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Installing a Toilet

Installing a Toilet

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.

Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 2 hours

13 Steps

  1. Determine What Flange You'll Be Using
  2. Place Wax Ring on Toilet
  3. Set the Toilet Bowl
  4. Tighten the Nuts
  5. Cut Flange Bolt to Size
  6. Install the Bolt Cap
  7. Set the Tank Anchor Bolts
  8. Place the Tank on the Bowl
  9. Tighten the Tank Bolts
  10. Install the Shutoff Valve
  11. Measure the Supply Tube
  12. Connect Supply Pipe to the Tank
  13. Tighten the Compression Nut

Before You Start, Read This

Step 1: 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 center. If you're replacing the flange, it must be screwed into a wooden floor. Self-tapping concrete screws are used for concrete.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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 overtighten.

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: 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.

Step 8: 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.

Step 9: Tighten the Tank Bolts


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

Step 10: 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.

Step 11: 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 your 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.

Step 12: 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.

Step 13: Tighten the Compression Nut


Use an adjustable wrench to carefully tighten the compression nut. Don't overtighten. 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.