There are several reasons why you might want to install a new toilet, from replacing a faulty one to making a cosmetic upgrade. Replacing a toilet is also a great opportunity to refit other parts of your bathroom while you’re at it, from replacing your bathroom flooring to adding smart bathroom features. Whatever your reason, rest assured that most toilet installations follow a similar process.

In this blog, we’ll map out the process step-by-step, so you can sit atop your sparkling new throne in the quickest time possible.

Tools required to fit a toilet

Fitting a toilet does not require as many tools as you might imagine, but it’s best to have the following on hand:

  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Silicone
  • Pliers

While the above tools will suffice for most toilet installations, toilets with cisterns that do not directly connect to the pan, like wall hung toilets, will require some additional plumbing tools, such as:

  • Box spanner
  • Piper cutter
  • Hammer
  • Spirit level
  • Electric drill
  • Tape measure

Now you’re equipped with everything you need to plumb a toilet, let’s move on to our practical guide.

How to remove a toilet

1. Turn off the water supply

Before removing the toilet, disinfect the toilet pan and surrounding areas and make sure there is no water in the cistern or pan, before switching off the water supply using the water pipe’s isolation valve.

Next, flush the toilet until there is no water in the cistern. A small volume of water may remain – if this is the case, remove it by pushing an old towel to the bottom of the cistern and wringing it out over a bucket.

2. Disconnect the water pipe

Lay an old towel on the floor around the toilet to soak up any excess water. Then, use a wrench to disconnect the cistern pipe.

3. Remove fixing bolts

If your toilet is bolted to the floor, you’ll need to remove the nuts and washers by carefully unscrewing them. If the nuts have caps, use a screwdriver to pick them off.

4. Remove the soil pipe

The soil pipe – also known as a waste pipe – is attached to the bottom or the back of most toilets. By gently working the toilet loose from the soil pipe, you should be able to free your toilet from its fixings.

5. Cover the soil pipe

Lastly, cover the soil pipe and seal it with an old bag or cloth. Make sure you do not skip this step as it will allow some extremely unsavoury scents to pervade your bathroom!

How to install a new toilet

Fitting a new toilet can seem like a daunting task, but as long as you secure all of the connections, it it’s relatively simple job. However, if you’re unsure, we encourage you to consult a qualified plumber before undertaking any work yourself.

1. Measure and add the wax ring

Whether you’re refitting your old toilet or installing a new one, you’ll need to measure and mark drill holes. If the toilet’s outlet is underneath rather than at the back, remove the soil cover and add a new wax ring.

2. Secure the toilet

Once you’ve added the wax ring and connected the new soil pipe to the toilet, it’s time to secure the toilet by bolting it to the floor. To do this, screw each bolt approximately halfway, before carefully tightening each one with a spanner. Be very careful as you do this as overtightening the bolts can crack the toilet pan.

Note, some toilets include screws, while some have an L shaped clamp – make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Connect the water pipe to the cistern

Attach the water pipe to the cistern and tighten it with a wrench. Next, add a small amount of sealant to waterproof the area where the bolt sits against the cistern.

4. Activate the water supply and check for leaks

Once you have secured everything in place, restart the water supply and check for leaks as the cistern fills. Then flush the toilet, before checking each part of the toilet for leaks.

How to fit a toilet with an L-shaped clamp

Fitting a toilet with an L-shaped clamp is a little different, but our simple instructions below will help you install it in no time.

Start by connecting the soil pipe to the toilet, before positioning the toilet against the wall. Using a pencil, mark drill holes before disconnecting the toilet again. At this point, turn the toilet upside down.

Fit the screws through the toilet and into the L-shaped bracket, loosely to begin with. Then take your tape measure and measure the distance between the holes and divide the number by 2.

Next, measure the distance between your original floor markings and divide this number by 2, before marking the centre of the floor markings with a pencil.

Take your original measurement and mark outwards from the centre marking towards your original floor markings. Mark these positions on the floor – this is where you will fix the L-shaped bracket.

Finally, screw the bracket securely to the floor according to your new markings.

Installing a toilet cistern

There are several types of cistern and installation is slightly different for each type. We’ve provided an overview of the most common type below.

How to install a close-coupled cistern

Typically secured by two square bolts, close-coupled cisterns sit on top of the toilet pan and are the most common and easiest to install.

To fit a close coupled cistern, slot the bolts into the fixings according to your manufacturer’s instructions, before placing the seal on top of the toilet pan hole.

Next, carefully place the cistern over the pan, ensuring that all of the screws are accurately aligned. Finally, secure the cistern to the pan by tightening the screws – be aware that this final step can be quite fiddly!