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How to Install a Toilet

Maybe you just moved into a fixer-upper, or your current commode just isn’t performing up to snuff; regardless the reason, it seems you might need to replace your toilet. Over time, toilets can wear just like any other appliance leading to cracks, leaks, and overfills. With a few tools and a little grunt work, you can have a new ‘ole faithful installed and ready to use in no time.

What You’ll Need

  • New Toilet and Wax Ring Kit
  • Flat head Screwdriver
  • Utility Knife
  • Rags/Newspaper
  • Wrenches
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Level
  • Calk

Prep Work

Before you begin, grab a few old towels or newspaper and lay them down on the bathroom floor. This will give you a spot to put the old toilet once it’s removed to prevent scratches and scrapes to your tile floor. Also, measure the old toilet and the new toilet before removal to make sure the new commode will fit if space is limited.

Old Toilet Removal

To begin removing the old toilet, shut off the water supply. This knob is located behind the toilet; turn counterclockwise to shut the water off. Using your adjustable wrench, disconnect the water line from the water valve. Now, flush the water several times to drain the toilet bowl and tank.

Using your flat head screw driver, pop off the plastic covers on the base of the toilet to expose the mounting bolts. Use your wrench to remove the bolts and washers. Next, use your utility knife to cut the silicone seal attaching your toilet to the tile floor. You should now be able to lift the toilet and place on the newspaper. Cover the exposed sewer hole with a rag to prevent the escape of sewer gases.

New Toilet Installation

Your new toilet should have come with a brandy-new wax seal. Place the wax gasket on the bottom of the new toilet on the evacuation hole tapered side facing toward the floor. Clean the toilet flange with a rag to get rid of any corrosion or rust.

Next, apply a small bead of calk to the toilet base. Make sure to remove the rag from the sewer connection and lower the new bowl onto the flange. Press down on the toilet for a few minutes to help the caulk set. Replace the toilet mounting nuts and washers and tighten with the appropriate wrench. Be sure not to over tighten these, they can and will crack the porcelain if over torque. Replace the plastic mounting bolt covers.

Now, use your level to make sure the toilet is square. If the toilet is too high or low on one side, use shims to raise the toilet. Reapply calk where necessary.

The last step to installation is reconnecting the water line. Apply plumbers tape to the fitting and tighten the water hose to the water supply. Turn the water on by rotating the knob clockwise. Flush the toilet and check for any leaks.

If there are no leaks, congrats are in order. You have just finished replacing your old toilet. Allow some time for the calk to adhere to the tile before use and be sure to keep an eye on sealing points for a few days to make sure there are no leaks.