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Is it easy to fit a new toilet?

It’s not too difficult to fit a new toilet to an existing soil pipe in your home. However, if you are installing a new toilet into another part of the house, then it’s best to call a qualified plumber to connect the toilet to the main pipe.

This guide demonstrates how to fit a close-coupled toilet, which is the design most widely fitted across houses in the UK. Other designs such as back-to-wall toilets or high-level toilets have different fitting requirements – check the manufacturer’s instructions. On a close-coupled toilet the cistern sits directly on top of the pan, and there are a huge range of styles to choose from.

Before you remove your old toilet, make sure you thoroughly inspect your new one for signs of damage and to check that you have all the parts and fittings. If you want to save water - and save on your water bills - then choose a toilet that has a dual-flush system. These have the options of a long or short flush and are great for cutting down on water use.

If you’re installing a new toilet as part of a new bathroom, always make sure you tile the floor first. It’s easier to fit a toilet on top of tiles rather than having to cut tiles to shape round a toilet.

When fitting a new toilet remember to take appropriate safety measures such as wearing gloves and safety goggles.

    How to remove a toilet

    Step 1

    Before removing a toilet, turn the water off at the mains. The location of the mains stopcock varies, but it’s usually near the kitchen sink or outside the front of the property.


    Step 2

    Flush the toilet to empty the cistern of water. Then use a cup, sponge or towel to remove as much of the remaining water as you can from the toilet bowl and cistern. Have a bucket to hand to collect the water.


    Step 3

    Disconnect the water supply to the toilet with an adjustable wrench and self-grip pliers.


    Step 4

    Remove the screws from the base of the toilet and from the inside of the cistern if it is attached to the wall.


    Step 5

    Gently detach the old toilet from the soil pipe. Afterwards you can push a cloth into the pipe to help prevent potentially harmful and unpleasant smelling gases coming up from the mains sewers.

    Completely remove the old toilet and clean the surrounding floor so it’s free from dirt and grime. You might need a sharp knife to cut away any silicone sealant. Your old toilet should be disposed of safely by taking it to your local waste recycling centre.


    How to fit a close coupled toilet

    Step 1

    Assemble and fit the flush mechanism and inner parts of the cistern, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t over tighten any fixings at this stage.


    Step 2

    Attach the large close couple washer to the top of the pan. Then carefully lift the cistern into position, making sure that the flush mechanism thread fits into the washer, and that the bolts sit comfortably through the holes in the pan.


    Step 3

    Secure the cistern to the pan by tightening the supplied washers and wing nuts onto the bolts.


    Connecting the new toilet to the existing soil pipe

    Step 1

    Insert the pan connector to the waste pipe, making sure the fit is snug.


    Step 2

    Attach the waste pipe to the pan connector, making sure the two are aligned so that the fit is as snug as possible, and the pan connector goes right into the collar. A flexible pan connector can be easier to fit and may be more suitable in confined spaces.


    Step 3

    Use a spirit level to check that the pan is level, and make small adjustments if necessary by using packers underneath the pan.


    Step 4

    Use a spirit level to check that the cistern is level. If your cistern has fixing holes in the back, mark the position of these holes onto the wall with a pencil.


    How to fit a toilet pan to the floor

    Step 1

    Use a pencil to mark the outline of the toilet pan onto the floor. Then mark the position of the fixing holes.


    Step 2

    Slide the toilet pan back out, then use a cable and pipe detector to make sure all the fixing points are free from obstructions.


    Step 3

    Drill your pilot holes, using a 10mm drill bit to finish the holes. If you are fitting the toilet to a concrete floor you will need to use a masonry drill bit and wall plugs.


    Step 4

    Put the toilet into position and secure the pan to the floor brackets with the provided fixings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be careful not to overtighten the fixings.


    Step 5

    If your cistern has fixing points, use them to secure the cistern with appropriate wall plugs, fixings and screws. If the cistern doesn’t have fixing points you can use silicone sealant or adhesive to secure it to the wall.

    If you’re drilling into tiles, place some masking tape over the marked holes before you start drilling. This will stop the drill bit from slipping.


    Step 6

    Now that the toilet is secured, apply silicone sealant around the base.


    Connecting the water supply to the toilet cistern

    Step 1

    Apply some PTFE tape and reconnect the cold water supply. Depending on the position of the inlet on the new cistern you may need to install a flexible connector pipe, preferably one with a small isolation valve.


    Step 2

    Turn the water on and check for any leaks along the pipes and seals. Keep some old cloths or towels handy for this stage. If your stopcock isn’t situated near the bathroom then you can ask a friend to turn the water on for you whilst you watch for leaks.


    Step 3

    Finish fitting the flushing mechanism as per the instructions provided, then secure the cistern lid before testing the flush.


    Fitting a toilet seat

    Step 1

    Fit the hinges to the toilet seat and then attach the seat to the pan using the provided fixings.


    Step 2

    Finally apply some more silicone sealant to the base of the toilet, smoothing it down with a damp sponge or cloth for a neat finish.