If you found us by searching “how to replace toilet flange,” you may be experiencing a leaky toilet or less-than-desirable smells in your bathroom. Toilet flanges are a common household item that’s often neglected and overlooked over time. Luckily, they’re fairly easy to replace.
Your toilet flange is a small, circular pipe fitting that allows your toilet to pass blackwater between your toilet and your plumbing system. Regardless of whether or not you use public utilities, a septic tank, or otherwise, each toilet in the home needs a watertight and effective toilet flange. If you find your toilet leaks between the floor and the bottom of the toilet. It’s highly likely that the toilet flange is to blame.
How To Replace Toilet Flange: A Step-By-Step Guide
Luckily, replacing a toilet flange isn’t very difficult. And even those who have never repaired a toilet before. Should be able to get through the process without any incident. If you’re looking for how to replace your toilet flange, you’ve come to the right place.
To get started, you will need:
- A replacement toilet flange
- A replacement wax ring
- Tongue-and-groove pliers
- A plastic bag
- Rubber gloves
- An extra pair of hands (optional)
Here’s A Helpful Video from YouTube to Get You Started
There are several dozen varieties of toilets across both the nation and the world. But chances are, your home toilet will have a few components we’ll need to note.
Step 1. Locate The Bolt
Each toilet is bolted to the floor or the back wall. The most common locations for these bolts will be on the left and the right side of the toilet. And each will be covered with a white topper. Locate these bolts and set your tongue-and-groove pliers to the appropriate setting now. To avoid dealing with the issue when smells become more of a problem.
Step 2. Locate The Water Supply
The other component we’ll need to take note of is the water supply. This will often extend outward from the bottom of the tank, on the side that your handle is on, and will connect to either the ground or the wall. You will also find a simple valve that will turn the water supply to the toilet on or off.
This value is the first and most crucial step.
Turn the valve towards the listed direction and cut off all water supply to the toilet. Next, flush the toilet several times until there’s nothing left inside of the tank, or the bowl. If you need to, you can also use a wet and dry vacuum to get out that residual water. The drier the inside of your toilet is, the easier the next steps become.
Removing the Toilet and Old Flange
If you haven’t already done so, you may want to put your gloves on for the remainder of the repair, and call upon that second pair of hands.
Once your toilet is dry, remove the nuts from the bolts on the toilet and find a nearby location to place the toilet for the duration of your replacement. Before lifting the toilet, it’s usually a good idea to remove the top lid of the toilet’s tank—as this piece often isn’t secured and can fall off once the toilet is tilted.
Step 3. Disconnect The Water Supply
It’s also crucial that the water supply to the toilet be disconnected from the tank before lifting the toilet. The supply, which should be located a few inches to the left of your flange, on the wall, and should easily be unscrewed by a nut underneath the tank. Be aware that some residual water may fall out of the tank. After this, your toilet should be completely unsecured from the ground.
Use that second pair of hands and lift the toilet several inches vertically, before placing nearby. While the top and sides of your toilet will probably not be very dirty, the underside will need to be cleaned. We recommend placing the toilet on its side on a nearby tarp or sheet. This way, you’ll have easy access to the sections you’ll need to clean up.
Step 4. Check The Old Flange and Piping
With the toilet out of the way, you should find yourself face-to-face with the old flange and the exposed piping in the floor. This piping can reek of odor, so if you’re particularly sensitive to smells, place a hand towel or rag into the center of the hole.
Removing the old flange is often requires a bit of cleaning work beforehand—since the old wax ring often breaks down over time and clogs up access to the securing screws. Scrape and remove as much wax as possible from the toilet flange to expose the screws you’ll need to access to remove the device.
If you do not immediately see these screws, you may need to rotate the toilet flange either clockwise or anti-clockwise to expose them. Once you have access, unscrew the flange from the floor and place it for later disposal.
Installing the New Flange
After completing everything above, it’s finally time to learn how to replace your toilet flange with the new.
Most commercial toilets operate with a fairly standard flange size. But if you’re concerned about getting the right flange. Now is the time to clean up the old flange and take it into a nearby hardware store to make sure you’ve picked up the right size.
Most flanges are sold with wax rings but double-check to make sure that you’re not missing this crucial piece. Without the wax ring, you won’t be able to effectively replace your toilet flange.
Before placing the new flange on top of your plumbing system. Everything will need to give a thorough cleaning. Toilet flanges, especially older models, will disintegrate over time. And dirty or uneven surfaces won’t allow your new flange to get a proper seal.
Step 5. Clean The Pipe
Clean both the opening of the pipe as well as the underside of the toilet and scrape off as much wax and debris as possible. These also should be placed in your plastic bag for proper disposal later on.
Once your surface is clean, we’ll be reversing our previous steps to finish the job. Place the toilet flange on top of the opening and screw down into the floor. Many toilet flanges are made of plastics, so try to secure the flange without over-tightening. If needed, rotate the flange either clockwise or anti-clockwise to lock into place.
Next, unwrap the wax ring and press it into the underside of the toilet. Apply firm pressure evenly on all sides of the ring, and make sure it sticks. Be careful not to compromise the exposed side of the ring, either—as we’ll need that to seal onto the flange.
Putting Everything Together
All that’s left to do now is to replace the toilet and allow the toilet flange to seal. If you used a rag to block odors coming from the sewage system, now’s a good time to remove it.
Using your extra pair of hands, lift the toilet and vertically position it above the exposed bolts. It’s crucial that you lower your toilet carefully and evenly on top of the flange and press down to secure the seal.
Step 6. Apply Pressure
Once you’ve lowered the toilet back into position, it is wise to sit on it or otherwise apply pressure for a minute or two to make sure the seal forms. After applying pressure, we’ll need to quickly secure the toilet to the ground to prevent any rocking from side to side.
Much like with the plastic on the flange, the porcelain that makes up your toilet isn’t designed to handle heavy pressure. When securing your toilet to the ground, tighten the nuts just enough to prevent rocking, but not enough to crack or otherwise compromise the porcelain.
Once the toilet is secured, you can place the covers back on top of the exposed bolts and screw down.
Step 7. Replace the Water Supply
The water supply is next to be replaced. Tighten the nut back into place and connect the water supply to the bottom of the tank. This may require a little bit of testing to uncover what tightness will be required, so keeping your tongue-and-groove pliers close at hand may be best.
Turn the water supply valve back on slowly, and note any leaks that come from the underside of the toilet, which may be indicative of an issue with your wax ring. Provided there are none, allow the tank to fill back up and flush the toilet several times.
Step 8. Check The Side of The Toilet
Watch the underside of the toilet carefully as you begin to pass water through your system. Any leaks may be indicative of either improper toilet flange replacement or another problem entirely. If you’d done everything correctly, you should see no leakage of any kind.
That’s it! Simply replace the top lid of the tank and dispose of the old flange, and your toilet should be functioning properly once again.
We hope we’ve given you some clear direction on how to replace your toilet flange. While the replacement may be a little involved, this home project should only take a few hours—and give you a little more appreciation for modern plumbing.