Replacing a toilet may not be your favourite part of your bathroom renovations, but it’s easier than you think.
Most new toilets come in standard sizes that can be easily swapped out.
From choosing the right toilet to installing the toilet seat and flange, we’ve outlined the entire process
for you step-by-step to help you with your home renovation project.
Start by measuring the distance from the closet bolts (which can be found at the base of the toilet) to the back of the wall. Make sure you also have enough clearance on either side of the toilet.
Once you have these measurements, visit your local Lowe’s and choose a toilet that fits both the size and style of your bathroom. If you need a little inspiration choosing the most important seat in your house, check out our toilet buying guide.
Once you bring your new toilet home, it’s time to remove the existing one. Out with the old, in with the new!
Put on your work gloves (ceramic can cut like glass so make sure you protect your hands) and check around the toilet for visible cracks. Then, carefully remove the tank’s top lid.
Turn off the main water supply line to the toilet and flush until the water drains completely. To remove excess water from the tank, use a sponge and bucket. To do so from the bowl, use a small disposable cup, bucket, and old towel or rag. Then, disconnect the water supply line from the toilet and drain any excess water into a bucket. Leave the tank connected to the bowl.
It’s time to remove the closet bolts. First, remove the bolt caps. Then, loosen the closet bolt nuts with a wrench. If the bolts are spinning, use a mini hacksaw blade to cut the bolt.
If your toilet is sealed to the floor, use a utility knife to cut away the sealing. Gently rock the toilet to free it from the sealant and then place it aside on an old rag. Then, plug the drain with a towel to block any sewer gases.
Last step! Scrape the old wax ring from the flange and the floor with a putty knife.
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! It’s time to install your new toilet. Most tanks come pre-assembled but if you do need to install the fill valve and flapper, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do it now.
Install the rubber gasket on the outlet of the holding tank. Then, place the holding tank on the bowl.
Install the rubber washers in place and tighten the new nuts and bolts. To ensure the ceramic does not crack, don’t tighten too much. Insert the new closet bolts into the flange.
Remove the old rag from the drain and replace the wax ring. Center it on the flange, not the toilet. This will help hold and center the closet bolts.
TIP: Wax rings are easier to work with when they are warm. If yours is cold, let it warm up to room temperature first.
Set the new toilet on the flange and closet bolts. Try to keep the toilet parallel to the wall and gently push down to seal the ring in place.
Place the washers on each bolt and then tighten each nut in an alternating pattern. This applies pressure evenly across the base. Then, cut the bolts before installing the caps.
Install the toilet seat by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Reconnect the water supply to the rear of the toilet and turn on the water valve. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions about how high water should be in the tank. Typically, water comes to a half inch below the overflow tube. Give the toilet a test flush and test for leaks.
You’re in the home stretch. Seal the base with silicone sealant. And you’re done!