How to Install a Toilet Guide

Most think that installing your own toilet is difficult, right? Wrong!

We have created an easy to follow  step-by-step process  that will guide you from start to finish of installing your next toilet.

Toilet Installation Process (Easy Step-by-Step)

All you need is:

Before you start:

installing a toilet

Take Measurements

As you shop for a new toilet, there are a few  important measurements  to take into consideration. Don’t risk buying a new toilet that won’t fit in your bathroom.

picture displaying toilet dimensions and measurements in white bathroom Here are 4 main measurements you’ll want to be sure of before purchasing your new toilet:

1. Rough-In

Make sure you know the rough-in measurement of your old toilet unit. In most cases, the waste pipe measures roughly 12-inches from the wall, but some can measure between 10 and 14-inches.

If you select a toilet whose rough-in doesn’t match the size in your bathroom, the pipes won’t match up and you won’t be able to install the new toilet.

2. Toilet Dimensions

Beyond the rough-in, you’ll want to measure all the key specs for your old toilet. Be sure to measure from the wall and not the baseboard. Keep in mind any water supply lines as well.

Particularly for toilets with a broader base, it’ll be helpful to confirm how much room you have besides the water supply line on the floor to make sure the new toilet will fit.

3. Space Around the Toilet

Another factor to consider is the available space for the toilet within your bathroom. We recommend that you measure from the bowl to the wall or any other appliances on either side of the toilet, to make sure the toilet will fit in the available space.

4. Toilet Bowl Shape

You’ll also want to pay attention to the shape of the bowl of your new toilet. Most toilet bowls are elongated for the sake of comfort.

However, if you are limited on space, consider going for a round bowl, which takes up less room and will be more likely to fit in a smaller space.

Tools and Preparation

toilet tools needed for an install, plumber with wrench Be prepared with the  necessary equipment before you start the job . You’ll want to gather all of your tools from the beginning. These tools include:

  • Locking Pliers
  • Slip joint pliers
  • 4-in-1 Screwdriver
  • Cordless drill
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Caulk gun
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Rags
  • Shop vacuum
  • Hacksaw

Besides these tools, you will also need some other materials. Some of these may come with your new toilet, but either way, it’s helpful to gather these materials before beginning the installation process.

Don’t forget, otherwise you may have to stop midway through installation to go to the store for additional parts. The additional materials you may need include:

  • Toilet flange
  • Brass toilet bolts
  • Wax ring or foam gasket
  • Silicone caulk
  • Plastic toilet shims
  • Access to water

With these materials in place, let’s now embark on the installation. There are two major steps for this process – removing the old toilet and then installing the new one.

Removing Old Toilet (Easy Steps)

Download the PDF version of the removal step-by-step guide.

The first step after buying a new toilet is removing the old one. As a whole unit, including the tank and the bowl, a toilet can be pretty heavy. 

Therefore, if you have a two-piece toilet, you can make your work easier by removing the tank first and then removing the bowl. If your toilet is a one-piece model, however, you’ll likely want to get help from someone else as one-piece toilets can weigh 80 lbs or more.  Heavy lifting?  I would say so!

hands removing and lifting a toilet from floor, 7 collage of photos showing removal steps

STEP ONE: Drain Water

Start by turning off the water supply line to the toilet. You should be able to turn the supply line on and off using a valve on the line itself. Once you’ve cut the water supply, flush the toilet, which will remove any leftover water in the tank. For any residual water, use a sponge to completely dry around the toilet.

STEP TWO: Lift Off Toilet Tank

Once you have disconnected the water supply line, place a bucket on the floor to catch any water that may be remaining in the pipes or bowl. Then, unscrew the nuts located on the bottom of the tank. At this point, you should be able to lift the tank off completely.

Since the tank is at great risk of cracking, always wear gloves as a safety precaution. It can also be helpful to lay out a towel, otherwise have a place ready to set down the old tank once it’s been removed.

STEP THREE: Uninstall Bowl

For this step, dry any excess water, loosen and remove the nuts that secure the toilet bowl to the floor. You can then carefully lift the bowl and remove it from the space. It’s also important to note that if you have a one-piece toilet, you’ll need to do steps 2 and 3 together, as the tank and bowl cannot be separated.

STEP FOUR: Remove Old Wax Ring

Since wax rings are not designed for reuse, you will have to remove the old one from the previous toilet. To remove the wax ring, use a putty knife, then start scraping off the old wax. After the scraping, take a rag and stuff it into the open hole to block sewer gasses and prevent objects from falling into the drain.

