Once the bolts are lined up press the toilet down, rocking side-to-side and back-and-forth to make sure the seal is uniform. Once the bowl is resting on the floor check to make sure the bowl is resting straight.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Tighten the Bolts and Reconnect the Water

    Steve Hallo

    With the bowl set down straight, it is time to tighten it down to the floor. Using a crescent wrench or channel locks tighten the nuts on to the closet bolts. It is important to do this slowly and carefully, tightening each side evenly. Over tightening can crack the bowl, which is a costly replacement. To make sure the bowl is down tight, place your arms around it and try to rock it side-to-side and back-to-back. If it moves, continue tightening the nuts, still alternating sides. Once the bowl is down tight you are ready to reconnect the water supply. The supply line only has to be hand tight. With the line hooked up, turn the water back on and flush the toilet a few times, checking for leaks around the bowl and on the supply line.