Project Guide

How to Replace a Toilet Flange

1
Gather Tools and Materials
tools and materials required to replace a toilet flange
  • 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.
2
Flush and Empty the Toilet
overhead shot of an open toilet tank
  • 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.
3
Remove the Toilet
person removing a toilet from the floor
  • 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.

4
Remove the Toilet Flange
bathroom floor showing a recently removed toilet flange
  • 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.
5
Install the New Toilet Flange
bathroom floor showing a newly installed toilet flange

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.
6
Replace the Toilet
bathroom showing a toilet, vanity and bath decor
  • 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.