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Has your toilet seen better days? Is it wasting water with every flush? Replacing your old, worn out, out-dated toilet with a new one is easier than you think. In this video we’ll give you the basics of removing and re-setting your toilet.

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Changing out your toilet is a project that will only take you a few hours. You may want to give your bathroom a new look with a new toilet. Or, you may need to fix a leak by replacing the wax ring. In either case, here I’ll show you how to replace a standard, two piece toilet with a tank that mounts on top of the bowl. If you have different type of toilet, consult with your local independent home improvement retailer for further advice.

Most of this video will demonstrate how to replace the wax ring, a critical part of replacing the toilet. The wax ring creates a seal between the toilet bowl and the drain in the floor.

The other two videos you’ll want to watch are “Installing a Flush Valve” and “Installing a Fill Valve.” Both of these projects will be part of the complete toilet installation.

Let’s get started by removing the old toilet. First, take off the lid to the tank and shut off the water. Drain the water out of the tank by holding down the flush lever. Then use a sponge or a towel to get the rest of the water out.

Next, disconnect the water supply from the tank. You may need an adjustable wrench or a pair of channel locking pliers for this step.

Now we need to remove the toilet from the floor. Remove the caps that sit over the bolts at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Then, using an adjustable wrench, unscrew the nuts.

Loosen the bowl by rocking it to break its seal with the floor and toilet flange. Once it’s loose, pull the entire toilet up until it clears the bolts on the floor. Toilet bowls can be heavy, so you might need some help with this step.

You might also want to remove the tank first to make it lighter, as I have. To do this, underneath the tank, you’ll see bolts that go through the tank and bowl flange. Unscrew these, and be careful. If they are difficult to remove, use penetrating oil to loosen them. If you try to force them, you could break the tank. To keep the bolt from moving while you loosen the nut, use a large screwdriver to hold the top of the bolt inside the tank.

Once the bolts are removed, lift the tank away from the bowl and place it on a towel on the floor so you don’t scratch it. Tanks can be heavy, so you may need help with this step.

Have a towel handy, as there may still be some water stuck in the trap that could spill on the floor.

The next step is to remove the old wax ring. Tip the toilet to the side to get the wax ring off of the bottom of the toilet. Then remove any of the wax that may be stuck to the flange in the floor. Use a putty knife and paper towels to do this.

You’ll also want to wipe the floor where the toilet was sitting and remove any caulk or putty that may have been used around the edges of the toilet. If the bolts that hold down the toilet are still in good condition, you can reuse them. If they are rusty, consider replacing them.

The toilet goes back on basically the way it came off. Place the new wax ring over the drain hole in the floor with the rounded side up. You also can create a seal with the wax ring around the edge of the bowl’s base, which is what I’m going to show you today.

Carefully line up the toilet over the flange. Lower it gently, making sure the bolts in the floor pass through their openings in the bowl base. As the bowl meets the floor, make sure it is level and square with the rear wall. Don’t raise the bowl from the floor while making adjustments. You only get one shot at setting the bowl per ring. If you break it by pulling the toilet back up, you’ll have to go through the setting process all over again and replace the ring.

As you set the bowl, gently rock the bowl until it sits completely on the floor.

Place washers over the hold-down bolts and thread on the brass nuts. Tighten the nut with your hand, then finish it off with an adjustable wrench. Over tightening could break the bowl. Put the plastic caps back on for decoration, and also to keep water off the bolts.

Finally, put the tank back on inserting the brass tank bolts into the bowl and hand-tightening the nuts evenly. Remember not to over-tighten them or you risk cracking the tank.

Reconnect the water supply and turn on the water. Then test the toilet to make sure it’s not leaking between the tank and the bowl, and especially where the base meets the floor.

If you have questions about this or any other home improvement project, be sure to read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this video. And be sure to print out our Project Instructions, which includes a Tools and Materials checklist, before visiting your local independent home improvement retailer. That’s where you’ll find all the products and helpful advice to complete your project. If you’re not sure where to find your local store, check out our Store Locator.

Good luck with your project and thanks for watching.

Read Video Transcript


  1. 1.turn off water

    Turn off the water to the toilet.

  2. 2.remove tank lid

    Remove the tank lid.

  3. 3.drain water

    Remove the refill tube from the overflow pipe and drain water from the tank.

  4. 4.remove water

    Use a rag to pick up any remaining water.

  5. 5.disconnect water supply

    Disconnect the water supply line.

  6. 6.disconnect flapper chains

    Disconnect the flapper chain.

  7. 7.unscrew bolts

    Unscrew bolts attached to the tank.

  8. 8.remove tank

    Remove tank from the bowl and place on a towel.

  9. 9.remove caps

    Remove the caps sitting on the bolts.

  10. 10.unscrew nuts

    Unscrew nuts with an adjustable wrench.

  11. 11.remove bowl

    Rock the bowl a bit to loosen the grip on the floor and place on a towel.

  12. 12.remove wax

    Remove wax ring from the toilet and the floor. Clean the floor around the drain hole.

  13. 13.replace bolts

    If the bolts look rusty, replace them.

  14. wax ring

    Place a new wax ring on the new toilet and carefully position on top of the drain hole. You only get one shot to place it. Replace wax ring if you miss.

  15. 15.rock bowl in place

    Gently rock the bowl until it sits level on the floor.

  16. 16.remove bowl

    Assemble everything together in the reverse order that you took it apart.

  17. 17.remove bowl

    Turn the water back on and test the new toilet for any leaks.


Project Faqs « back to project


Why is water leaking from the base of my toilet?

Most likely the wax ring at the base of your toilet has failed. To replace it you will need to loosen the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor,... More »

There is water seeping from around the base of my toilet. What do I need to do to solve this problem?

Your wax gasket is probably not working anymore. This is a simple problem to fix. You need to remove the toilet and install a new wax ring. While... More »

I think my toilet may be leaking. What should I do?

The most likely cause is that your toilet’s flush valve is leaking through the flapper, letting water continue to drain from the tank down into... More »


What is an anti-siphon toilet fill valve?

The anti-siphon protection prevents the toilet tank water from getting into your home water supply... More »


How do I test my toilet flapper for leaks?

Test your toilet flapper by pouring a bit of food coloring into the tank, then check back in 15 minutes to see if the water in the bowl has changed... More »

What do I do if there is a crack in my toilet bowl?

If it is small crack, you can try to repair it. Drain the toilet, dry it off, apply some Plumber’s Goop and let it dry completely before refilling... More »


What type of plunger should I use to unclog my toilet?

The best type of plunger to buy is one that includes a flange around the bottom. This allows the plunger to create a better seal inside the toilet.... More »

How do I adjust toilet water level?

To adjust the water level on a toilet with modern tank components, there is a lock ring or pinch clamp that allows you to raise or lower the float... More »

What is a toilet vent?

It is a pipe that runs from the toilet drain to the outside, usually to the roof. This prevents air lock in the drain... More »

What does the toilet vent pipe do?

It is a pipe that runs from the toilet drain to the outside, usually to the roof. This prevents air lock in the drain... More »

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Comments (1)

  1. This is a great video.

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    It’s designed to hold the bolts up and stay in place making it extremely easy to set the toilet. If you forget something you can pull the toilet back up and reset it on the same Sani Seal.

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    September 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm