How To Install A Toilet: The Ultimate Guide From An Experienced Plumber

How to install a toilet: secret tips and tricks

Hey! I am Gerald, and it is my duty as a professional plumber to teach you how to install your toilet properly. Today I will discuss a very popular topic: how to install a toilet flange in a concrete floor. 

A good guide I’ve found on YouTube

Installing a toilet is one of many plumbing works that requires careful approach, positive attitude and professional tools. Now you may ask me whether it needs a professional plumber and how long does it take to install a toilet. This plumbing project is simple and all you need is several hours, a toilet itself and a few instruments.

A lot of people think that removing the old toilet and installing the new one is a hard and time-consuming process. In fact, it is not true. You can do it easily without calling the expensive plumbers. In this article, I’ve tried to gather all the information you need to know if you want to install a toilet at home. Ready? Read on.

What tools do you need to install a toilet?

First thing that comes to mind when you think on how to install a new toilet is the tools you need. You will be surprised, but in many cases, you only need an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver. If you are going to install the toilet from scratch, buy some additional tools like a pipe cutter, a wrench or a hacksaw. Those are the most necessary tools for toilet installation? And all of them can be found in your toolkit.

What to do if you don’t have a toolkit?

It is hard to believe that experienced house owners don’t have a toolkit. But if you still don’t, just buy one now. Instruments and materials you will need in your toolkit:

  • Spanner,
  • Screwdriver;
  • Drill;
  • Caulk Gun;
  • Putty knife;
  • Tape measure;
  • Hacksaw;
  • Pliers;
  • Rags.

Additional materials:

  • Brass bolts;
  • Toilet flange;
  • Shims of plastic;
  • Caulk for caulk gun;
  • New wax ring.

How to install a new toilet? 

Before we discuss how to install a new toilet, new construction and other plumbing devices, I want to stop and emphasize the measuring. It’s the first thing you do when installing a toilet.  One of my clients has spent a lot of money on a new toilet but forgot to measure the waste pipe. The fact is that the vast majority of toilets is placed about 12 inches from the wall, but some models can be placed about 10 or 14 inches. Please do not repeat this mistake. If you are still wondering how difficult is it to install a toilet, let’s do it together step by step:

  1. The first step is to turn off the water. Flush all the water from the bowl (use the bucket if you need), remove the water supply.
  2. Using spanner, unscrew bolts between bowl and basin. Remove an empty basin.
  3. Bend down and unscrew bolts that retain the bowl. You may feel that the sealant still holds the toilet. Use a putty knife to break the seal or just rock it slightly side to side.
  4. Take the same putty knife to remove the wax around the drain hole. Since you will put new wax there, try to remove as much as you can at this stage.
  5. Put old rags into the drain to plug it for now to avoid sewage aromas getting into your bathroom. Remove them, once you’re ready for the next step.
  6. The old flange must be replaced with a new one. Unbolt it and put away.
  7. Install the toilet flange. If you are a little bit scared about how to install a toilet flange by yourself, please keep calm, it’s very easy. Just place it over the hole and attach to the floor using a screwdriver and drill.
  8. The new wax ring must be placed around the drainage hole. Make sure that flange is really right to the floor. If not, start the procedure again, with new wax. This is how to install a toilet flange in concrete floor. If all works well, the next step is installing the toilet bowl.
  9. How to install a toilet bowl? It is a little bit tricky step and may take several trials. You need to place a new toilet bowl exactly over the bolts protruding from the ground. Now rock it to attach the bowl tightly. You need to be real careful as the bowl is fragile.
  10. Insert bolts and tighten them. 
  11. Carefully install the tank over the bowl. 
  12. Turn on the water supply and check if everything works well. 
  13. To ensure a good seal, I additionally recommend you to caulk the toilet base. 

How long does it take to install a toilet? My list may seem long to read, but you will see: the whole installation takes less than an hour. 

How to install a toilet seat?

Believe me, if you have already done the previous step (and I am sure that you have), this section is easy as cake. Once you have learned how to change the new bowl by yourself attaching toilet seat will seem like a holiday to you. If you wonder how to install a toilet seat or how to repair a toilet by replacing a toilet seat, follow these steps:

  1. Decide on the seat’s style: rounded, elongated, “whisper close”. 
  2. Measure the toilet bowl. Most toilets have standard sizes, but there may be some exceptions.
  3. Gather all the necessary tools: in this case, a wrench and a screwdriver are the basics.
  4. Take fasteners. Usually, fasteners are included in the package.
  5. Install the bolts into the holes on the top of the bowl of your seat. Install the locks on the back of the bowl.
  6. Tighten the nut under the toilet bowl. 

How to install a toilet roll holder? 

There is a quick instruction on how to install a toilet paper holder. But mine is quicker:

  1. Choose the place where you want to install the roll holder, measure it.
  2. Drill the holes.
  3. Attach the roll holder on the wall with the help of a screwdriver.
  4. Put a roll of toilet paper on the tube over the paper holder. 

Additional tips on how to install a toilet roll holder:

  • I advise to put the toilet paper holder at a height of 10-11 inches from the floor and slightly ahead of the edge of the toilet bowl, no more than 4 inches.
  • Usually, toilet roll holders are packed with bolts or screws.
  • Make sure that the holder is attached tightly to the wall.

What mistakes you can make during the installation and how to avoid them? 

We are almost done! Now I would like to address the most common mistakes people do when installing a new toilet:

  • Choosing the wrong room: check the areas where you have the permission for a plumbing project;
  • Forgetting to measure: a lot of toiles are of a standard size, but exceptions may occur; carefully measure space from the wall to hold-down bolts: if the number is not approximately 12 inches, you will need a special model.
  • Moving the whole toilet: it is too heavy and fragile; remove it piece by piece, disconnecting a bowl and a tank; in the instructions above I’ve told you how to install a toilet bowl, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
  • Neglecting the Teflon tape. Will Teflon tape stop drips? I assure you it will; 
  • Forgetting to caulk the toilet base after the installation;
  • Not shutting off all the valves before the installation process. 

How much does it cost to install a toilet yourself?

You will pay only for materials. And if you already have all the necessary tools, the only expenditure will be the toilet itself. When you want to save money on the specialist services or simply to master new construction skills, information on how to install a new toilet, new construction or anything plumbing-related will be useful. Doing this kind of work with your own hands is not difficult if you follow my recommendations and rules. 

How to install a toilet: the final word

How difficult is it to install a toilet seat? In my opinion, it is easy and fast so that even the inexperienced person is able to do it. How much does it cost to install a toilet? Have you ever installed a toilet? If yes, what problems did you face? Share in the comments below. Plumber’s tips and funny stories are much appreciated!

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