Home Plumbing How To Replace A Toilet Flange

How To Replace A Toilet Flange

How To Replace A Toilet Flange

Have you ever sat on a rocking toilet? I have, and let me tell you it is not a pleasant experience. Toilets are stationary pieces of equipment that work best when sturdy. A rocking toilet indicates the need for you to replace your toilet flange. A loose connection between the flange and toilet can lead to cracks or damage to the flange. Additionally, this can lead to damage to your flooring and the main outlet pipe beneath your toilet.

Cracking or breakage of the flange can lead to water and waste leaking from beneath your toilet. Furthermore, having a caulked toilet bottom can trap the leak beneath your toilet and damage your bathroom floor.

Always treat a rocking toilet as an emergency. It is not something that will fix itself or go away in time. The primary function of toilets is to discard waste, if for any reason it cannot do that, it can have bad consequences.

Types of Flange –

  • Copper Flange –Typically used for its anti-corrosion properties, these flanges are durable and anti-bacterial. They make for a good option to replace your existing toilet flange.
  • Brass Flange – Their anti-rust property makes for a viable replacement for your existing flange. They are also durable and commonly bought products. 
  • PVC Flange – These are the most common type of toilet flange. They are less durable than their copper and brass counterparts. However, they are cost-efficient.
  • Cast-Iron Flange –  Paired with cast-iron pipes, they are low maintenance and durable than flanges made from other materials. Additionally, they can be repaired rather than replaced depending on the severity of the damage.

The size of your flange and the outflow pipe need to match to have a firm, secure fitting. Any gaps or misalignment can lead to leaks and damage to your toilet and pipes.

Flange Sizes

  • 3 Inch Flange – These flanges have a three-inch top side and bottom. Typically attached with 3-inch pipes, they are one of the most commonly bought flange sizes.
  • 4-inch x 3-inch Flange – As the name suggests, the flange has a 4-inch top side and a 3-inch bottom. This type of flange is typically attached to close bend pipes. 

You can choose to install your flange to the floor if you are renovating your bathroom before you finish tiling. Using this method, your flange will be flush with the floor and will significantly reduce the risk of having a shaky toilet. Attaching the flange directly to the floor rather than a tile or wooden flooring gives it added stability.

Conversely, if after encountering a shaky toilet, you notice that your flange installation on your tile rather than your floor, don’t fret. Installing flanges above the floor is a common method of attachment. Compared to the flush method, it allows greater room for installing your wax ring. If you have never replaced a wax ring before, having an above the floor flange installation will make the job easier for you.

Average Cost To Replace Your Toilet Flange:

You should expect to spend between $20-$50 to replace your toilet flange. Your cost will vary depending on the type of flange you choose to buy.

Time Required

If this your first time trying to replace a toilet flange, be patient with the process. Take your time removing your toilet, old wax ring, and flange and then re-installing them. Alignment is key in this project as any gaps better your flange, and outflow pipe will lead to leaks or damage. Expect to commit 1 – 3 hours for replacing your toilet flange.

Tools & Materials

Removing Your Toilet

how to replace a toilet flange the right way
  • Firstly, turn off the main water valves located beside the toilet.
  • Turning off the valves blocks the supply of water to your toilet tank, and it is unable to re-fill.
  • Flush your toilet to drain your toilet tank.
  • Open your tank and flush again if the water is still present in the tank. Additionally, using a sponge, remove any excess water left in the tank.
  • Unscrew the nuts connecting the water supply lines to your tank by hand to disconnect them.
  • After removing the supply lines, proceed to remove your toilet tank.
  • Lastly, using a wrench, unscrew the nuts located on the bottom of the tank to remove it.

Detaching the Toilet Bowl

  • The toilet bowl attaches to the ground via two closet bolts.
  • Using a wrench, unscrew the bolts by turning them counterclockwise. In case the bolts have corroded, use a hacksaw to cut the bolts for ease of removal.
  • If your toilet has been caulked at the base, use a putty knife to remove any excess caulk. Removing the caulk will make it easier to pull the toilet from the floor.
  • Lastly, after removing the bolts and cleaning the caulk, lift your toilet to detach it from the floor.

IMPORTANT TIP – We advise not to caulk your new toilet at the base. Having caulk at the base will trap any potential leaks under your toilet and cause damage to your floor. Additionally, it can also lead to overflow.

Remove the Flange

  • Once you remove the toilet, you will be able to see the flange.
  • The old wax ring should be easily removable using a putty knife. Additionally, scrape the excess wax on your flange.
  • After cleaning your flange, remove the screws on the flange using a screwdriver.
  • Typically, there are four screws around the face of the flange, all of which need to be removed.
  • Depending on the type of flange you have, the removal procedures will differ –

If you have a PVC flange, you can pull on it after removing the screws to detach it from the floor. However, if your PVC flange is glued to your PVC outflow pipe, you will have to sever their connection using a chisel or a drill. The outflow pipe will be glued to the lip of the flange, using your chisel carefully chip away the hardened glue to free your flange.

Similarly, if you have a case iron flange attached to a cast-iron outflow pipe, you’ll have to separate them following the same technique. Work patiently while you chisel around your flange’s lip as any damage to your outflow pipe can lead to a costly replacement procedure.

Lastly, pull on the flange after removing the screws to detach it from the floor.

Installing New Flange

how to replace a toilet flange correctly
  • Firstly, align your new flange over the outflow opening, ensuring there is no gap between it and the floor.
  • Once placed, screw the flange in place using a screwdriver.
  • Additionally, insert the closet bolts into the side of the flange and lock them in place.
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions, attach washers accordingly.

After installing your flange you can proceed to re-attach your toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions: How To Replace A Toilet Flange

Can I re-use my old wax ring on a new flange?

No, wax rings can never be re-used. Always attach a new wax ring to your toilet flange.

Which type of flange is the best?

Depending on the type of outflow pipe underneath your toilet, you’ll need to select the appropriate type of flange.


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