How to Replace Toilet Bolt Caps

Replacing toilet bolt caps is a relatively simple DIY project that can give your toilet a facelift and help stop leaks. Here is a step-by-step guide to replacing toilet bolt caps yourself.

Introduction to Replacing Toilet Bolt Caps

The bolts on the base of your toilet hold the tank to the bowl. These bolts are usually covered by plastic caps that can crack or go missing over time. Replacing these caps updates the look of your toilet and prevents water from getting into the bolt area and causing leaks or rust.

Toilet bolt caps come in different shapes, sizes, and designs. The most common are round caps that fit over the circular part of the bolt. You can find chrome, brass, or plastic caps to match your bathroom decor.

Replacing the caps is an easy project anyone can tackle in about 10-15 minutes. All you need are a few tools and new toilet bolt caps.

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Toilet Bolt Caps

Follow these steps to successfully replace your toilet bolt caps:

Supplies Needed

  • New toilet bolt caps (round or decorative style)
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Rag
  • Sealant (optional)

Prep Work

Start by gathering all your supplies and turning off the water supply valve behind the toilet. Flush the toilet to empty the tank.

Use a rag to soak up any remaining water in the tank or bowl. This helps prevent spills when you remove the caps.

Remove the Old Toilet Bolt Caps

Use the putty knife to gently pry the old caps off the bolts. Take care not to damage the bolt threads.

If the caps won’t budge, try using the wrench to loosen the nuts under the tank a bit to wiggle them free.

Remove any old putty or gasket material from the bolt holes with the putty knife. Wipe the bolts clean with a rag.

Install the New Toilet Bolt Caps

Place the new caps over the exposed bolts. Press them firmly into place by hand.

You may need to use the wrench to tighten the nuts under the tank further to secure the caps tightly.

If the caps feel loose, apply a small amount of sealant around the base before attaching them.

Make sure both caps are aligned evenly before moving on.

Reconnect the Water Supply

With the new caps installed, turn the water supply back on and let the tank refill.

Check for any leaks around the new caps. Tighten as needed to stop leaks.

Flush the toilet a few times to ensure it is functioning properly.

Tips for Replacing Toilet Bolt Caps

  • Take photos before removing the old caps to reference the toilet’s original setup if needed.
  • Consider replacing the bolts themselves if they are very rusty or damaged.
  • Clean the toilet tank and bowl while you have them exposed for best results.
  • Be gentle when prying off old caps to avoid cracking the porcelain.
  • Confirm the new caps are the right size for your toilet before starting.
  • Apply a thin layer of bathroom caulk around the caps for a more watertight seal.
  • Make sure caps are fully tightened after the tank refills to prevent loosening over time.

Replacing toilet bolt caps upgrades your bathroom’s appearance while also preventing leaks and damage from occurring. With the right supplies and these step-by-step instructions, you can tackle this easy toilet repair yourself in just a few minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing Toilet Bolt Caps

How do I know if I need new toilet bolt caps?

Signs you need to replace your toilet bolt caps include cracking, warping, rust, peeling chrome, water leaking around the bolts, or if they are simply missing. Worn out caps should be replaced to improve aesthetics and prevent leaks.

Where can I buy replacement toilet bolt caps?

You can purchase new toilet bolt caps at hardware stores, home improvement stores, online retailers, or from a plumbing supply company. They are inexpensive and widely available. Make sure to get the right shape and size for your toilet model.

What size toilet bolt caps do I need?

Standard round toilet bolt caps are available in different diameters, commonly 1-1/2 inches or 2-3/8 inches. Measure across the widest part of your exposed toilet bolts to determine the right replacement cap size. Decorative and specialty caps may come in unique sizes.

Should I replace my toilet bolts when installing new caps?

If your existing bolts are in good condition with no rust or damage, you can simply replace the caps over them. However, heavily corroded or degraded bolts are best fully replaced with new bolts and caps at the same time.

How do I remove stuck on toilet bolt caps?

Try using a putty knife to get under the edge of stuck caps and gently pry them up. You can also try loosening the nuts under the tank to loosen frozen caps. If they won’t budge, cut the caps off with a hacksaw blade or use bolt cutters as a last resort.

Will new caps stop my toilet tank from leaking?

Replacing worn, missing, or cracked bolt caps can eliminate leaks around the bolts. However, if the toilet gaskets or washers are damaged, replacing the caps alone may not solve the problem. Inspector other tank components for issues if leaks continue after installing new caps.

Replacing leaky, corroded, or missing toilet bolt caps with new ones can dramatically improve the appearance of your toilet while preventing water damage and rust. This easy DIY toilet repair can be completed in just a few minutes with basic tools.


Replacing toilet bolt caps brings a fresh new look to your bathroom decor. This simple fix only takes about 15 minutes to complete with basic tools and new caps.

Follow the steps to remove old caps, clean bolts, attach new caps, and test for leaks. Consider replacing bolts that are very corroded while you have the tank exposed.

New caps prevent water seepage, rust buildup, and other toilet tank issues caused by damaged bolt covers. Completed properly, this easy DIY project can extend the life of your toilet and improve its appearance.

With the right information and preparation, you can tackle toilet bolt cap replacement yourself quickly and economically.