How to Install a Toilet

HGTV's Chip Wade breaks it down into easy-to-follow steps.

It's one of those things you know needs to get done, but you put off and put off: Finally installing a new toilet. The process may seem intimidating, but HGTV star Chip Wade will assure you, it isn't. The designer and craftsman's been gut-renovating his own lake house—known as the Misty Mill project, which you can follow along with on his website dedicated to the build—and along the way, he's showing us how to take on a few DIY projects of our own. First up: Changing out the porcelain throne.

"The most important thing to ensure when installing a toilet is that the mounting flange on the plumbing drain is in good shape, and that you ensure the toilet is secure and does not rock once it's fastened down," Chip says.

If all of that sounded like a foreign language to you, it won't soon—here's a step-by-step breakdown. Follow the steps below (and secure what you need to accomplish the task!), then watch the video above to see how it all comes together.

Note: We're showing you how to install a skirted toilet, which is a model that conceals the trapway (that s-shaped piping in the back of your toilet bowl). It's a little easier to clean, since you're not dusting the nooks and crannies of the trapway, and it looks sleeker. This model's from Kohler.

How to Install a Toilet

What You'll Need:

  • toilet
  • screwdrivers (flat and Philips)
  • putty knife
  • water supply line
  • adjustable wrench
  • socket set
  • tape measure
  • toilet seal OR wax ring (we'll show you how to do it with a toilet seal!)

    Instructions:

    Step 1: Remove the existing toilet, leaving behind the circular disc bolted to the floor (that's the toilet flange), and use the putty knife to remove the old wax from the base of the toilet.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 2: Apply the new rubber seal to the top of the toilet flange. Or, if you're using the wax ring option, stick the new wax ring onto the plastic trapway.

    Secure it with T-bolts!

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 3: Place the toilet trapway over the seal.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 4: Secure mounting brackets on both sides of the toilet.

    Pro tip: Don't over-tighten the screws!

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 5: Install pivot mounts on each side of the toilet.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 6: Lower the toilet on top of the plastic trapway.

    Make sure the holes on either side of the toilet line up with the pivot mounts.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 7: Insert screw bushings on both sides of the toilet.

    Secure everything in place with bolts. They'll slip right through the screw bushings and the mounting brackets. (The bolts and screw bushings should be provided with your toilet.)

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 8: Cover the bolts with the caps that come with the toilet.

    Tiny eyesore averted!

    Step 9: Connect the water supply line to the shutoff valve.

    Look for the valve in the back of the toilet.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 10: Slowly turn the water supply valve to fill the tank.

    Check the tank and the area surrounding the toilet for any leaks.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Step 11: Screw on the toilet seat.

    You can stick with the one that came with your toilet, or go for a customized option. You know, like that funky, shell-shaped one your grandma had. You do you.

    How to Install a Skirted Toilet
    Chip Wade/Wade Works

    Once that's done, it's ready to use! That wasn't so hard, was it?


    For even more renovation inspo—and see the bathroom Chip's designed to go along with this toilet install—visit MistyMill.com.

    Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.

    More From DIY Projects