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How to Install a Toilet

How to Install a Toilet – Learn How to Install a Toilet on Your Own

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know how to install a toilet. In fact, unless you’re a professional plumber, installing a toilet is likely well beyond your skill set. Thankfully, installation is a relatively easy process that almost anyone can do with the right instructions. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps of installing a new toilet in your home. We’ll also provide tips for avoiding common mistakes made during installation. So whether you’re replacing an old toilet or installing one for the first time, read on for helpful instructions and advice.

Tools and Equipment Needed

You’ll save money, time, and frustration by having all the tools you need to DIY how to build a toilet.

4-in-1 screwdriver

Adjustable wrench

Caulk gun

Cordless drill



Locking pliers



Shop vacuum

Slip joint pliers

Tape measure

Utility knife

Materials Needed

Don’t make last-minute purchases by having all the materials you need to be prepared ahead of time. Here is a list.

Brass toilet bolts


Flexible water supply

Plastic shims

Toilet flange

Wax ring

Before Buying a New Toilet

You will need to know the rough-in measurement of your old toilet before you buy a new one. The waste pipe should be centered at 12 inches for most toilets. The wall is the distance between the waste pipe and the wall. However, there are a few models that allow you to measure 10 in. Or 14 in. Measure from the toilet’s wall to its hold-down bolts. Toilet shopping will be more difficult if this measurement, plus the thickness of your baseboard, is not approximately 12 in. Home centers usually only stock one or two 10-in. There are no 14-inch models. models. You will need to pay more if you order a toilet custom-made. Measure the distance the bowl extends from the wall if there is a door next to the toilet. The door might not close if you replace a toilet bowl with an “elongated” one.

Steps in Installing a Toilet

Take Out the Old Toilet

After you remove the old toilet, you can then install the new toilet in place. Remember that toilets can be heavy so it is easier to take out the tank and the bowl first before you replace them. Here are the steps to take out a toilet.

Step 1: Drain the water

Drain and flush the tank after turning off the water supply. Make sure all the water remaining in the tank is removed with a sponge.

Step 2: Disconnect the water supply line

Once the water line has been disconnected from the toilet tank, place a bucket in a location to collect any water that remains in the bowl. Take the bottom of your tank off the bowl by unscrewing the bolts. In case the tank cracks, wear gloves

Step 3: Disable the bowl

To prevent any water from escaping the bowl, use a water solidifier. To get rid of the water, you could also use a sponge. Remove the bolts that attach the toilet bowl to the ground. The bowl should be lifted and placed on a bag.

Step 4: Take out the old wax and wax rings

You can’t reuse wax rings. Remove the wax ring and dispose of it with a putty knife. To block sewer gases from entering the drain, place a rag inside the hole. Take off any wax from the top of the drainpipe (flange).

Step 5: Repair or replace the old flange

Take out the old closet bolts. Repair the flange as necessary. A repair kit is available to fix a damaged flange. You can also find replacement flanges that fit inside the pipe to create a tight seal.

Your finished floor should have a flange that is slightly higher than your floor. If you are adding new flooring, the flange may be too low. To ensure the proper seal, products such as taller wax rings or flange spacers are available. You can install taller wax rings the same way as a regular wax ring. Some wax rings are completely free of wax and can be sealed with foam or rubber.

Flange spacers are placed on top of the existing, flange. To seal the spacer with the flange, you must apply silicone to secure it to the subfloor.

Installation of the Toilet

Step 1: Install the new bolts

Slide the closet bolts into the slots in the flange to install new ones. Some bolts have nuts or washers to secure them on the flange. These washers can be tightened to make it easier for you to align your toilet before it is placed.

Step 2: Install the new wax ring

Place the toilet bowl upside-down on a towel. To soften the wax ring, run it under warm water and press it gently onto the toilet outlet.

A wax ring is usually included with toilets. It is a good idea to have a backup wax ring just in case something happens during installation. A wax-free ring is also available. These rings attach to the flange and not the outlet. These rings are easier to install than traditional wax rings and have less chance of damage.

Step 3: Install the new toilet bowl

Once the wax ring has dried, take the rag out of the drain. The toilet bowl should be lowered over the closet bolts. Instead of tilting the toilet bowl and rocking it into position, lower it straight over the flange. You’ll reduce the risk of damaging the wax ring. Place the bowl on the wall and press down hard.

