How to Install a New Toilet

Installing a new toilet will revitalize an old-looking bathroom. This process is not that difficult, though it does take care and the ability to precisely follow instructions. A poorly-installed toilet may cause the toilet to function improperly, causing damage to the bathroom and – possibly – the entire house.

Removing Existing Toilet

Before beginning the removal of the toilet, turn the water supply off by means of the shut-off valve behind the toilet. Once the water has been turned off, flush the toilet. Some water will remain in the toilet and this should be removed by forcing it down using a plunger. Soaking up the remaining water with a sponge will minimize the amount of water that will get on your floor when the toilet is removed.

At this point, the water line at the back of the toilet can be removed with a wrench.

Removing the bolts on the bottom of the toilet is next. They may have plastic covers over them, but they can be pulled off using only your fingers.

Now remove the bolts that connect the water tank to the toilet bowl. Placing your hands on either side of the bottom of the tank, carefully lift it from the toilet by gently rocking it from side to side. There will be a little water still in the tank, so sit it on a garbage bag on the floor.

The toilet can now be removed and disposed of.

Installing the New Toilet

  • First, plugging the drain hole with a rag will prevent smelly gases from rising into the bathroom. It might also prevent tools from disappearing! Just remember to remove the rag before installing a new toilet.
  • Pull the old bolts out of the flange.
  • Use a putty knife to scrape off the wax seal. Wipe it clean when you’re done.
  • At this point is a good idea to inspect the round metal or plastic flange that was under the wax. If it looks damaged, replace it.
  • Now put the new bolts in the flange. They go in special channels, sort of like the keyhole slots on the back of picture frames for hanging the picture on a nail.
  • Put the new was seal in place, with the plastic or rubber facing out. Push down hard and twist it to get it really stuck in place.
  • Now is the time to remove the rag you put in the hole at Step 1.
  • Set the new toilet in place over the anchor bolts. If the toilet came pre-assembled with a new tank, removing the tank (which is easy) will make it a lot easier to handle the toilet. Press on the toilet bowl and rock it to help seal it to the wax ring.
  • Reinstall the washers and nuts on the bolts at the base of the toilet, followed by the plastic caps. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts, as this could crack your new toilet.
  • Next, place the water tank on its side and insert tank bolts and washers from the inside and put a new gasket around the hole where it will attach to the toilet.
  • Place the tank on the toilet, fitting nuts onto the bolts and tightening them gently.
  • If your tank does not have the toilet valve assembly pre-installed, do that now. Dry test your flapper valve to see if seems to seal properly.
  • Reconnect the water supply line, turn the water on and allow the tank to fill. Flush the toilet several times while watching to see if any water appears at the floor, around the base of the toilet, or between the toilet bowl and tank.
  • Once you are sure there are no leaks, apply some caulking around the base of the toilet where it meets the floor. And there you have it.

If you feel this job is too big to handle you are not alone. Many people will hire a local plumber to take care of a new toilet installation or plumbing repair. It’s messy and requires tools you may not have.