How To Install A Toilet
  Step by step instructions on how to replace the toilet in your bathroom
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How To Install A Toilet

© Emerson Lockwood 2007

Replacing the toilet in your home is not as difficult as many people may assume. In fact, replacing a toilet is rather easy and only requires a few basic hand tools and some of your time. Before you begin though, you will want to check with your local municipality to make sure that you do not need to be a licensed plumber to make changes to your plumbing system.

The first thing that you will want to do is to remove the old toilet. In order to do this you will need to turn off the water supply to the toilet. This is easily done since there is typically a valve located near the toilet that can be turned by hand to shut off the water. Now you need to flush the toilet to dispense of the water that is in the bowl and the tank.


To remove the old toilet you will need to unhook the water supply to the toilet with a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench.

Next you will remove the two long bolts that attach the tank to the toilet bowl. You will see these on the inside of the tank. Now you are free to remove the tank from the bowl and place it out of the way.

Now you are ready to move on to the removing the bowl itself. At the base of the bowl you will see a plastic cap on each side of the bowl. These plastic caps hide the bolts that screw the bowl into the floor. If you are able to, unscrew the nuts from these bolts. In many cases though, you will have to hacksaw the bolts off.

You will now need to break the seal of the wax ring, if it is not already broken, by moving the bowl back and forth. Once the seal is broken you are ready to remove the bowl, but you will likely need someone to help you with the lifting and moving of the bowl.

You will now want to do a thorough cleaning of the area where the toilet will meet the floor. This will include removing all remains of the old wax ring so that you can make sure the new toilet and wax ring gets a perfect seal when installed. This is a critical step and you do not want to hurry through this or you may end up with a poor seal and have to start over from the beginning.

Place the new bowl on its proper location and make sure that it is level. You will want to use a level for this. If it is not completely level you will need to place some shims under the bowl for proper alignment. Once this is accomplished move the bowl out of the way and prepare to install the new wax ring.

Place the new wax ring on the horn of the bowl. Now place the two bolts that come out of the floor into place in the floor. The challenge now is to align the bowl, the flange, and the two holes for the bolts that are sticking up. It is a good idea to enlist the help of someone for this step to make things go much easier.

Toilet Diagram

At this point you will want to place a bead of caulk around the edge of the bowl. This will help secure the toilet and will improve the appearance of the toilet. Some people recommend not putting a seal around the entire bowl though. The idea is not seal the back of the bowl in case a leak ever does occur, you will know it. If you seal the entire bowl to the floor with caulk and a leak occurs you will not notice it until your floor is good and rotted.

Once you manage to get the bowl lined up on the flange and get the bolts to stick through the holes you are in good shape. You can now sit on the toilet or push it down to help the wax ring make a solid seal. After this you need to put the washer and nut on the bolts at the base of the toilet and tighten them down, but not too tightly. If you tighten these nuts down too hard you can crack the bowl!

While you can reuse the original bolts it is definitely not recommended to do so. For just a few dollars you can buy new ones that will last for years to come and this is a wise investment. Now you can hacksaw off the excess of the bolt and replace the plastic cover caps.

Now you can start on installing your new tank to the toilet bowl. Take the rubber washer that goes between the bowl and the tank and put it in place. The washer installs with the beveled side out. Now you can replace the two long bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. Remember to place the two rubber washers against the tank and bowl. Tighten everything up, but again do not go overboard tightening things down.

Reconnect the water supply to the tank of the toilet and give it a few practice flushes to make sure that everything appears to be working correctly. If everything looks like it is working correctly go ahead and replace your toilet seat and put the lid on the tank.

Thatís it, congratulations on installing your new toilet.

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