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Replace a toilet

Do you have an old toilet that needs to be replaced? A new toilet will look better and can help save money on water bills.

Tools & Materials

Work Gloves



Putty Knife

Safety Glasses



Tape Measure




Closet Bolts



Toilet Shims

Wax Ring

Garbage Bags

Water Solidifier

Flange Repair Kit

Measure for a New Toilet

Measure from your back wall to your closet bolts–they secure the toilet to the floor. Make sure you measure from the wall, not the baseboard. Measure any nearby water supply lines on the ground as well. Some toilets have a wider base which might not fit next to a supply line on the floor. It's a good idea to measure from the bowl to a sidewall just to make sure the toilet fits in your space.

Choose your toilet bowl shape. Usually, toilet bowls are curved for comfort, but if you have a smaller space you may need a round bowl.

Remove the Old Toilet

Once you have your new toilet, you can start removing the old one. Since toilets are heavy, it’s easier to remove the tank first, then the bowl.

Step 1

Turn off the water supply line and flush the water from the tank. Remove the rest of the water in the tank with a sponge.

step 2

Disconnect the tank's water supply lines. Place a bucket to catch any water in the bowl or lines that remain. Unscrew the nuts on the tank's bottom and lift them off the bowl.

Step 3

Use a water solidifier to keep any remaining water from spilling out of the bowl. You could also use a sponge to get the water out. Loosen and remove the nuts holding the toilet bowl to the floor. Lift the bowl and set it out of the way on a garbage bag.

step 4

Remove the old wax ring. You can't reuse the wax rings.

Step 5

Stuff a rag in the hole to block sewer toxins and prevent anything from falling into the drain. Use a putty knife to remove any excess wax on the flange.

step 6

Remove the old closet bolts from the flange.

Step 7

Make any repairs to the flange as needed. Repair kits for fixing a broken flange are available. Replacement flanges can also fit inside the pipe, creating a tight seal.

The flange should be somewhat higher than the finished floor. If you add new flooring, however, your flange might be too low. Products are available to create the proper seal when the toilet is in places, such as taller wax rings and flange spacers.

Taller wax rings have the same installation as a typical wax ring. Some are wax-free and use foam and rubber to create a seal.

Install the New Toilet

Once you've ensured the flange is in good shape, you can install the new toilet.

Step 1

Install new closet bolts by sliding them into the slots on the flange. Some have washer/nuts to hold them in place on the flange. Tighten these washers to make it easier to align your toilet when you set it up.

Step 2

Set upside-down the new toilet bowl on a towel. Run the wax ring under warm water to soften it, and press the ring gently onto the toilet outlet.

Step 3

After your wax ring is set, remove the rag from the drain. Carefully lower the toilet bowl over the new closet bolts. Instead of tilting and rocking in place, try to lower it straight down over the flange. This will help prevent wax ring damage. Firmly push down on the bowl and make sure it's square with the wall.

Step 4

Add the cap bases, washers and nuts to the closet bolts in order to secure the toilet. Make sure that the cap bases are facing the right side. Alternate tightening of the nuts to keep the pressure even. Make sure that the nuts are firm, but don't get too tight. The bowl could crack. Then use a hacksaw to cut the bolt off. Snap the caps on.

Step 5

Prepare the tank for installation. Typically, the valve assembly is already installed in the tank. Flip over the tank to install the bolts holding it in the bowl. They should slip into the tank slots. Then install the rubber gasket to the base.

Step 6

Set the bowl tank in place. Tighten the nuts on the bolts with your hand. Then use a wrench to tighten them up a bit, alternating as you go. Be careful not to tighten the nuts too much and to crack the toilet. Make sure the level of the tank.

Step 7

Hook up the water supply and turn the water on slowly.

Step 8

Use a screwdriver to install the seat and set the top on the tank.