How to Remove and Replace a Toilet

Newly installed toilet in bathroom.
Newly installed toilet in bathroom.

I want to put a new floor in my bathroom and need to know how to take the old toilet out and put a new one in? -Tommy

Hi Tommy,

Begin by turning off the water at the cut-off valve located behind the toilet. Flush the toilet, holding the handle down so all the water drains out of the tank, then use a sponge to remove any remaining water from the tank and bowl. Next, use a wrench to disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the tank.

Take the plastic covers off the flange bolts in the floor on each side of the bowl, unscrew the nuts and remove the washers. Work the toilet loose from the wax gasket that seals it to the drain flange and lift it out. After cleaning the old wax off the drain flange, put a rag in the drain or tape over the flange to keep sewer gases out while you’re working on the new floor.

When you’re ready to install the new toilet, turn the bowl on its side and press a new wax ring around the opening on the bottom of the bowl. If the flange bolts are corroded, slide them out of the slots and replace them. After removing the rag or tape from the drain, position the bowl on the drain opening, and press down firmly, rotating the toilet slightly from side to side to seat it on the flange.

Next, install the washers and nuts on the flange bolts and tighten them up, applying even pressure to each side until the bowl is firmly seated on the flange opening and floor. Be careful not to crack the bowl by over tightening the nuts. If necessary, cut the bolts off with a hacksaw so the plastic covers can fit over them.

Attach the tank to the bowl, using the bolts and rubber gasket supplied with it, followed by the supply line in the bottom of the tank. Open the cut-off valve, fill the tank, and flush the toilet while checking for leaks.

You can find more about removing and replacing a toilet—including a cool tip on how to drain water out of the bowl—in our Bathroom Makeover episode. For information on other toilet repairs, see our article on Repairing a Toilet.