Moving a toilet may seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and tools, it can easily be done by a homeowner. Whether you’re remodeling your bathroom, replacing an old toilet, or simply moving it to a new location, following some key steps will ensure the process goes smoothly. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to safely and efficiently move a toilet.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Before getting started, make sure you have gathered all the supplies you’ll need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Bucket
  • Old rags or towels
  • Teflon tape
  • Caulk gun with bathroom caulk
  • New toilet bolts, washers and nuts
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection

You’ll also need a new wax toilet seal ring if replacing an existing toilet. Have your new toilet on hand if replacing, and clear a path from the old location to the new spot.

Turn Off Water Supply

The first step is always to turn off the water supply to the toilet. There should be a shut-off valve below the tank or behind the bowl. Use the adjustable wrench to turn the valve clockwise until it’s closed and no water is coming through.

Flush Toilet and Sponge Out Water

With the water supply off, flush the toilet to empty the tank. Use a small bucket to scoop out any remaining water in the tank and bowl. Place old towels or rags on the floor around the base to soak up any spillage when removing.

Disconnect Supply Line

Under the tank you’ll find a flexible supply line that runs from the tank to the shut-off valve. Use the wrench to loosen the nut that secures the line to the tank and valve. You may need to hold the valve with one wrench while loosening the nut with another.

Remove Mounting Bolts

Now for the slightly tricky part – removing the mounting bolts. You should see two bolts that go through the base of the toilet and hold it firmly to the floor. Use your wrench to loosen the nuts on these bolts and slide them off along with the washers.

Slowly wiggle the bolts free from the toilet base and set them aside. Have your bucket handy to catch any remaining water still inside the tank and bowl.

Lift Toilet and Remove

Before lifting the toilet, give the base a few gentle rocks back and forth to help break the wax seal. Then firmly grasp the bowl and tank and begin standing up slowly. Take your time and adjust your grip as needed.

Carefully angle the toilet away from the wall as you lift upwards. Try to hold it low and upright to avoid spilling water. Once it’s free, carry it to the new location or outside if disposing.

Scrape Away Old Wax Ring

Now underneath the toilet flange you should see a circular wax ring, likely coated in residue. Use your putty knife to scrape this clean down to the bare flange. Take your time and remove all leftover material so you have a smooth surface.

Also inspect the flange itself for any damage or loosening, which should be fixed prior to installing the new toilet. Clean the area well with a rag.

Install New Toilet Seal

With the area prepped, it’s time to set your new wax ring in place. Simply center it evenly over the flange hole and press down firmly to adhere. The ring should be thick side up and flat across the floor surface.

You can test that the seal is airtight by placing a toilet bolt through it into the flange. If tight, it will stay upright without support.

Set New Toilet and Hand-Tighten Bolts

Now you’re ready to bring in the new toilet! If replacing, unbox it and prepare the tank parts as instructed. Position the bowl over the wax ring so the bolts poke up through the mounting holes. Slowly lower it straight down, keeping it level and pressed firmly to squish the ring in place.

Have your bolts, washers and nuts ready. Hand tighten the nuts just enough so the toilet doesn’t wobble and everything is stable. Don’t fully tighten yet.

Reconnect Water Supply

With the toilet in place on the new seal, you can now reconnect the water supply line. Make sure to place the washer in the fitting end before attaching to the tank. Only hand tighten gently at first.

Turn on Water and Test for Leaks

Turn the shut-off valve counterclockwise to begin water flow again. Let the tank fill and then flush a few times to ensure proper operation. Tighten any fitting connections if leaks occur. Check around the base and bolts for small drips.

Caulk Around Base

Once you’ve confirmed no leaks, you can apply a smooth bead of bathroom caulk around the entire toilet base where it meets the floor. This helps seal out moisture and odor. Let the caulk fully dry overnight before using the toilet.

Final Tightening and Cleanup

Lastly, grab your wrench and tighten the mounting bolts and washers snugly against the toilet base. Don’t over tighten. Remove any spilled caulk with a damp rag. The last step is simply tidying up the rest of the bathroom.

After following these key steps, you can successfully move a toilet on your own with proper care and patience. Just employ safe lifting techniques and take your time. With the right preparation, tools, and mindset, relocating a toilet to any room or part of the home is an achievable DIY project.

Tips for Moving a Toilet

  • Clear the path ahead of time from the old location to the new one.
  • Work slowly and get help lifting if needed.
  • Set bowl on cardboard when laying it down to prevent damage.
  • Plug the drain opening to prevent debris falling in.
  • Check for level after setting down – use shims if necessary.
  • Never lay toilet facing down – this can crack the tank.
  • Turn water supply back on gradually to avoid leaks.

