How Do You Install a Toilet?

Unfortunately, toilets don’t last forever. Whether your toilet has stopped functioning, has started leaking, or is simply too large a drain (get it?) on your water bill, replacing an old toilet with a more efficient model can be a great way to update your bathroom.

When it comes time to install a new toilet, it’s very important to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Installing a toilet improperly is a recipe for a whole lot of wasted time, water, and money. If you’re getting ready to install a new toilet, keep this guide on hand during every step of the process.

Before you start: What tools will you need?

Gather these things and lay them out before you do anything else. Like with any other DIY project, installing a toilet will go better when you’re organized. You won’t lose screws or find yourself without the right wrench in the middle of a project if you’re prepared. Grab each of the following tools before you get started:

  • Work gloves
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Towels
  • Your new toilet, measured in advance to fit the space
  • Wax seal

How do you install a toilet?

Step 1: Preparing the space

  1. Prep the space. Lay towels out on the floor and remove anything in your bathroom that might get in the way. Put on your work gloves and make sure your tools are laid out and organized. Before you’re installing your new toilet, you’ll have to remove the old one.
  2. Turn off the water. Find the shutoff valve. It’s typically located on the wall or floor near the toilet. You want to cut off the flow of water into the supply line and toilet tank.
  3. Disconnect the supply line. You’ll need an adjustable wrench to accomplish this step. Do your best to keep the water pipe steady as you disconnect the line.

Step 2: Removing the old toilet

  1. Separate the tank from the bowl. This is the first step to dismantling your old toilet. Removing the tank first makes taking apart the rest of the toilet easier to manage. Keep in mind that some toilets have connected tanks and bowls. Don’t try to separate them in that case. If your toilet has a separate tank and bowl, then you should unbolt the tank from the bowl with your adjustable wrench. Once you’ve disconnected the tank, lift it straight up and off the bowl. Set it aside in a predetermined area for later.
  2. Unbolt the bowl. After removing the tank, you should unbolt the bowl from the floor. Most toilets have plastic caps on top of the floor bolts. If you can’t just pull these off, try popping them off with help from your screwdriver.
  3. Check the bowl bolts and flange.These are the components that will connect your new toilet to the floor. Make sure they aren’t rusted, broken, or cracked.

Step 3: Installing the new toilet

  1. Install the new wax ring. This will be the buffer between the old flange and your new toilet. Simply place the wax ring in the right space on the flange.
  2. Place your toilet on the flange. Align the bolt holes on the bowl’s base with the floor flange’s bolts. Make sure you have a spotter around to help you with the potential heavy lifting.
  3. Bolt the toilet to the floor. Don’t forget to put a washer and nut down on each bolt before tightening them. Attach the new tank the same way you removed the old one. Once this is done, you’ll bolt everything together so it’s secure and reattach the supply line. Congratulations, you just installed a toilet!

Should I try to install a toilet myself or call a professional?

As with any DIY plumbing effort, the answer to this question depends on you. Replacing and installing a toilet can be fairly straight-forward for an experienced DIYer… but it can also get surprisingly frustrating surprisingly fast.

If you have any doubt in your mind at all about installing a toilet yourself, then we recommend calling the pros. That’s what we’re here for, after all. We can make sure we install your toilet correctly the first time, guaranteed.

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