STEP FIVE: Check Flange

checking a toilet flange

Finally, once you’ve removed all the parts from the old toilet, the last step is to check the flange. This step is also for when you repair or replace the flange if needed.

NOTE: To repair the flange, start by removing the old closet bolts from the flange. Then, make any necessary repairs to the flange itself. You can often find repair kits at your local hardware store to help fix your broken flange. Alternatively, if you need to replace the flange completely, you can buy a replacement part to fit inside the pipe and create a tight seal once again.

Good on you, you’re halfway there! Now let’s move on to installing your brand new throne!

Install Your New Toilet (Easy Steps)

Download the PDF version of the installation step-by-step guide.

With your old toilet cleared and space available in your bathroom, you can now install your new toilet in no time in these easy to follow steps.

installation of a toilet, 6 photos, toilet parts, wax ring, plumber tightening tank bolts

STEP ONE: Install New Bolts

To install the new closet bolts, simply slide them into the slots on the flange. You must use washers or nuts to hold the bolts securely on the flange. Tightening these washers will make it easy for you to align your toilet as you set it in place.

If the bolts are rusted, please try the steps outlined in our rusted bolt removal guide here (link to guide)

STEP TWO: Apply New Wax Ring

wax seal installation for installing a new toilet

Next, you’ll want to install the new wax ring on the base of the toilet bowl. Start by placing the new bowl upside down on a towel, so you can easily access the base. Then, run the wax ring under warm water to soften it. Once softened, gently press the wax onto the base of the toilet bowl.

STEP THREE: Install Toilet Bowl

Once the wax ring is set, you can now remove the rag that’s been blocking the drain. Then, carefully lower the toilet bowl over the new bolts. Make sure to lower the bowl straight down over the flange, slowly rocking it in place. It’s important to be slow and careful at this point to avoid causing any damage to the wax ring.

Lastly, once you have the bowl in place, press down firmly down on the bowl, ensuring that it is square with the wall.

STEP FOUR: Secure Toilet Bowl

As the next step, add the cap bases, nuts, and washers to the closet bowls. Ensure that the right side of the cap bases faces up. It’s also a good idea to alternate tightening the nuts so you keep the pressure even across all points.  However, be careful to not tighten the nuts excessively as the bowl can easily crack. Once you have everything tightened, you can use a hacksaw to cut off the excess bolt.

STEP FIVE: Get Tank Ready

Once the toilet bowl has been secured, the next step is installing the tank. You’ll want to start by flipping over the tank so you can install the bolts that will secure it to the bowl. Ideally, the bolts ought to slip into slots located on the tank. After installing these bolts, you’ll then install the rubber gasket to the tank’s base.

STEP SIX: Securing Tank In Place

Now, set the tank in place on the bowl while hand-tightening the nuts on the bowl. Once again, be careful not to over-tighten them while still ensuring that the tank is level. If the toilet you’re installing is a one-piece toilet, you won’t need to worry about this step or the previous step, because the tank and bowl are already connected.

STEP SEVEN: Reconnect Water Supply

With the full toilet now installed, it’s time to reconnect the water supply and double-check everything. Reverse the step you took previously to cut off the water supply. In most cases, you’ll be able to switch the water supply back on using a valve on the supply line that connects directly to the toilet.

STEP EIGHT: Check For Leaks

Once you connect the water supply and turn on the water, you’ll want to check for any leaks around the gasket base and supply line. If you spot any leaks, the bolts are likely too loose, so you’ll want to tighten them some more.

If you’ve tightened all the bolts and you notice parts are still leaking, you may have to take the whole tank off and check that the gasket has been installed correctly.

You should also flush the toilet several times and check the area around the base for any leaks. If there is a leak, you may need to install a new wax ring to ensure everything is fully sealed.

STEP NINE: Install The Seat

Lastly, after confirming there are no leaks or other issues, the last step is to install the toilet seat. Most seats should come with basic, straightforward installation instructions. Typically, you’ll only need a screwdriver to install the toilet seat. Then, your new toilet is ready to go!


You’ve saved yourself toilets of cash and you’re now DIY royalty!

What are you going to do with all your cash? Stock up on some rolls, take your special someone out for dinner or get that new gear – whatever you do with it, know that you did it yourself. Well done!

Our Final Words

As you can tell from our easy to follow step-by-step guide, it’s easy to replace your toilet with a brand new one! You should now know everything you need to about replacing and installing your new toilet. We hope you take it on and join the royal line of DIY toilet installers, trust us, the feeling is well worth it!

Good Luck and get in touch if you need any guidance, or even for a trumpet call halfway through. We will get you back on track in no time!