How to Install a Toilet (Without Making a Big Ol' Stinking Mess)

how to install a toilet without making a mess

Installing a toilet is one of those things that most people can do for themselves, but hire a professional instead. Knowing how to install a toilet can save you a few bucks and the time of waiting for a plumber to arrive.

However, certain circumstances require a plumber. If the toilet is going into a new bathroom, there may not be existing sewer openings or waterlines. You can’t install the toilet without a contractor and permits.

Trying to handle a huge job like that on your own can lead to bigger problems.

Barring any extenuating circumstances, a toilet installation falls under the category of plumbing basics. All you need is the new toilet, a wax ring, some silicone sealant, and a plumber's wrench.

Are you ready to install a toilet but need some step-by-step instructions? Keep reading for a toilet installation guide that won't lead to a big mess.

Can Anyone Learn How to Install a Toilet?

Anyone can change a toilet if they research the procedures to get it done. Follow the step-by-step instructions and you should be okay. There are probably 1,000s of videos on YouTube to guide you through the process.

If you live in a rental unit, it's not your responsibility. Contact the property owner or put in a request for maintenance. If they can't assist you right away, ask if they will reimburse the cost of hiring a plumber.

The following tips are geared towards homeowners that need to replace a toilet or install a new one.

Before You Get Started

Before you get started with the toilet installation, get your tools together. Not having all the appropriate tools is one of the top diy plumbing mistakes. There are required tools and those you should have on hand just in case.

Here is a list of tools and supplies you absolutely will need:

  • Plumber's wrench
  • Wax Ring
  • Sponge
  • Gloves
  • Pliers
  • Toilet tile silicone caulking and caulking gun

Optional supplies:

  • Putty knife
  • Toilet flange or flange extender (if the existing flange is broken)
  • Hacksaw (if you can't remove the nut from the bolts)
  • A bucket
  • Towels
  • Plastic (if needed)
  • A new toilet

You'll only need to buy a new toilet if the existing toilet is broken. When installing a new toilet, you'll need to measure and ensure the flange and the bolts align.

Turn off the Water Supply

Once you are ready to get started, turn off the water supply to the toilet. There should be a shut off valve on the water supply. If not, you'll need to shut off the water to the entire house.

Your sink, tub, and toilet should each have their own shut off valves. If not, it is a good time to have a plumber come in and install them.

Dispose of the Water in the Toilet

After the water supply is turned off, flush the toilet to drain out the water. There will most likely still be residual water in the tank and the bowl.

For water remaining in the bowl use a towel to soak up the access. If water remains in the tank, place a bowl or bucket near the water supply valve. When you remove the waterline attached to the tank, place it in the bucket until the tank is empty.

Remove the Toilet

The next step is to unbolt the toilet from the floor. Use your pliers or an adjustable wrench to unscrew the nuts.

Carefully lift the toilet up and move it out of the way or into another room if the bathroom is small. Use your plastic to protect flooring that could be damaged by water.

The toilet might be too heavy to lift. It is a good idea to have a buddy nearby to assist.

Once the toilet has been removed, put on your gloves and remove the old wax ring. Clean away any residuals and discard properly. Check the flange to ensure it is not damaged.

Test the New Toilet for Fit

For the installation of a new toilet, set it over the bolts to make sure it will fit in the existing space. A new toilet could have a different shape than your existing toilet.

If there is an issue, do not try to force the fit. You may need to call in a professional Austin plumber to come up with a remedy.

Install the New Wax Ring

Before you can set the toilet, you'll need to install the wax ring. Simply remove it from the packaging, ensuring all wrapping and plastic is removed. Read the back of the box for tips and instructions for proper placement.

Properly align the wax ring over the flange and set it in place.

Some people attach the ring to the bottom of the toilet. However, it is easier and causes less of a mess if it is placed on the flange.

Set the Toilet

Here is the most important part of the toilet installation. Setting the toilet. You want to carefully align the bolt openings in the toilet, with the bolts.

Gently lower the toilet down on the wax ring. Make sure the toilet is leveled. Using your pliers or wrench, tighten the nuts to secure the toilet in place.

Reconnect the water line to the supply. Turn the water on and fill the tank. Once filled, flush the toilet.

Look for water leaking from underneath. Leaks are a sign that the wax ring isn't sealed properly.

Seal with Caulking

If all is well and there are no leaks, Iy's time to seal the toilet. Run a straight bead between the toilet and the floor. Smooth it out and allow it to dry.

This will bond the toilet to the floor.

It's Time to Set the Toilet or Call a Plumber

Now that you have the basics of how to install a toilet, are you up for the task? It's okay if you're not. The trained plumbers on our team are here to get the job done right the first time.

Click here to request a job estimate.