How to Change a Toilet

Removing and installing a new toilet is easiest when you work on each part separately.
Removing and installing a new toilet is easiest when you work on each part separately. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Replacing a toilet is a relatively simple job that can be done without a plumber. Your new toilet bowl and tank may be sold in separate boxes, with all of the parts for installation inside each, though some toilets are one-piece units. Check the boxes as some manufacturers do not include supply lines, closet bolts, wax seals or toilet seats. You will have to purchase these separately.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Sponge
  • Towels
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Plumbers putty
  • Wax seal with horn
  • Carpenter's level

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Turn off the water supply valve, which is usually located below the left side of your toilet.

Flush the toilet and use a sponge to soak up the water remaining in the tank and bowl.

Disconnect the water supply line from the valve and from the tank using an adjustable wrench. If you plan to reuse the water supply line, you can leave one end connected to the main supply valve, removing it from the toilet tank only.

Unscrew the nuts on the tank bolts using a socket wrench. You may need to hold the bolt in place inside the tank using a screwdriver while you loosen the nut.

Lift the tank from the bowl. Set the tank aside.

Lift the caps from the bolts on each side of the toilet’s base with a screwdriver and use an adjustable wrench to unfasten the nuts on these bolts.

Rock the toilet bowl back and forth gently and lift it off the bolts. Set aside and plug the exposed drain hole with a rag to prevent sewer gasses from entering the room.

Remove the flange bolts and with a putty knife scrape away the wax left from the flange.

Lay your new toilet bowl upside down and place the wax seal around the discharge hole. Apply plumber’s putty around the outer rim of toilet base.

Remove the rag from the drain hole and turn the bowl over, positioning the bottom over the opening.

Insert the bolts provided with the toilet into the flange and then line up the holes on the toilet bowl base with the bolts in the flange. Press down to make a firm seal on the wax ring.

Tighten the bolts with an adjustable wrench. Avoid tightening aggressively to prevent cracking the porcelain.

Place a carpenter's level across the bowl to make sure the toilet is sitting properly on the floor. If it is not level, slide plastic shims beneath the lower side to correct it.

Flip the new tank upside down and place the rubber gasket over the tank’s water outlet. Turn the tank over and line up the bolt holes with the holes on your toilet bowl.

Insert the two tank bolts and slip a rubber washer over the protruding end of each.

Slip a nut over each bolt and tighten on one side a few turns with an adjustable wrench and then do the same on the other side. Continue tightening the bolts, a few turns each side until the tank is secure.

Attach one end of the water supply line to the shutoff valve if you’ve removed it, and the other end to the supply valve located under your toilet tank.

Turn on the water and flush to test your new toilet.


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