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How to Replace a Toilet Wax Ring? – A Detailed Guide

Paulk-Webb-author
Written by Paulk Webb
Freddie J. Hagopian
Fact checked by Freddie J. Hagopian

Published:

how to replace a toilet wax ring

The foundation of a toilet is nothing without a wax ring or toilet flange that creates a watertight seal. You can simply describe it as a link between your toilet and the water supply line. As time goes by, you’ll find an old wax ring that causes leak symptoms at the toilet’s base. So, how to replace a toilet wax ring?

You have to buy a wax ring replacement kit. Since this part is attached to the bathroom floor, the toilet needs to be lifted before replacing the toilet seal ring. Once the wax seal is done properly, you can put the toilet back to its original position. To know more about how to install the new wax ring, read on.

Step-by-step to Change a Wax Ring on the Toilet

Things that you’ll need when replacing the wax ring on the toilet:

  • Bucket
  • Putty knife
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Paper towels, old towels, or rags
  • Sponge
  • Mini hacksaw
  • Toilet wax seal replacement water supply line replacement
  • Toilet mounting bolts replacement
  • Floor covering or sheet vinyl floor
  • Gel toilet water solidifier
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Gloves
  • Toilet paper

1. How to drain and remove the toilet

replace-a-toilet-ring

After you choose from different toilet wax rings and sizes, you have to remove and drain the toilet. Get started with the following steps.

  • Step 1: Turn the water supply valve clockwise to disconnect the toilet. You’ll find this valve at the back left of the toilet. If you can’t find it, check the main supply line valve in the basement and turn it off. You may need to use a wrench.

You don’t want to waste water by letting it splash haphazardly. So, make sure to place the sponge and bucket near you. Once you disconnect the water supply, remove the lid of the toilet tank and flush it.

Press the toilet handle or button well to drain the toilet with every drop of water. If there’s remaining water, take it out using a sponge.

  • Step 2: Detach the water tube that is connected to the toilet fill valve and flange bolts. Don’t skip this step as it will make toilet resetting easy when the wax ring or toilet flange is successfully installed.

When you replace a toilet ring, you should do the same thing with the water supply line leading to the pipes. If the finished floor of the bathroom is caulked, use a putty knife to remove the caulking.

Spread the protective covering on the bathroom floor where you will place the toilet after you remove it from its position. Take off the protective caps covering or bolt covers that protect the existing bolts and washers.

Use a flat head screwdriver to undo the caps. When removing the bolts and washers, use the adjustable wrench. If the toilet bolts spin, put them in place with the help of pliers. To avoid buying new bolts, nuts, and washers, store them properly after removal for later use.

  • Step 3: Hold the toilet on both sides and gently rock it. It’s how you break the old seal. Once it’s broken, carefully lift the toilet while pulling it straight up. Then, transfer it to the covering that you have prepared.

2. Installation of the new wax seal

wax-ring-replacement

Here are the detailed steps of putting a wax ring on the toilet.

  • Step 1: Put on gloves before removing the old or broken wax ring. Scrape the old wax seal on both the bottom of the bowl and the toilet flange. You’ll need to get rid of the caulk on the bowl and the finished floor. You may find a decayed or broken toilet flange. In some toilets, the flange appears dented.

If the water closet flange is fine, you can begin to replace the wax ring. Unplug the toilet drain quickly and immediately plug it with a clump of old towels or rags, which should be big enough to not accidentally fall into the pipe fitting. You shouldn’t skip this step as an unplugged drain can bring noxious sewer gas.

  • Step 2: Next, the new mounting bolts should be installed in the right place. You can use old ones if they’re still in good condition. These bolts should sit on the toilet flange opening and wax ring centered.

Moreover, place them parallel to the finished wall where the toilet tank rests. Install the bolt holes or spacers so you can insert the new bolts.

  • Step 3: For the necessary assembling, put the new wax ring with the flange completely. You may need to buy a ceramic tile to fill in the gap between these two parts.
  • Step 4: To reinstall the toilet, refer to the bolts as a guide. When placing it over the new seal, don’t forget to level it. Again, the tank should be parallel to the wall behind it.
  • Step 5: Rocking on the toilet is not advisable as it can alter the new seal. Instead, sit on the toilet lid to compress the seal. You may make the toilet wobble slightly so it’s positioned appropriately on the finished floor.

Put the bolts and washers in the right place. Avoid over-tightening them as they can crack the toilet bowl and break the toilet anchor flange. The caps should be returned and you may need to cut the extra bolt length with a mini hacksaw.

  • Step 6: Once the toilet is set, fill the tank with water used for flushing. To check if the wax ring on the toilet or flange is properly installed, put toilet paper around the toilet base.

If the toilet paper absorbs some water, it is a sign that there’s something wrong with the installation of a wax ring for the toilet. You don’t have a choice but to restart from the very beginning when this happens.

  • Step 7: If you don’t see water leaking from the toilet, make a waterproof seal by using Liquilock, a gel water toilet solidifier. To ensure that leakage won’t bother you, get a new water line linking the toilet with the water supply from the floor or wall.

FAQs

replacing-toilet-seal-ring

Can you reuse a toilet wax ring?

You can’t reuse a toilet wax ring as its replacement is usually needed during toilet repair. If you reuse a wax ring, you’ll have to face leaking issues.

You may blame it on a leaky flapper but all along, a broken flange may be the culprit. A bad odor can also come out of the sewer pipe. If these things happen, you may need to pay more than the replacement cost.

When should I replace the wax ring?

Here are when you should replace your toilet wax:

  • When you remodel your toilet, you have to remove and lift the whole unit. You should m do the same thing with the toilet wax.
  • A wobbly toilet is a sign that you need a replacement. The problem is mainly in the flange. When you replace the flange, you’ll also need a new wax ring.
  • The leak at the bottom of the toilet is a message to replace the toilet wax ring.
  • There’s no doubt that replacement is necessary when there’s water from a damaged subfloor or the ceiling below the toilet.

Do you have to replace a wax ring when you remove a toilet?

It’s recommended to replace a wax ring when you remove a toilet. As mentioned, there are consequences if you don’t do it, such as leakage and unpleasant gas from the pipes.

You may get the extra thick wax ring. Nonetheless, there are toilet wax ring alternatives. Examples are the rubber toilet seal of Fluidmaster and Korky.

Takeaway – Toilet Wax Ring Replacement

Before you go through how to replace a toilet wax ring, you need to be careful with the removal of the toilet bowl. These two processes go hand in hand so you can work on the wax ring properly once you remove the toilet from the floor. With the thorough guidance of this article, you can properly install everything so you don’t need an expert to do it for you.

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a few words from the author

Paulk-Webb-author

"I'm Paulk Webb, and I work as a writer for Saveourwaterrebates. I'm happy to put in the time and effort to conduct market research to identify the most pressing issues faced by households concerning their plumbing.Hopefully, our articles and research will help you solve the problems you are facing"

– Paulk Web