Step 4: Secure the toilet

Attach the cap bases, washers, and nuts to the closet bolts. Check that the cap bases are facing the right way. To maintain pressure, you can alternate tightening the nuts. Make sure to get a good seal, but the nuts should not be tightened too tightly. Otherwise, the bowl may crack. Next, use a hacksaw to remove the bolt excess. Attach the caps.

Step 5: Prepare the tank

The valve assembly will usually be already in place. Turn the tank over to place the bolts that will hold it in the bowl. These bolts should slide into the slots in the tank. Next, attach the rubber gasket.

Step 6: Secure the tank

Place the tank on the bowl. Turn the bolts by hand. Next, use a wrench or a vice to tighten the nuts. Continue doing this in an alternating fashion. To avoid damaging the toilet, be careful not to tighten the nuts too much. Check that the tank is level.

Step 7: Check for leaks

Connect the water supply to the mains and turn the water on slowly. Look for leaks in the supply line or the base of the gasket. You can tighten the bolts slightly if it is leaking. If the leakage continues, remove the tank and make sure that the gasket is properly seated. Check the base of the toilet and flush it several times. If the base is leaking and the nuts on the closet bolts are not tight, the wax ring may not be sealing the toilet. To replace the wax ring, you will need to take out the toilet. To avoid damage to the wax ring, ensure that the toilet is placed in a straight line.

Step 8: Install your seat

Use a screwdriver to install the toilet seat and place the top of the tank.

Tips to Make Toilet Installation Easier

Using Brass Bolts

Some metal toilet bolts look like brass because they have a yellowish zinc coating. Make sure to read the label before you buy brass bolts or nuts. They won’t rust and are easier to remove later. Buy stainless steel screws if you have to re-anchor your toilet flange. These screws won’t corrode or split like brass when you drive them.

Stop Rocking With Shims

Uneven floors can cause a rocking toilet and eventually crack the wax ring seal. After you have set the toilet, loosen the nuts and checked for wobbles. Slip coins or stainless-steel washers under the toilet to correct slight wobbles. Regular steel washers can rust and stain the floors. For larger gaps, use shims. Plastic shims are available for toilets. However, plastic construction shims such as the ones here can be used. After you have eliminated any wobble, tighten your nuts and remove the shims. Finally, caulk the area around the toilet base. Vinyl flooring can cause a toilet to become looser as it compresses. Just tighten the nuts after installation.

Sit on the Toilet To Squish the Toilet Wax Ring

Once you’ve placed the toilet, you need to rub the wax ring to get it to settle on the floor. Do not force the toilet to settle by tightening the bolts on the toilet. This could cause cracks in the porcelain base. Instead, you should sit backward on the toilet with your weight centered above the wax ring. Next, move around until the toilet reaches its final position. But don’t go crazy. The toilet should be driven straight down, with little twisting or shifting from one side to the other. Once the toilet is on the floor, tighten the bolts.

Do Not Tighten Your Water Connections

Buy a flexible water supply pipe. These are much easier than rigid metal tubing or plastic tubing. Make sure you get one with stainless steel mesh. To ensure a tight seal, make sure the hose is pointed straight at the fill valve or shutoff valve as you attach the connectors. Turn them with pliers to tighten. Too tight connections can cause leaks and spin the fill valve within the tank. If you find leaks, tighten them up a little more.

Questions Other Homeowners Ask About Installing Toilets

How Difficult Is It to Install a Toilet?

Toilet replacement is a major project, but the task is not as challenging as it might appear. Picking a new toilet and removing the old one are usually the most difficult tasks. But for a homeowner who doesn’t have any handyman skills, you’ll likely find it difficult to find certain tools that will help you install it yourself.

Can You Remove and Install a Toilet Yourself?

Those who have plumbing knowledge and the necessary tools can install a toilet themselves if they’re experienced DIYers. By doing it yourself, you will not only be able to save money, but also have the satisfaction of installing your toilet yourself. But, if you’re not at all experienced in any way, you should consider hiring a professional.

Hire a Professional Today

Unless you want to go through all this trouble to install a toilet, you’ll likely find it easier to have it installed by a professional plumber. A master plumber won’t need to worry about flange screws, or how to fit a wax seal, tiny things that would make it difficult for a common homeowner to do. If our “how to install a toilet” guide didn’t help you much, consider getting a professional to do the work.