One of the common signs of a bad toilet flange is water at the bottom of the toilet. A toilet flange is quite challenging to replace, unlike other toilet parts. This is because it’s at the base of the toilet, meaning you will have to dismantle the whole toilet to replace it.
The toilet flange is a device that attaches the toilet to the floor. The toilet flange links the base of the toilet to the drainpipe on the floor of the bathroom. The flange is circular, and it’s where the wax ring sits. Some people refer to it as a closet flange. As stated earlier, removing or replacing a toilet flange is quite challenging. But when you manage to remove the toilet, the rest of the work is easy.
How to Replace a Toilet Flange?
If water is leaking around the base of the toilet, then you need to check the toilet Flange. Also, if the toilet rocks back and forth while used, the flange is probably broken. With the right tools and procedure, you won’t have to call the plumber as the process is super easy. But in some scenarios, you may have to contact a professional plumber. Additionally, make sure to get the right toilet plunger before replacing the damaged one. Here’s the procedure for replacing a toilet flange:
- 1 How to Replace a Toilet Flange?
- 1.1 Step 1: Gather the right tools
- 1.2 Step 2: Turn off the water supply
- 1.3 Step 3: Flush the toilet.
- 1.4 Step 4: Remove the nuts
- 1.5 Step 5: Remove the toilet and put it aside.
- 1.6 Step 6: Close the outflow pipe with a cloth
- 1.7 Step 7: Clean and inspect the flange
- 1.8 Step 8: Unscrew and remove the flange
- 1.9 Step 9: Acquire the right toilet flange.
- 1.10 Step 10: Install a new flange and wax ring
- 1.11 Step 11: Re-install the toilet.
- 1.12 Step 12: Test the toilet.
- 1.13 Final thoughts
Step 1: Gather the right tools
If you’re preparing to remove an old or damaged flange, you will need some tools to help you execute the repair of the toilet. These include an adjustable wrench, rubber gloves, an old rag, a multi-head screwdriver, a nose & mouth mask, measuring tape, a putty knife, newspapers, a hacksaw, and the right bolts and screws for fixing a flange.
Step 2: Turn off the water supply
When you have all the tools mentioned above, you can go ahead and replace the flange. You will start by turning off the water supply to the toilet. The toilet’s shut-off valve is usually located behind the toilet from the floor or the wall behind. Turn the shut-off valve clockwise to stop the water and disconnect the water supply hose.
Step 3: Flush the toilet.
Now that the water supply line is off, you should flush the toilet to get rid of the water in the tank and bowl. Repeat the flush so that more water goes down the drain. Use a sponge, towel, or vacuum to eliminate all the remaining water in the bowl and tank. This will ensure that you work in a dry environment as the water can splash from the tank while you’re moving it.
Step 4: Remove the nuts
Since you’ve disconnected the water supply line, supply hose, and tank, it’s now time to remove the toilet seat and bowl. To execute this, you will have to remove the nuts holding the toilet to the ground. Most toilets usually have two nuts – one on the left and the other on the right side. Some feature plastic caps that you should remove before unscrewing the bolts. If the bolts are difficult to remove, you can use a hacksaw to cut them off.
Step 5: Remove the toilet and put it aside.
Depending on the type of toilet, you may carefully lift it alone or ask for help. Put newspapers or rags where you’re going to place the toilet. Lift the toilet gently from its place and put it on the newspapers. Make sure you lift the toilet straight until it’s clear of the two bolts. Some water may trickle down as you lift the toilet; hence, you should have a rag ready to tidy the area.
Step 6: Close the outflow pipe with a cloth
After lifting the toilet off its base, you should close the sewer hole/outflow pipe to avoid a foul smell from filling your bathroom. Use a large enough cloth or rag to close the hole. Don’t wait to remove the old flange before you close the hole, as the odor in the bathroom will become unbearable.
Step 7: Clean and inspect the flange
The next step is to monitor and clean the toilet flange. Start by removing the old wax ring using a putty knife. You will find the wax ring on top of the toilet flange, and it secures the link between the flange and the toilet base. You may come across a worn-out and deformed wax ring. Also, it will be sticky as you remove it. Wipe your knife as you continue removing the worn-out wax ring.
If the flange is in a bad state, remove it and throw it away. But if it’s in a good state, wipe the wax ring off, clean it, and insert a new wax ring into the toilet before re-installing it.
Step 8: Unscrew and remove the flange
However, if the wax ring is in a terrible state, get rid of it. Unscrew the bolts that hold the toilet flange on the floor. They usually are four in total. Turn them counterclockwise with the help of a screwdriver to remove them. Even though the new toilet flange comes with its screws, you should keep the old screws as a spare just if you need them.
Remove the flange and place it on a newspaper or rag before disposing of it later. Toilet flanges are usually made out of PVC and sealed with a gasket. Unlike toilet flanges made out of PVC, these are easy to remove but affixed to a PVC outflow pipe or cast iron flange integrated into the cast iron outflow pipe. If your flange is made of the last two types, then you should get in touch with a plumber to help you fix the flange.
Related article: How to solve common toilet issues?
Step 9: Acquire the right toilet flange.
Now it is time to replace the faulty toilet flange. One common mistake that people make is buying the wrong toilet flange size. Since there are different types and dimensions of toilet flanges, purchasing the right one is vital. Most toilet flange measures 4 inches in diameter. However, it’s crucial to find out the correct flange for your toilet by measuring your old flange. If it’s possible, you can take the old flange with you so that you can have the right replacement. You can find the required toilet flange size in the local hardware store.
Step 10: Install a new flange and wax ring
Some toilet flange manufacturers offer a new flange together with a new wax ring. But if your flange doesn’t have a new wax ring, you should buy one. Install the flange and then the wax ring. Ensure that the bolts and screws are tightened in place so that the toilet doesn’t shift when installed.
Step 11: Re-install the toilet.
After installing the flange and setting the wax ring on the toilet, remove the rag or cloth in the outflow pipe. Next, re-install the toilet. Do this with precaution as you don’t want to drop the toilet. Tighten the nuts with your hands before securing them with a wrench as overtightening the nuts may crack the toilet. Then adjust the water level properly in the bowl. Make sure the toilet is set straight down on the flange. Once the toilet is in position, apply some pressure near the back of the bowl rim to deform the wax and form an excellent Wax seal.
Finally, tighten the bolts on the base of the toilet and reconnect the water supply. Open the flush valve and allow the toilet tank to fill up.
Step 12: Test the toilet.
After filling up the toilet, test and see whether the toilet is working great or not. There shouldn’t be water leakage on the bathroom floor. Fix the water leakage if it leaks water. Your job is done, and there is no need to replace the toilet. You can now enjoy your toilet and bathroom without any worry.
Toilet flange replacement is a lengthy process. After going through our step-by-step guide on how to replace your toilet flange, you can go ahead and repair your leaking toilet for a healthy environment. As advised, if you find that the flange is stuck and difficult to remove from the drainpipe on the bathroom floor, contact a plumber to help you out. Overall, replacing a toilet flange isn’t tricky as long as you have the right tools.
Still, have questions after reading this How to Replace a Toilet Flange article? Comment below.
Hi, this is Robert Crossan, the owner of this website, has 17 years of experience in the installation, maintenance, and repair of toilets and plumbing systems. After completing the Level 2 Basic Plumbing course in 2005, I started working in both domestic and commercial buildings as a professional plumber. So I can figure out the core difference between different toilet models and brands. It also helped me monitor their work performance and setbacks.