New Kohler Portrait toilet. Bath Remodel:

Assembling And Installing
A New Toilet

In This Article:

A wax bowl ring is applied to the new toilet bowl, the bowl set in place, and then the tank is attached and leveled.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 2 (Basic) Time Taken: About An Hour

By , Editor

Toilet flange before mounting toilet. The starting point of this project is the toilet flange. This flange is new and clean. If there had previously been a toilet installed on the flange, there would be the remains of the old wax bowl ring, which must be scraped off.


I unpacked the toilet parts to inspect them. I placed the porcelain parts on towels or the foam packaging, to prevent chipping the enamel.

Toilets typically come in two boxes, the tank being sold separately from the bowl.

Toilet components before assembly.


I set the parts in place, just to be sure everything fit as intended. Whew, for once something went according to plan.


The wax bowl ring. This is an old-fashioned product that is still used, with only a few minor improvements. I prefer the wax bowl rings with the plastic flange, they seem less prone to trouble. 

All the wax bowl ring does is seal the porcelain toilet to the flange. But if the toilet ever moves, the seal almost surely becomes broken, and sewer gases can escape or water can leak out (and it's not clean water!). Sometimes the leak cannot be detected because the water drips down. This can cause rotted floor structure and damage to ceilings in rooms below.

The bowl was turned upside down and the wax bowl ring pressed in place. The red pieces are strips of rubber shim stock, held in place with masking tape. These shims provide needed friction between the toilet and floor, to prevent the toilet from moving. (Marble tile and porcelain have very little friction between them.)

My experience with toilets on tile floors is that they need some additional help to keep them from swiveling and developing a leak. In the hotel maintenance business I had often used these rubber strips to solve that problem, and to keep toilets from rocking on uneven floors.

The flange bolts (I call them Johnny Bolts, which might be a brand name) were slipped into the notches in the flange.


The plastic keeper was installed to hold the position.


I like to use a couple of screwdrivers to indicate the position of the bolts, because it's hard to see them through the little holes in the toilet base.


I carefully set the bowl on the flange, and then pushed down gently. The easiest way is to just sit on it.


I installed the plastic cover clip, the washer, and the brass nut. Tightening carefully is very important. Each side must be tightened a little at a time. Excessive force can break the flange (I've done that on solid PVC and on cast iron... d-oohhh), or it could even break the toilet base (never done that... luckily!)


Tank Commander:

This is what the bottom of a typical toilet tank looks like, before it is attached to the bowl. The triangular black piece is a rubber gasket that seals the tank to the bowl.


The tank was simply set on the bowl and brass screws were inserted in the three holes. 


A washer and nut were installed on the end of each screw. As the screws were tightened they flattened out the gasket and sealed the holes in the tank.


I used a socket and a ratchet wrench to tighten each nut, and a big flat blade screwdriver to hold the screw.


While tightening the three screws, the tank must be made level.


The inside of the tank. The fill valve looks familiar.

Given all the controversy surrounding these new 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilets, I was surprised to see such a conventional mechanism.


Interesting... Kohler uses fill valves made by Fluidmaster.

I have used this same Fluidmaster product to replace numerous defective fill valves of other designs. If Kohler is willing to stake their reputation on this valve, then it must be good.


Only two steps remain. One is to connect the water supply, at lower left, to the toilet's inlet (gray fitting on bottom of tank).


The last step I did was to apply a bead of silicone caulk around the base of the toilet. This helps to hold the toilet in place, and a secure toilet is less likely to experience a leaking the wax bowl ring. However, I always omit caulk at the back side. If the wax bowl ring ever leaks, water will have a chance to leak out the back and alert someone of a problem. If the toilet base was completely sealed to the floor, a leak will only show up by dripping below the floor level. That is a bad idea.


View the Connection Of The Water Supply Line.


Tools Used:

  • Small Wrench
  • Socket Set
  • Large Flat Screwdriver
  • Level

Materials Used:

  • Toilet Bowl
  • Toilet Tank
  • Toilet Flange Bolts (Johnny Bolts)
  • Kitchen/Bath Silicone

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Copyright 2000, 2005

Written August 27, 2000
Revised January 3, 2005