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How to Install a New Toilet

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You’ve successfully removed your old toilet, but now you need to install a new one. To install your new toilet, you’ll need a few tools and some time. Not sure what your next steps should be to finish this home improvement project? Explore the guide below to learn how you can install a new toilet in your bathroom.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

You’ll need only a few tools and materials to install your new toilet. For tools, you’ll need an adjustable wrench for fastening nuts to all mounting bolts, a screwdriver for installing the seat, and a caulk gun for sealing the toilet at the end of the process. You may also need a hacksaw if your mounting bolts are slightly too long. 

In addition to the tools above, you’ll need the following materials to complete your project: an old towel or cloth, a wax ring, mounting bolts (also called closet bolts) with washers, bolt caps, and latex caulk. Once you have all of these essentials, you’re ready to start prepping your toilet for installation. 

How to Install Your New Toilet

1. Inspect the Flanges

To begin, inspect your toilet flange, also called a closet flange. The flange is the fitting that sits in the pipe and acts as a connection between your toilet base and the drain in the floor. Make sure the flange is clear of wax from the previous toilet before continuing. If the closet bolts are rusted or corroded, replace them with brass closet bolts (brass is more resistant to rust and degeneration). The toilet flange will either have slots for you to insert flathead bolts, or it will have areas for you to screw bolts into. Many newer flanges, however, will have the slots. 

2. Prep the Bowl

Once you have your bolts placed into the flange, you can prep the toilet bowl for installation. To begin, place the towel or cloth on the floor and turn the toilet bowl upside down onto it. With the bowl upside down, you should be able to see the waste horn, the opening at the bottom of the bowl that allows waste to exit the toilet. Take the toilet wax ring and place it around the waste horn. Make sure you have a snug fit and press slightly on the wax ring to secure it to the bottom of the bowl. 

3. Install the Toilet Bowl

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Many types of toilets come in two separate halves, the bowl and the tank. To begin the toilet bowl installation, turn the bowl back over and line up the closet bolts with the holes in the base of the toilet. Lower the bowl onto the bolts. Make any minor adjustments to level and straighten the bowl with the floor and wall. Once the bowl is in place, lean over it and press down on it starting from directly over the flange and working your way around the bowl. By pushing down slightly, the wax ring will conform to both the flange and the bowl to create a seal. 

From this part of the process, use the bolt caps, washers, and closet nuts to secure the toilet to the floor. The bolt caps should come with cap bases, which offer a part for the caps to connect with. Place a cap base and washer over each bolt and fasten the nuts. Alternate tightening the left side and the right side to make sure that everything is secured evenly. Make sure you don’t overtighten anything to avoid causing the toilet base to crack. After everything is secure, snap the bolt caps over the bolts for protection. If the bolts are too long, you may need to cut off the excess length with a hacksaw. 

4. Install the Toilet Tank

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Next, you can move to install the second part of your toilet, the tank. Newer toilets tend to come with the flush assembly and handle installed, but if not, you’ll need to put the toilet’s flush assembly and handle together. If everything is installed correctly, you’re ready to secure the tank to the bowl. Start the tank installation by looking at the bottom of the tank to determine whether the bolts will run through the tank or whether they can be secured to the outside. Bolts that can be fastened to the outside of the tank should slide into place. If the bolts run through the tank itself, you’ll need rubber washers, parts that often come with the new toilet.

Next, attach the rubber flush valve gasket to the hole at the bottom of your tank. The gasket should come with the toilet. Installation is easy, although this part differs from toilet to toilet (check with the manufacturer). With the bolts and gasket installed, you can turn the tank over and place it on top of the bowl. From this stage, secure the tank with nuts, but don’t tighten them too much. You want only enough grip to seal the tank to the bowl. 

5. Attach the Water Supply

You’re almost finished, but you have only a few more steps left. With the bowl and tank secured, you can attach the water supply hose from the water valve to the tank. Once the hose is connected, turn the valve slowly in case any leaks are present. You should hear the tank filling with water. Be sure to check the hose, the connection between the tank and the bowl, and the base of the bowl for any leaks. If you find any, shut off the water immediately and make any adjustments. 

6. Take it for a Test Flush

Once the tank has filled with water, flush the toilet a few times and keep an eye on all of the connections for any water leaks. After you’ve checked for leaks, use your screwdriver to install the toilet seat. After you’ve put together the seat and lid, use a caulk gun to apply a layer of caulk in the gap between the toilet and the floor. Caulking the toilet to the floor adds another layer of protection against sewer gases and helps your toilet stay stable. 

After you’ve sealed everything, you’re finished, and your new toilet is ready to be used. One final word of advice: Be vigilant and watch for any leaks that may occur due to undertightening some bolts. Now that you’ve tackled a new toilet installation, it’s time to conquer your next DIY project.

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