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How to Install a New Toilet in 1 Hour or Less

Your Step-by-Step Guide!

As Seen On
by Jeff Patterson in Bathroom Plumbing
How to Install a New Toilet

Today we’re going to share how to install a new toilet on a tile floor.

Specifically American Standard’s one-piece Cadet 3…which is an awesome toilet for small bathrooms.

Why should you learn to do this project?

Well, for one it’ll save you a ton of money.

Second, it’s good to know how a toilet works.

When there’s a leak you’ll have the ability to fix it and save even more money!!!

Let’s dive in and see how to replace a toilet on a tiled bathroom floor, we have a ton of great tips.


Here are the supplies you need for installing a new toilet:

Many thanks to American Standard for working with us on this tutorial.

They sent us the Cadet 3 because it’s part of a video series we did showing how to remodel a small bathroom.

Our last video showed how to do a shower valve replacement. And the one prior to that detailed how to install a new bathtub.

Watch our video for the complete step-by-step instructions…


How to Install a New Toilet…What’s the First Step?

At the beginning of the our video Steve discusses the toilet flange.

This is by far one of the most important parts to the a new toilet installation.

Here’s the deal:

If the toilet flange sits below the finished floor, the toilet will leak.


It’s simple, the watertight seal between the toilet bowl and wax ring will eventually fail.

In order for this not to happen the toilet flange must sit above the finished floor by at least 1/4″.

Steve used an Oatey 4″ replacement toilet flange for cast iron pipes. But you can also do a toilet flange repair using flange extender rings.

How to tighten a replacement toilet flange

This flange uses a rubber compression gasket which enables the flange to be used on many types of cast-iron piping.

The 3 stainless-steel bolts are tightened to compress the rubber gasket to secure the flange to the existing pipe.

In addition, the compression joint allows up to 3″ of adjustment.

This replacement flange is for broken flanges or flanges that sit below the finished tile floor. They’re super easy to install.

Once the flange is fixed the next step is to replace the toilet.

Does the wax ring on the flange or bottom of the toilet bowl??


How to Install a New Toilet on a Toilet Flange

Let’s answer the wax ring question:

Always place the wax ring on the closet flange.

How to add a wax ring

This helps eliminate the possibility of the ring falling off the bottom of the toilet bowl.

Before you buy a new toilet, get the rough-in measurement.

Why does this matter?

First, the rough-in is the distance between the closet flange bolts and finished wall.

In our case that distances was 12″.

Measuring for rough-in

That’s why you see the closet flange bolts positioned at that 12″ mark. We secured them to the closet flange using nuts and washers.

Once the wax ring and closet flange bolts are in place, the toilet can be lowered onto the closet flange.

Lower Toilet

Align the holes in the toilet with the closet flange bolts and slowly lower it until the bowl meets the wax ring.

Then compress the toilet against the wax ring to make a good watertight seal.

Add the plastic washers first, then metal washers, and finally the nuts to the closet flange bolts.

Tighten closet flange nuts

Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

This is super important:

Do not over-tighten the nuts because this could crack the bowl.

Tighten the nuts just enough to keep the toilet from moving.

If the tile floor isn’t flat, the toilet bowl might have to be shimmed. We cover this in a different toilet installation tutorial…just in case you’re interested.

The next step is to get the water hooked up to the toilet.

What kind of water supply should be used?


Supply Line Hookups and Setting the Water Level

Let’s answer the last question:

steel braided supply lines are the best.

They don’t leak (if installed right) and don’t look cheesy like those nasty plastic ones.

Choose a supply line that will fit the shut-off valve. Typically this is 3/8″.

Hand tighten the supply line to the toilet tank’s fill valve.

Adding steel supply line to fill valve

And do the same for the shut-off valve connection. Then tighten that nut 1/4 to 1/2 turn using either a crescent wrench or pliers.

Tightening supply line to shut off

Here’s a PRO TIP: 

The crescent wrench won’t scratch the nut’s finish.

I forgot to add this tip to the video, oops.

Turn the shut-off valve to the on position and watch the water fill up the tank.

Check for any leaks at the plumbing connections and ensure the toilet tank water level is roughly 3/4″ to 1″ below the overflow pipe.

Check water tank level

The nice thing about one-piece toilets is there are no leak points at the tank to bowl connection.

That said, we have a great tutorial on how to install a two-piece American Standard toilet.

Trim closet flange bolts using linesman pliers.

Trim closet flange bolts with linesman pliers

Then add the self-closing toilet seat…which is super easy.

Place the rubber gaskets on the seat’s hinges, then the metal washers (Steve explains which ones to use in the video), and secure the seat to the bowl with the plastic nuts & washers.

Add self-closing toilet seat

This new toilet took about 1 hour to install. And it looks pretty darn good with the bathroom’s tiled walls and floor.

American Standard Cadet 3


What’s Next

Many toilet installations involve replacing the shut-off valve and fixing the closet flange.

We made a quick tutorial on shut-off valves that might come in handy.  And if you’d like to see a different way to repair old closet flanges we have some tips on that, too.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and want to simplify the process enroll into the Bathroom Repair Tutor Video Library

We show how to build showers (Schluter, Wedi, Curbless, etc.), install tile, upgrade basement bathrooms, and more.

The extra guidance is invaluable

Enroll Today



Jeff Patterson





  1. Anyone says:

    Your mom requested the self closing seat or are you a son who listens?

    1. Lol, I listen but this toilet wasn’t for my Mom and Dad. We installed it in another house.

  2. Meenal says:

    Wow, that was a great install video and the tile in the toilet is very pretty and clean looking. Thanks for making this video.

    1. Thanks Meenal, that one-piece toilet is great. The nice part is there’s no leak point at the bowl and tank, which can be a problem with two-piece toilets. Plus it’s very quick to install!! Hope the tutorial helped.

  3. Ralph says:

    Thank you for sharing! What a lovely article and the photos are amazing too! I love how you put together these information. Easy to read, very relatable and great tips! Can’t wait to read more!

  4. Sinclair says:

    Jeff, just a note going forward. There is no such thing as a Cresent wrench. Its an adjustable wrench. Cresent is a brand name. Don’t want to confuse the non DIYers. Its like sending them to the hardware store for a left hand paint brush.
    With that said, keep up the good work.

  5. Squafdonoboles says:

    Unfortunately there is no shut-off valve on my toilet. I would have to shut off the water from the main source.

  6. Dennis says:

    I just replaced two toilets using the Cadet 3 one piece toilet and they are fantastic and very easy to do. Your guide is right on target so thank you two for the info. Great video like usual.

  7. Dennis says:

    You can install a SharkBite valve so fast and its in for good. I think its half inch pipe.

  8. Craig says:

    I’m installing a new toilet on new tile flooring. Am I to use a bathroom adhesive silicone sealant to the outer perimeter of the bottom of the toilet bowl before lowering onto the wax ring and bolting it down? Please reply ASAP as I’m waiting for your answer.
    Thank you

  9. Glenn Stewart says:

    Because you ‘snug’ the hold down nuts… the toilet installations I see as a home inspector… are all caulked around the toilet base and floor… to ensure that over time, the toilet won’t become loose and leak at the seal

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