How to Replace a Toilet Flange

completely repaired toilet

Before we tell you how to replace a toilet flange, we must be sure that you have properly identified the problem. It's a lot of work, and you don't want to start the project if it's not necessary. Just to be safe, let's make sure we're dealing with a broken toilet flange. First, let's begin with the basics.

What Is a Toilet Flange?

Also referred to as a closet flange, this part connects the toilet to the drainpipe with a wax ring seal. Just because there is an issue with your flange doesn't necessarily mean you need to replace it. It can be reinforced with a closet ring.

Do I Need to Replace the Closet Flange?

If water is leaking from your toilet base, then I have bad news for might need to replace the flange. The good news is this part is affordable but is it's not a fun job to perform. You can catch this issue before it becomes a leak. Be on the lookout for poor anchoring (the bolts may be bent or may have stripped out the slot). Check to see if the toilet rocks. Look for any sign that you have an offset toilet flange.

If the toilet is rocking, then it will eventually lead to a break in the seal. The seal is made of wax and is designed to mold into place and fill any uneven surfaces. If your toilet is rocking and/or moving, it will smash the beeswax, making it thinner and thinner until it no longer functions as designed. This is a serious problem because often toilets leak slowly enough that it goes unnoticed underneath the flooring causing structural damage before you are aware it's there. Once the sub-flooring gets waterlogged, it will swell and begin to flake apart, but because it is usually covered with tile or linoleum, all the damage goes unseen. Though water around your toilet could mean you need a new flange, more often than not, it will be the supply lines or shut off valves and not the flange. Here is how you should be navigating through this decision:

  • If the toilet does not rock and there is no leak, then it's a safe bet that you don't need to replace the flange.
  • If it does rock, then you need to fix an offset flange. If it doesn't rock much, but there is a leak that appears to be coming from the flange, then you still need to take action. Before you replace the flange, try tightening the bolts (be careful not to tighten too much and crack the bowl). If that doesn't do the trick, proceed with removing the toilet flange.

Replace a Toilet Flange in 10 Steps

completely repaired toilet
  1. The first step is always: shut off the water supply.
  2. Unhook the toilet supply line.
  3. Remove all the water in the toilet by flushing it as needed. Follow up with a sponge to gather any remaining water.
  4. Remove the nuts securing the toilet to the floor, and remove the toilet.
  5. Take out the screws securing the flange to the floor, and remove the wax from the seal. You may come across a flange that has been glued into place. Watch this helpful Legacy handyman video for tips on removal and also connecting the new PVC flange with primer and cement, if that's the route you want to go.
  6. Replace the toilet flange by securing it with floor bolts while the toilet bolts are in place and facing upward. 
  7. Place the new wax ring underneath your toilet.
  8. Place the toilet over the drain pipe and flange by aligning the bolts to the holes in the toilet base. Press down all around for a firm and even fit.
  9. Secure the fit by fastening nuts to the bolts. Once again, be careful about tightening so much that you damage the bowl.
  10. Connect the supply line, and you're back in business.

Thanks for Stopping By

Hopefully, this guide on how to replace a toilet flange will prove helpful with your plumbing project. Please give us feedback. Thanks for visiting PlumbersStock, and please share your project with us on social media. If you want to update your toilet seat, tank, etc., we have plenty of deals.

Related Resources:
Fixing a Toilet Tank Leak
How to Measure a Toilet Rough-In
How to Replace Toilet Water Supply Line
Learn to Replace a Toilet Handle
Toilet Seat Replacement Tutorial

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