How to Install a New Toilet

Did you know that installing a new toilet is something almost any mildly handy person can do on their own? Well, it is! Installing a new toilet is a relatively easy task, and, with the proper instruction, almost anyone can do it. In fact, it’s probably easier than you’d expect. So, without further ado, let’s get into the different steps behind how to install a new toilet on your own!

Step 1 – Take All the Necessary Measurements

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is picking out a new toilet (or other appliance), taking it home, and finding out that it doesn’t fit where you wanted to put it. To mitigate those frustrations, all you have to do is take detailed measurements before you go shopping. In most cases, the adage of “measure twice, cut once” rings as true as can be.

To measure for a new toilet, first measure from the wall behind your toilet to the closest floor bolts on your toilet. Make sure you measure directly from the wall itself, and not from the baseboard. Once you’ve measured the distance from the wall to the bolts, measure the distance from the wall to the water supply lines on the floor. Make sure you write these measurements down, as they’ll be paramount when you’re out shopping for your replacement toilet.

Step 2 – Pick Out a New Toilet and Assemble Your Tools

After you’ve taken all your measurements (and you’ve written them all down), it’s time to go shopping for your new toilet! Toilets come in many different models, shapes, designs, and styles. So, you can almost always find a make and model that fits your exact wants and needs. Most hardware and home improvement stores carry several different types of toilets to choose from. While selecting your new toilet, make sure that it matches the measurements you took at home. Also, make sure you sit on the toilet you’ve chosen while it’s still in the store. Otherwise, you may wind up taking a new toilet home just to find out it doesn’t fit in your bathroom or that you can’t sit on it after installation!

Once you’ve picked out your new toilet, you’ll need to assemble your tools and parts. It’s a good idea to take the following list with you to the home improvement store so that you only have to make one trip. It’s no fun to try to start a job just to discover you don’t have the right wrench or screwdriver. For toilet replacement jobs, we recommend the following tools and materials:

  • Safety glasses
  • Hacksaw
  • Putty knife
  • Work gloves
  • A level
  • Closet bolts (sometimes come with the new toilet)
  • Washers and nuts (sometimes come with the new toilet)
  • Toilet shims
  • A wax toilet ring (sometimes comes with the new toilet)

Step 3 – Kick Your Old Toilet to the Curb

After you’ve assembled your tools and picked out your replacement toilet, it’s time to get to the real work. Before you can install your new toilet, you’ll first have to remove your existing one. To remove your existing toilet, follow these steps:

  • 1 – Turn off the water supply to your bathroom and remove any toilet water (in both the bowl and the tank) using a rag or sponge.
  • 2 – Disconnect your toilet’s water supply lines from the tank of your existing toilet.
  • 3 – Remove the nuts on the bottom of the tank so that it lifts freely from the bowl assembly.
  • 4 – Remove the nuts that attach your toilet bowl to the floor.
  • 5 – Carefully remove your toilet from the bathroom by lifting straight up off of the wax seal.
  • 6 – Remove the existing wax ring using a putty knife. Do NOT reuse a wax toilet ring. You must replace them every time you replace the toilet.
  • 7 – Block the hole where your toilet was to prevent sewer odors from escaping into your bathroom, and to help prevent losing tools and parts down the sewer line.
  • 8 – Remove the old closet bolts.
  • 9 – Repair or replace the flange if necessary (it shouldn’t have any visible damage or corrosion).

Step 4 – Install Your New Toilet

Okay, so you’ve finished wrestling your old toilet out of your bathroom. That’s, honestly, the hardest part of replacing your own toilet. In other words, you’re on the home stretch now! All that you have left to do it install your new toilet. It’s a 10-step process, but each step is relatively easy to accomplish. So, let’s get started!

  • 1 – Install your new closet bolts in the boltholes left when you removed your old ones.
  • 2 – Place your new toilet bowl upside down on a towel or cloth of some kind. Then, soften the new wax ring using hot water and press it (gently) into the hole at the bottom of your new toilet bowl.
  • 3 – Remove whatever material you used to block the flange hole and carefully place your new toilet bowl on the flange. Then, firmly press the new toilet bowl into place and make sure it’s square with the wall behind it.
  • 4 – Use your closet bolts and nuts to secure your new toilet bowl to the floor. Alternate tightening the nuts to supply even pressure. Remember, don’t overtighten these nuts and bolts or you’ll risk cracking your brand new porcelain throne!
  • 5 – Using your hacksaw, cut off any excess closet bolts (parts of the bolt that stick up over the nut) and secure the bolt caps to them (they should have come with your new toilet).
  • 6 – Prepare your new toilet tank for installation by installing the seal and bolts located at the bottom of the tank.
  • 7 – Carefully lower the new toilet tank onto the new toilet bowl and secure the bolts. Like with the closet bolts, alternate which nut you tighten to keep the pressure even. Again, don’t overtighten or you’ll risk cracking your toilet tank.
  • 8 – Attach the water supply lines and turn the water back on.
  • 9 – Check for leaks around the gasket and supply lines. If you have leaks, tighten your nuts and make sure your seals are properly set.
  • 10 – Install your new toilet seat, and your new toilet is ready to use!


So, as you can clearly see, it’s not too difficult to install your own toilet. Just follow the steps listed above, and you should be good to go!