Can I replace my toilet with a different model without changing the plumbing?

Absolutely! Modern Day Plumbing makes it easier to swap out toilets without redoing the plumbing. As long as your new toilet has the same rough-in size (that’s the distance between the wall and the center of the drain), you should be good to go. This means you can upgrade to a more efficient or stylish toilet without the hassle of altering your plumbing system. Just make sure to measure your current setup and match it with the specifications of the new toilet you’re eyeing.

Understanding the Basics

Understanding the Basics of plumbing also encompasses fixture services like replacing and repairing toilets. Replacing a toilet involves disconnecting the water supply, removing the old toilet, installing the new one, and reconnecting the water supply. Repairing a toilet may include fixing leaks, replacing components like the fill valve or flush valve, and addressing flushing issues. Professional plumbing services can handle these tasks effectively, ensuring your fixtures function smoothly and efficiently.

Let’s start with the basics so we’re all on the same page.

What’s a Rough-In Size?

Imagine you’re looking at your toilet from the side. The rough-in size is the distance between the wall behind the toilet and the center of the drainpipe or the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. It’s like the toilet’s personal space from the wall.

Modern Plumbing Magic

Unlike the old days where changing a toilet meant plumbing gymnastics, modern plumbing has made life easier. Newer toilets are designed to fit standard rough-in sizes, making replacements a breeze.

Step 1: Measure Your Rough-In Size

Grab a tape measure and let’s get measuring:

Remove the Tank Lid: 

Carefully lift off the lid of your toilet tank and set it aside.

Measure from the Wall: 

Place one end of the tape measure against the wall behind the toilet.

Find the Center: 

Measure to the center of the drainpipe or to the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor.

Note the Measurement: Write down the distance you measured. This is your rough-in size.

Step 2: Choose Your New Toilet

When choosing your new toilet, consider not just its style and features but also the availability of replacing and repairing toilet services. Opt for a toilet model that is easy to maintain and has readily accessible replacement parts. Additionally, ensure that professional plumbing services are available for any future repairs or upgrades. This proactive approach can save you time and hassle down the line, ensuring your toilet remains in top-notch condition.

Now that you have your rough-in size, it’s time to pick a new toilet. Here are some things to consider:

Matching Rough-In Size: 

Look for a toilet with the same rough-in size as your measurement. This ensures a perfect fit without messing with your plumbing.

Style and Features: 

Consider the style, color, and features you want. Do you prefer a traditional or modern look? Are water-saving features important to you?


Set a budget that works for you. Remember, you don’t have to break the bank for a quality toilet.

Step 3: Prepare for Installation

Before you start swapping toilets, gather your tools and supplies:

Tools Needed:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Plumber’s putty (if required)
  • Wax ring kit
  • Level


  • New toilet
  • Toilet seat (if not included with the toilet)
  • Toilet bolts (if not included with the toilet)

Step 4: Remove the Old Toilet

It’s time to bid farewell to your old faithful toilet. Here’s how:

Turn Off the Water: 

Locate the shut-off valve near the base of your toilet and turn it clockwise to shut off the water supply.

Flush and Drain: 

Flush the toilet to drain most of the water from the tank and bowl. Use a plunger or sponge to remove any remaining water in the bowl and tank.

Disconnect the Water Supply: 

Disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the tank using an adjustable wrench.

Remove the Tank: 

Unscrew the bolts securing the tank to the bowl and carefully lift off the tank. Set it aside.

Remove the Bowl: 

Unscrew the nuts on the bolts at the base of the toilet. Gently rock the bowl from side to side to loosen it, then lift it off and set it aside.

Clean Up: 

Scrape off any old wax or debris from the flange (the pipe in the floor where the toilet connects).

Step 5: Install the New Toilet

Installing the new toilet marks a significant step in the evolution of toilet design, ranging from traditional to contemporary styles. Ensure the toilet’s design complements your bathroom aesthetic while offering modern features like water-saving mechanisms or ergonomic shapes for comfort. Professional installation services can ensure the toilet is securely fitted, maximizing its functionality and longevity. Embracing the evolution of toilet design enhances both the visual appeal and efficiency of your bathroom space.

