What are the Best Tips for Replacing a Toilet?

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  • Written By: Keith Koons
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2020
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There are many sound tips for replacing a toilet that will help the amateur handyman complete this task with minimal setbacks. One of the largest hurdles in this project is repairing or replacing the sub-floor if any water damage has occurred. Once that is completed, installing a new wax ring will ensure that a tight seal is made to prevent future problems. Another tip for replacing a toilet is to ensure that it is completely level while installing the final mounting hardware.

In many situations, replacing a toilet is necessary due to leakage from the main tank. Once the toilet and the flooring material are removed, there is a good chance that there will be areas that have water damage that will have to be repaired. If the water-damaged areas are minor, they can be chipped out and filled with an epoxy designed for wood and fiberboard. When the damages are more substantial, it is often easier to remove and replace the entire floorboard that the toilet rests on.


Once the sub-floor is brought up to standards, installing a wax ring is the next step in replacing a toilet. As long as the cutout where the previous wax ring was installed is in good shape, the rings can be exchanged out by lifting the old one straight up and lowering the new one in place. The largest factor is placing the new toilet directly over the wax ring and lowering it into place with as few adjustments as possible. Each sideways movement reduces the ring's overall effectiveness and increases the chances of future problems.

After the wax ring is installed and the toilet is seated above it, the next step to replacing a toilet is securing it to the floor. In some cases the toilet may line up with the previously drilled holes, but it is often better to drill new ones to ensure maximum stability. While the holes can be drilled from the top of the flooring, it is often necessary to have a second person thread the bolt up through the sub-floor. Once each bolt is tightened down, the toilet should be checked to ensure that it is sitting level; if it is off by even a little bit, the toilet may not flush properly and the wax ring can become damaged.

The final procedure in replacing a toilet is connecting the water lines. As long as the hardware is compatible, this step should only take a few minutes. A new water line can be connected from the shutoff valve to the bottom of the toilet. If the shutoff valve is old or does not seal properly, it should also be replaced beforehand.



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