Why Move a Toilet?

There are several reasons you may need or want to relocated an existing toilet:

  • Renovating the bathroom – When doing a full remodel, the toilet often needs to be removed for new flooring and re-situated.
  • Replacing the toilet – Old, leaking toilets need to be removed and a new one installed in its place.
  • Deep cleaning – For thorough cleaning underneath and around the toilet base.
  • Clearing floor space – To open up more floor area in a small bathroom.
  • Fixing leaks – To reset the toilet on a new wax ring if leaking from the base.
  • Relocating – To move the toilet to a completely different spot like a main floor or basement.

What You’ll Need to Move a Toilet

  • Adjustable wrench(es)
  • Putty knife
  • Old towel or rag
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • New wax ring
  • Toilet bolts, washers and nuts
  • Teflon tape
  • Caulk and caulking gun

Step-By-Step Guide to Moving a Toilet

Follow these detailed steps when preparing to move a toilet from one spot to another:

1. Turn Off Water Supply – Locate the valve below the tank or behind the bowl. Shut it off clockwise until water stops flowing through.

2. Flush and Empty All Water – Flush to empty the tank then use a small bucket to scoop out remaining water in tank and bowl.

3. Disconnect Supply Line – Use wrench to detach flexible supply line from tank and valve beneath.

4. Remove Mounting Bolts – Loosen nuts then wiggle bolts free. Catch any water in bucket.

5. Lift Toilet and Remove – Rock gently side to side then slowly lift straight up. Carry carefully to new spot.

6. Scrape Off Old Wax Seal – Use putty knife to remove all old wax ring material from flange.

7. Install New Toilet Seal – Firmly set a new wax ring centered over flange hole.

8. Set Toilet and Hand Tighten Bolts – Lower toilet over ring, keeping it level. Hand tighten nuts.

9. Reconnect Supply Line – Attach supply line to tank and valve, gently tighten by hand only.

10. Turn Water On and Test – Check for leaks as tank fills. Tighten any drips before proceeding.

11. Caulk Around Base – Apply smooth bead of caulk between toilet base and floor. Let dry fully before using.

12. Tighten Bolts & Clean Up – Use wrench to tighten mounting bolts snugly. Wipe up spilled caulk.

FAQs About Moving a Toilet

Here are some common questions that arise when tackling a toilet installation or relocation project:

What’s the easiest way to move a toilet?

The easiest method is to lift straight up slowly, keeping the tank and bowl very close together and upright. Move carefully to avoid spills. Always turn off water supply first and empty all water.

How do you move a toilet by yourself?

It’s best to get help, but to move solo, empty the tank and bowl fully first. Use old towels around the base. Tip forward, get a firm grasp around the bowl and slowly walk backwards while lifting. Take breaks as needed.

Does moving a toilet ruin the wax ring?

Yes, you should always replace an old wax ring whenever the toilet is lifted off the floor flange. Old rings often tear and get damaged when removed.

Can I lay a toilet on its side when moving it?

Never lay a toilet down on its side as this risks cracking the tank or bowl. Always keep it upright and close to your body as you lift and carry.

What can I use if I don’t have a wax ring?

In a pinch you can create a seal using plumber’s putty, silicone caulk or an old rubber welcome mat. But wax rings truly create the best, most durable toilet seal.

How do I secure a wobbly toilet when resetting?

If your remounted toilet rocks or wobbles at all, you can shim under the base with plastic or composite shims. Adjust until perfectly stable before final tightening.

What do I do if my floor flange is rusty or damaged?

If the floor flange is corroded or loose, it should be replaced. You can cut away damage with a rotary tool and install a repair flange over the existing one.

How long does it take to move a toilet?

With proper preparation and tools on hand, an experienced DIYer should be able to remove, relocate and reinstall a toilet in 2-3 hours. More time is needed for revisions or repairs.

Can I install my new toilet on a tile floor?

Yes, toilets can be installed over tile as long as the floor flange height matches. You made need to use an extender kit or shims under the toilet if the new floor height differs.


While moving a toilet takes dexterity and patience, it’s a project any motivated homeowner can certainly take on themselves. Following proper protocol for turning off water, removing and resetting the bowl, and creating a quality seal are the keys to success. Take it slow, use the right tools, and don’t be afraid to get a little dirty in the process! Tackling toilet installation provides a great sense of bathroom upgrade accomplishment.