Replacing The Toilet
If the toilet is fitted with an old chrome-plated copper supply tube, consider replacing it with a new flexible one made of stainless steel-enmeshed polymer. It makes the installation a whole lot easier, and it will virtually last forever. We installed a 12-in.-long Fluidmaster supply tube (about $5); other lengths are available ranging from about 8 to 24 in.

Apply a light coating of pipe-joint compound to the fitting at each end of the supply tube, then tighten one end onto the fill-valve shank protruding from the bottom of the toilet tank (step 7).

You're now ready to set the toilet back in place. Grip the bowl near the seat hinges, lift up the toilet and walk it over to the flange. Set the toilet down onto the wax gasket, using the closet bolts as guides. Slip the washers over the bolts and thread on the nuts. However, before tightening them, press down on the rim of the bowl with all your weight to compress the gasket (step 8).

Check to make sure the toilet tank is parallel with the back wall. Alternately tighten each closet bolt until both feel snug. Then, press down on the bowl again and tighten the nuts a little more. Continue in this manner until the nuts no longer feel loose after you press down on the toilet. Again, be careful not to exert too much pressure with the wrench or you'll crack the toilet. Use a hacksaw to cut the closet bolts nearly flush with the nuts (step 9), then snap on the bolt caps.

Your final step is to tighten the loose end of the water-supply tube to the shutoff valve (step 10). Open up the valve and flush the toilet several times. If a leak occurs, press down on the bowl and tighten the nuts a little more. If it isn't leaking, use the toilet for a couple of weeks, then pry off the bolt caps and retighten the nuts. The toilet will often settle after several uses.

The Caulk Question
There's a long-standing debate in the plumbing world over whether you should caulk around the base of a toilet. Most plumbers don't because they're concerned that the caulk would conceal any leaks. However, in some municipalities, the local building code requires homeowners to caulk around the toilet to keep bacteria from growing in the joint.

Check with your building department for the code requirement in your town. If you do decide to caulk, be sure to use a high-quality, mildewproof tub-and-tile caulk.
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