How to Replace a Toilet Flange

Replacing a toilet flange is a prevalent plumbing repair. A toilet flange is a circular pipe fitting that connects a toilet to the sewage pipe. When you notice a damp area around the base of the toilet, you will know it's time to replace your flange. Another indication you need to repair or replace the flange is when your toilet feels wobbly. It's not okay to put off the replacement as it can lead to potential health and hygiene issues for your family, especially when you notice dampness.

Toilet with copyspace
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How to Replace a Toilet Flange

Turn Off the Water to Begin

The first thing you will need to do is shut off the water main. You can do this by turning the knob clockwise on the wall in the back of the toilet. Doing this will ensure that water won't keep refilling in the tank after each flush. After you have completely turned off the water, flush the toilet and wait for it to fill back up. Once it fills up, flush your toilet again and repeat until the water in the reservoir and the toilet bowl has drained.

Disconnecting the Water Supply

Before you do this part, you will want to spread newspapers or old towels over your bathroom floor. Create several layers so water won't seep through. Now, disconnect your water system from the toilet. To do this, locate the metal hose or braided pipe, which runs from the wall near the toilet. If it's hard to twist off, grab an adjustable wrench.

Unfastening and Removing The Toilet

Your next step will be to remove the toilet. But first, you will need to make sure you can move it easily. Start by unfastening both of the nuts on bolts, which fastens the toilet to the flange on the floor. Again, if this doesn't happen easily for you, grab an adjustable wrench.

Now, it's time to move the toilet. You will need someone to help if you know you can't comfortably lift nearly 100 pounds or slightly more. If you can lift the toilet by yourself, do so safely. Start by straddling the toilet, crouching down and be sure to grab from underneath it. As you lift the toilet up, engage your midsection and use your legs. Never use your back when lifting the unit. You can set the toilet down on the towels or newspaper that you previously put out.

Remove Wax and Find Screws

Once you remove the toilet, you will see the sewage pipe and outflow. Your next step is to remove all the current wax, which is meant to seal the toilet to a pipe and flange. A putty knife should work just fine with this part.

Lifting Flange and Preventing Odors

You will need to remove your flange and clean it with some disinfecting wipes. Once clean, set it to the side on the towels. To prevent gasses and odors from emitting, tuck a disposable rag in the opening of the sewage outflow pipe.

Grab Your Measurements

You will need some measurements for the next part. Start by measuring the width of the outflow pipe's mouth and double check the measurements while writing them down on a piece of paper. To make sure you get the correct flange, put it in a bag and bring it to a hardware store to match it to a new one. The size, shape and type will need to match to ensure it seals properly. Be sure to get a new wax seal, too.

Putting It All Together

Turn your toilet sideways to find the round opening where it sits on top of the flange. Put your new wax seal so it surrounds the mouth. Now, gently lift your toilet and make sure it stays level and matches the bolt holes. Be sure the base stays level and put all of your weight on it while pressing the toilet down so the flange and wax seal engage. Replace all of the nuts back onto the bolts, reattach your water supply hose and turn on the water valve Let your water reservoir fill up, then flush it. Once the bowl fills up, flush again. Now, you have a new toilet flange that is safe for your family once again.

Heather Burdo

Heather Burdo

Heather Burdo is a seasoned writer with six years of experience, including home improvement topics. Her passion is helping homeowners with tips and tricks through content.