Dos and Don'ts during a Toilet Installation

A toilet installation, as simple as it may seem, can create more challenges than in installing almost any other home fixture. Mostly, these challenges are related to meeting certain specific requirements by local codes. Generally, this requires a knowledge of these codes and requirements, along with the care it takes to see that they are met as required. Building skill is generally not the challenge you'll be
Required to meet. To better understand these requirements, check out the information below.

Required Pipes

To install your toilet according to required standards, you'll need to include installing a stub out for supplying cold water. This stub out will need to include a shutoff valve and flexible tubing. You will also need a 2-inch vent, and a 3-inch drain.

Drainage, and Clearance

For a toilet using a branch drain, the toilet must be downhill from any sink, shower, or bathtub that shares this drain. The toilet must also comply with distance requirements involving a nearby wall, fixture, or bathtub. A nearby wall must not be less than 15 inches from the toilet bowl center. From a bathtub edge to the toilet center, the distance must be at lease 12 inches. The minimum distance from the front edge of a toilet bowl to a fixture or a wall is 21 inches.

Floor Flange Condition

For a new toilet installation, you will need to first rough in a floor flange and closet bend. If the installation is for a toilet replacement, you should remove the wax and the old bolts from the previous toilet. Any old wax left on the floor could result in leaks between the floor and the toilet base. You can use the old flange if it is solid and still has smooth surfaces. But, if you find cracks, uneven surfaces, or missing pieces, you will need to discard the old flange and use a new one.

Secure the Flange and Toilet

The floor flange must be positioned with its bottom surface at the finished floor level. In a new floor installation, install the floor before installing the flange, with the floor surface extending beneath the toilet. With this flooring in place, you can secure the flange to the floor by tightening the flange screws. To ensure that the flange is level, use a level as you tighten the screws. Secure the toilet bowl by fitting through the flange and floor bolt holes, the bolts that secure the bowl to the flange and floor. As you tighten these bolts, you'll need to check the bowl to be sure it is level.

Install Tubing and Shutoff Valve

Cut off the supply line stub end and connect it to the shutoff valve. Connect one end of your flex tube to the supply stub-out at the bottom of the tank, and the other end to the shutoff valve.


Use plumber's putty to fill the decorative caps that came with the toilet. Then place these caps on the ends of the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. Finally, seal or caulk the bottom edge of the toilet with a silicone caulk.