Replacing toilet bolt caps is a relatively straightforward task that can help improve the appearance and function of your toilet. With a few simple tools and steps, you can remove old, corroded caps and install new ones.

What You’ll Need

  • Adjustable wrench or pliers
  • Replacement bolt caps
  • Silicone sealant (optional)

Preparing to Replace the Caps

Before starting, turn off the water supply valve behind the toilet and flush to empty the tank. Have some towels ready to catch any water that may spill.

Make sure you have the right replacement caps on hand that will fit your toilet bolts. Bolt caps come in different sizes and finishes like plastic, brass, or stainless steel. Measure the diameter of your existing caps to ensure the new ones will properly fit.

Removing the Old Toilet Bolt Caps

Start by prying off the old caps with a flat head screwdriver or putty knife. The caps may be stubborn, so work carefully to avoid scratching the porcelain.

If the bolts underneath are very corroded, soak them in vinegar or a bolt loosener product to help break down rust and mineral deposits. Use pliers or locking wrenches to unscrew and remove severely degraded bolts and nuts.

Thoroughly clean the newly exposed bolt threads and nut slots with a wire brush to remove all traces of putty, grime, and rust. Wipe the area completely dry.

Installing the New Caps

First, slide the replacement bolt caps over the cleaned bolts so they rest flush against the bottom of the tank and bowl.

Apply a thin bead of silicone sealant around the gap between the new caps and porcelain. This will help create a watertight seal.

Then tighten the nuts and bolts securely using your adjustable wrench or pliers. Don’t overtighten – just make sure the caps are snugly in place and not wobbly.

Finally, turn the water supply back on and allow the tank to fill. Check for any leaks around the new caps and tighten further if needed. Once the sealant cures, your new bolt caps will help protect your toilet bolts from corrosion.

Tips for Replacing Toilet Bolt Caps

  • Check caps periodically for signs of aging like cracking or loosening and replace proactively before leaks occur.
  • When re-installing bolts and nuts, get good contact between surfaces – don’t just focus on tightening the nut.
  • Always use a quality silicone sealant made for bathrooms to create a waterproof barrier.
  • If installing brass or stainless steel bolt caps, apply a clear enamel coating to protect the finish from tarnishing.
  • Make sure your bolt caps match the other hardware finishes in your bathroom for a coordinated look.

Replacing toilet bolt caps is an easy DIY project that can instantly improve the appearance of your bathroom. With shiny new caps properly sealed, your toilet will look more attractive while staying securely functional.

Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing Toilet Bolt Caps

Q: How do I know if my toilet bolt caps need replacement?

A: Signs that your toilet bolt caps need replacing include visible corrosion, rust stains, loose or wobbly caps, water leaks around the caps, and broken or cracked caps. Replacing them periodically helps maintain a functioning toilet.

Q: What tools do I need to replace toilet bolt caps?

A: You’ll need an adjustable wrench or pliers to loosen the nuts, along with a flat head screwdriver or putty knife to pry off the old caps. Optionally have some vinegar and a wire brush for scrubbing off rust and corrosion.

Q: Do I need to replace the actual bolts too?

A: If the bolts are severely corroded or damaged, it’s best to replace those too. But if they are in fairly good shape, you can just replace the caps over the existing bolts.

Q: How do I stop the new caps from rusting?

A: Clean off all rust and residue from the bolts before installing the new caps. Apply silicone sealant around the caps to prevent water getting in. You can also look for caps with a brushed nickel or stainless steel finish which resist rust.

Q: Should I use Teflon tape or pipe dope on the threads?

A: Neither is necessary – the silicone sealant around the caps will prevent leaks. Using Teflon tape or pipe dope may actually interfere with forming a tight seal.

Q: How can I match new caps to my existing bathroom finishes?

A: Hardware stores sell toilet bolt caps in a variety of finishes like chrome, brass, bronze, nickel, and stainless steel. Check the other finishes in your bathroom and find caps that closely coordinate.

Q: Do I need to hire a plumber for this job?

A: No, replacing toilet bolt caps is a very straightforward DIY project that most homeowners can handle themselves using basic tools and supplies. Only involve a plumber if you have an underlying toilet leak or mounting issues.


Replacing cracked or corroded toilet bolt caps is a quick and easy upgrade that can instantly improve the look of your bathroom. With just a little time and a few tools, you can swap out worn caps for new ones that look fresh and tidy. Be sure to clean and prepare the area thoroughly, use silicone sealant for a watertight seal, and find caps that match your existing hardware. Taken together, these simple steps will have your toilet bolts looking pristine in no time.