How to Replace a Toilet Flange
Time Required: Under 2 hours
The toilet flange, also known as a closet flange, is the part of the toilet that secures the unit to the floor which connects to the drain pipe. Usually made of PVC, rubber or metal, this piece is circular in shape and usually secured in place with a few bolts. If your flange is loose or deteriorating, it can leak and erode the surrounding flooring, causing significant damage over time. This guide explains how to install a toilet flange on your existing toilet for cleaner and more efficient drainage.
- Toilet flange – Before you purchase the new part, identify the specific type you have. Bring it to a local Home Depot store for help determining if you need a PVC, copper, iron or aluminum replacement toilet flange.
- Toilet flange bolts – Have new bolts on hand in case your existing parts are stripped or rusty.
- Wax ring – This secures the flange to the base of the toilet.
- Wrench – This is needed to unfasten the existing bolts on your toilet and around the flange.
- Screwdriver – Use a multi-bit screwdriver to loosen screws and remove the toilet.
- Putty knife – Use this tool to scrap away lingering wax from the flange seal.
- Start by turning off the water supply to the toilet. The supply knob can be found on the wall behind your unit, closer to the floor.
- Next, drain the toilet by flushing it a few times - until the tank no longer fills with water.
- Disconnect the water supply hose from the toilet, and keep a bucket or towels nearby to catch any lingering water that may escape.
- Lay a tarp or newspaper down to protect your floors.
- Remove the nuts from the mounting bolts that hold the tank onto the bowl with a wrench. There should be one on each side of the tank, and there may also be one in the middle.
- Carefully lift the tank off the bowl and place out of the immediate area, then remove the nuts from the floor bolts with an adjustable wrench.
- The toilet flange will be sealed to the bottom of the bowl with a wax ring. Gently rock it side to side to break this seal.
- Lift the toilet bowl and lay it on its side nearby.
Safety: Have a partner help you lift the toilet bowl.
- Clear the wax ring from the base of the flange by scrapping it away with a putty knife or paint scraper.
Remove the mounting bolts and take off the toilet flange.
- Take the old part to your local Home Depot for a proper replacement match.
Next, install a new wax ring. There are two options this step:
- Option 1: Rest the toilet bowl on its side (place it on a towel or cloth to protect the floor) and attach the replacement wax ring to the bottom of the bowl. This technique helps ensure the ring is in the proper position when placing the toilet over the flange.
- Option 2: Place the wax ring in position on the flange before lowering the bowl into place. The thickness of your floor will dictate the required thickness of the wax ring. If a thicker tile has been installed since the original toilet was placed, you’ll need a thicker wax ring.
- After replacing the wax ring, secure the new toilet flange in place with new mounting bolts and screws.
- Place the toilet bowl atop the new flange, aligning the bolt holes in the base of the bowl with the bolts in the flange. It may help to get a better grip by holding the bowl by the inside rim instead of the outer.
- Lower it down and apply pressure to set the seal. Be careful not to move or tilt the toilet after setting the wax seal on the flange. This could break the seal, which may result in future leaks.
- Replace the washers and nuts on each toilet bowl bolt and evenly tighten the nuts onto the bolts. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts as it may crack the porcelain bowl.
- Replace the toilet tank atop the bowl, and align the shank of the bolts with the holes in the bowl.
- Secure the tank by tightening each tank bolt until the tank pulls down and comes in contact with bowl.
- Reattach the water supply line and test the toilet for leaks by slowly turning on the water shutoff valve, allowing the tank to fill.
- Flush the toilet and keep an eye on the base to make sure there are no leaks.