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How to Install and Replace a Toilet

How to replace a toilet or install a new one yourself. If you're installing a new toilet in a new location, you'll need to run (or have someone run) a water supply line and a drainpipe, which must be connected to the drain/vent system in compliance with code. Even if you're just replacing an existing toilet, you should replace the water supply tubing as well.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Determine What Flange You'll Be Using

    Determine What Flange You'll Be Using.

    If you're reusing the old flange, it's a good idea to replace the 3/16-inch flange bolts. Purchase two 3-1/2-inch-long closet bolts at your local home centre. If you're replacing the flange, it must be screwed into a wooden floor. Self-tapping concrete screws are used for concrete.

  2. Step 2 Place Wax Ring on Toilet

    Place Wax Ring on Toilet.

    Place the wax ring on the toilet. The "no-seep" wax ring size will vary with the size of the flange. Be sure to purchase the proper size. A 3-inch neck will fit a 3-inch closet elbow, and a 4-inch neck will fit a 4-inch closet elbow. If the closet elbow is 4 inches and the neck is 3 inches in diameter, purchase a 4x3 reducer.

  3. Step 3 Set the Toilet Bowl

    Set the Toilet Bowl.

    Straddle the toilet bowl and lift, using your legs and not your back. Toilets are heavy, so get some help. Set the toilet over the anchor bolts and sit on the toilet, rocking it back and forth to seat the wax ring.

  4. Step 4 Tighten the Nuts

    Tighten the Nuts.

    Draw the nuts down over both anchor bolts until they are hand-tight. Shim as necessary to maintain level. Use an adjustable wrench and — moving from one side of the toilet to the other-alternate the tightening of each nut a half-turn at a time until it's snug. Don't over tighten.

  5. Step 5 Cut Flange Bolt to Size

    Cut Flange Bolt to Size.

    Use a mini hacksaw to cut the flange bolt so only 1/4 to 1/2 inch extends above the bolt. This will allow the cap to fit snugly. Most bolts have snap-offs every 1/2 inch or so, but you should still cut through so you don't bend the bolt.

  6. Step 6 Install the Bolt Cap

    Install the Bolt Cap.

    Install the bolt cap. Some types of caps will snap over the bolt. Others have to be filled with plumber's putty and seated over the anchor bolt.

  7. Step 7 Set the Tank Anchor Bolts

    Set the Tank Anchor Bolts.

    Set the tank anchor bolts. Place the tank anchor bolts in the holes of the tank to help guide the tank onto the bowl.

  8. Step 8 Place the Tank on the Bowl

    Place the Tank on the Bowl.

    Lift the tank and place it over the bowl. You may need some help with this. Guide the tank bolts into the corresponding holes on the toilet bowl.

  9. Step 9 Tighten the Tank Bolts

    Tighten the Tank Bolts.

    Hold an adjustable wrench over the tank bolt nut while you tighten the bolt with a screwdriver. Don't over tighten; you can crack either the tank or the toilet bowl.

  10. Step 10 Install the Shutoff Valve

    Install the Shutoff Valve.

    Set the valve over the compression ring and draw the nut to it. Tighten the nut until hand-tight. Use two adjustable wrenches to tighten until snug — one to hold back the valve and the other to tighten the compression nut.

  11. Step 11 Measure the Supply Tube

    Measure the Supply Tube.

    Hold the tank supply tube so it's in place. Let the extra pipe extend past the shutoff valve. Mark the pipe for cutting. Leave enough pipe so it will fit snugly inside the shutoff valve outlet. Cut the supply pipe with a tubing cutter. If you think your plumbing skills are limited, you can use a braided supply line instead of the solid supply line shown above. Be sure your supply line and shutoff valve are compatible before leaving the store.

  12. Step 12 Connect Supply Pipe to the Tank

    Connect Supply Pipe to the Tank.

    Seat the end of the pipe against the tank. Draw up the tank nut. Hand-tighten until snug. Slide the compression nut over the other end, and then place the compression ring over the end of the pipe. Seat the end in the outlet of the shutoff valve.

  13. Step 13 Tighten the Compression Nut

    Tighten the Compression Nut.

    Use an adjustable wrench to carefully tighten the compression nut. Don't over tighten. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks along the supply line, visually and by touch. Flush the toilet and check for leaks around the base of the tank. If there is a leak, tighten the connections a half-turn.

What You Need for This Project

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