Replacing a Toilet

Installing a New Toilet

Most new toilets come in two boxes: one for the bowl and one for the tank with all the moving parts installed.

The steps here show how to assemble the tank and bowl and how to install the toilet. You may install the bowl first and then attach the tank. If the existing toilet is heavy, you can detach the tank from the bowl before removing it. Keep your back straight and lift with the legs. Arrange for a helper if possible. Follow these same steps if your toilet is leaking from the base and you need to replace the wax ring.

You may install a standard, pressure-, or pump-assisted toilet. The rough-in distance -- the measurement from the drain center and mounting holes to the back wall -- is 12 inches for most toilets. Some are 10 inches. Measure the old toilet and buy a new one with the same dimensions.

Checklist

Time
About 2 hours

Tools
Adjustable wrench, hacksaw, utility knife, putty knife

Skills
Making simple plumbing connections, assembling a toilet

Prep
Shut off water to the toilet; flush; use a sponge or rag to remove all the water you can from the tank and the bowl

Materials
Toilet, wax ring, flange bolts

Step 1

Shut off water at the stop valve. Disconnect the supply tube at the tank and wall. Pry off any decorative caps and unscrew the nuts holding the bowl to the floor. If the nuts will not turn, cut through them with a hacksaw.

Step 2

If there is a bead of caulk around the bowl at the floor, cut through it with a utility knife. If the toilet is old, check to see if the tank is bolted to the wall and remove the bolts. Grasp the toilet bowl on each side, pick it up, and set it on a drop cloth.

Step 3

Place a large, damp rag in the hole to seal off sewer gas. Scrape away all putty and wax from the floor. Finish cleaning with a rag. If you are reinstalling the existing toilet, clean the bottom of its bowl in the same way.

Step 4

Assemble the tank and the bowl of a new toilet following the manufacturer's instructions. A large spud gasket seals the opening below the flush-valve seat. Place a rubber washer under the head of each mounting bolt. Do not overtighten the nuts.

Step 5

Press a new wax ring, flange pointed out (or down), on the underside of the toilet bowl. (Not all toilets or drainpipes accept a flanged ring; wax rings without the flange are also available.)

Step 6

If the new toilet does not include them, buy new flange bolts. Use slip-on plastic washers to hold them temporarily in place, pointing straight up. Remove the rag from the hole.

Step 7

Lower the toilet bowl so that the flange bolts poke through the holes. If it is difficult to line up the holes with the bolts, place a piece of plastic tubing over the bolt to guide it through the base as you lower the bowl.

Step 8

Press down on the bowl with both hands to set the toilet firmly on the wax ring. Check the position of the toilet by looking at the toilet tank: It should be parallel to the wall and level.

Step 9

Tighten the nut on each side of the bowl, alternating sides. If the floor is uneven, use pennies as shims. Avoid overtightening. Stop tightening when the bowl feels solid when you sit on it. Carefully cut off the tip of each bolt and cover with a decorative cap.

Step 10

Connect the supply tube, turn on the water, and test.


Comments (8)
8500195788
paulb555 wrote:

In step 9 As an alternative, install the toilet on a plastic base made specifically to remedy this problem. Who sells this plastic base?

3/22/2013 04:26:14 PM Report Abuse
babjnr wrote:

Instead of a plastic tube, which I find too flexible. I used a colored straw. Works GREAT.

3/4/2012 02:10:25 PM Report Abuse
ulerickfields wrote:

Changing toilet shut off valves

1/5/2012 11:26:47 PM Report Abuse
Rosiedawson wrote:

I did it very easy to install

5/28/2011 06:39:34 AM Report Abuse
eosborne4 wrote:

What if the bowl doesn't hold water?

1/26/2010 10:34:36 AM Report Abuse
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