How to Replace a Toilet

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Carpenter's level
  • Screwdriver
Materials Required
  • Toilet
  • Wax ring
  • Plumber's putty

Before You Begin

Here's what's involved with installing a 2-piece toilet with a tank and bowl after the old toilet has been removed. The process includes anchoring the new toilet bowl to the floor with special closet bolts and then installing the water tank onto the bowl.

If you plan to redecorate the walls or floor in the bathroom, do it before installing the new toilet because the walls and flooring are open and easier to work on without the toilet in place. Painting around a toilet is as much fun as it sounds, so make the toilet installation one of the last things on the list, not the first.

Don't want to tackle doing this job yourself? Click Home Advisor and find local qualified plumbers in your area.

  • Step 1 : Remove the old wax ring

    Clean the area around the toilet by removing any signs of the old wax ring and plumber's putty that secured it to the floor. This is called the closet flange and it has slots that hold the closet bolts in place.

  • Step 2 : Fasten the closet bolts to the flange

    Attach the new closet bolts to the flange. Turn the T-shaped head of each bolt so that it aligns with the flange slot and push the bolt below the flange. Then slide the bolt into position and turn it so the head can't be pulled out of the flange. That's an important point: If you misalign the bolt heads, the toilet could topple over the first time someone sits on it.

  • Step 3 : Install the bolts and new wax ring

     Install toilet bolts and new wax ring

    Next, install the other closet bolt in the same way, and adjust the position of both bolts so that they're the same distance from the wall and are aligned parallel with the back wall. Otherwise, the toilet will not face straight ahead. Hold the bolts upright and make positioning the toilet bowl on the flange easier by packing some plumber's putty around it. A wax ring seals the joint between the toilet and the soil pipe leading to the sewer system.

  • Step 4 : Seal the bottom

    To work on the bottom of the toilet, lay the base upside down on a rug or thick towel. Locate the "toilet horn", which looks like a short spout, in the center of the base and put the wax ring and sleeve on top of it. Press it firmly in place. Then seal the bottom edge of the base with plumber's putty.

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