DIY Plumbing Success: Your Ultimate Guide to Toilet Replacement Parts

Doing plumbing repairs can seem daunting, but replacing common toilet parts with the proper guidance is relatively straightforward. With a few essential tools and patience, you can successfully replace worn or damaged toilet components and get your toilet working again. Read on for your ultimate DIY guide to the most common toilet replacement parts.

Identifying the Problematic Toilet Component

The first step in any toilet repair project is pinpointing exactly which part needs to be replaced. Here are some of the most common toilet issues and their likely culprits:

Constant Running Water

If your toilet constantly has water running or trickling into the bowl, the likely issue is with the fill valve. This small valve releases water into the tank after you flush it, and if it fails to close fully, it will allow water to enter continuously. A quick replacement of this inexpensive part typically solves the problem.


Leaking toilets are often caused by a bad flapper or fill valve. The flapper is a rubber seal at the bottom of the tank that lifts when you flush, allowing the water to exit into the bowl. If it warped or worn, it may not fully re-seal after flushing, resulting in small leaks. The fill valve can also leak if its seal is compromised. Replacing either part is a relatively easy fix.

Weak Flush

Low water flow or clogs can lead to a weak, ineffective flush. Clogs are usually due to obstructions in the tramway (the toilet’s inner curved plumbing). Replacing the flap or fill valve may help some, but you’ll likely need a plunger, auger, or chemical cleaner to prevent clogs.

Gathering Your Toilet Repair Supplies

Once you’ve diagnosed the issue, gather the necessary replacement parts and tools:

  • Flapper – This inexpensive rubber piece attaches to the flush valve at the bottom of the tank. Make sure to get the correct size and shape for your toilet.
  • Fill valve – Also called the ballcock, this sits in the tank and controls refilling. Pick a compatible height and style.
  • Wax ring – Sitting between the toilet and floor provides a watertight seal. Replace yours if it is leaking at the base.
  • Bolts – These hold the tank and bowl together. Replace severely corroded ones.
  • Plumber’s putty – Used to seal the toilet when setting.
  • Adjustable wrench – Loosen old bolts and nuts.
  • Hack saw – Cut through bolts if necessary.
  • Sponge – Soak up any small spills.
  • Replacement parts kit – Convenient all-in-one kits with common parts are available.

Step-By-Step DIY Toilet Repairs

Now comes the fun part – tackling the actual repairs. Follow these steps:

Turn Off the Water Supply

Locate the shutoff valve behind or near the toilet and turn it clockwise to shut off the water. Flush to empty any remaining water from the tank.

Remove Old Parts

Use your wrench to detach the water line to the fill valve and unscrew the large nut holding the tank to the bowl. Lift off the tank and set it aside. Remove the old flapper, fill valve, bolts, wax ring, etc.

Install New Fill Valve

Place the new fill valve through the tank hole and connect the water supply line. Tighten by hand, then give an extra quarter turn with pliers.

Install New Flapper

Match the style of your old flapper for the best fit. Attach the new one to the flush valve using the existing hole or adjustment screws.

Set Bowl and Attach Tank

Turn the bowl on its side. Coat the bottom opening with the plumber’s putty, set the wax ring in place, lower the bowl over it, and press down firmly—Reattach bolts and nuts to secure the tank.

Caulk Base and Turn on the Water

Caulk around the base of the toilet with the plumber’s putty. Turn the water back on and test for leaks. Give a test flush to ensure proper operation. Enjoy your DIY repair success!

Repairing a toilet on your own may seem complicated. Still, with the proper guidance, toilet parts, and preparation, you can handle replacing standard components like the flapper, fill valve, and bolts. Just take things slow, follow installation instructions, be bold and call a professional plumber if you get stuck. With some patience and elbow grease, you’ll master the art of toilet repair and save yourself some money.

Spread the love