Now comes the exciting part – installing your brand-new toilet:

Position the New Toilet: 

Carefully place the new toilet bowl over the flange, ensuring the bolts line up with the holes in the base of the bowl.

Secure the Toilet: 

Place a new wax ring over the flange to create a watertight seal. Gently press down on the toilet bowl to compress the wax ring.

Attach the Bolts: 

Insert new bolts into the flange slots and secure them with washers and nuts. Use a level to ensure the toilet is sitting evenly.

Install the Tank: 

If your toilet has a separate tank, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach it to the bowl securely.

Connect the Water Supply: 

Reconnect the water supply line to the bottom of the tank and turn on the shut-off valve to refill the tank.

Check for Leaks: 

Flush the toilet a few times and check for any leaks around the base and connections. Tighten as needed to stop any leaks.

Install the Seat: 

If your new toilet didn’t come with a seat, install a compatible toilet seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 6: Test and Enjoy

Once everything is installed and leak-free, it’s time for the moment of truth:

Test the Flush: 

Give your new toilet a test flush to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Check for Stability: 

Sit on the toilet to check for stability and make sure it doesn’t rock or wobble.

Clean Up: 

Clean up any excess putty, wax, or debris around the base of the toilet for a polished finish.

Enjoy Your Upgraded Toilet: 

Congratulations, you’ve successfully replaced your toilet without touching the plumbing! Now you can enjoy your upgraded bathroom experience.


Can you replace a toilet with any toilet?

No, you can’t replace a toilet with just any toilet. The new toilet must have the same rough-in size as the existing one to ensure it fits properly without the need for major plumbing changes. Additionally, factors like water supply line compatibility and local building codes may also influence your choice of replacement toilet.

What is the alternative to a plumbed in toilet?

An alternative to a plumbed-in toilet is a composting toilet or a portable toilet. Composting toilets break down waste into compost that can be safely disposed of, making them eco-friendly and suitable for off-grid living. Portable toilets, on the other hand, are convenient for temporary use in places without permanent plumbing connections, such as outdoor events or construction sites.

How far can you move a toilet without changing plumbing?

You can usually move a toilet up to about 3 inches horizontally or 6 inches vertically without changing the plumbing. Beyond that, you may need to modify the plumbing to accommodate the new toilet position. Always consult a professional plumber for guidance on such adjustments to ensure proper installation and compliance with building codes.

What can never be reused when replacing a toilet?

When replacing a toilet, the wax ring that seals the toilet to the floor cannot be reused as it gets compressed during installation. Additionally, the toilet bolts and nuts may need to be replaced if they are damaged or corroded. Lastly, if you’re upgrading to a new toilet seat, the old seat typically cannot be reused due to hygiene and compatibility reasons.

What is the difference between old and new toilets?

Old toilets typically use more water per flush compared to new toilets, which are designed with water-saving features like dual-flush options or low-flow mechanisms. New toilets also often incorporate improved flushing technology for better performance and efficiency, contributing to water conservation and lower utility bills. Additionally, modern toilets may have sleeker designs, enhanced comfort features, and easier-to-clean surfaces compared to older models.


In conclusion, replacing your toilet with a different model without changing the plumbing is not only possible but also relatively straightforward. By understanding your toilet’s rough-in size, choosing a compatible new toilet, preparing for installation, removing the old toilet carefully, installing the new one correctly, and testing everything afterward, you can complete this project with ease.

Modern plumbing advancements have made such upgrades hassle-free, allowing you to enjoy a refreshed bathroom without major renovations. Just remember to measure accurately, gather the right tools and supplies, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and check for leaks or stability issues before fully embracing your upgraded toilet.

With these steps and precautions in mind, you can confidently embark on your toilet replacement journey and transform your bathroom space into a more stylish and functional environment. Happy upgrading!

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