The Tool Barn

Replacing a Wax Ring

Wax rings are used to seal a toilet to the flange.  It is used to seal the water and sewer gas into the soil stack.  If there is moisture or water on the floor around the toilet, you probably need a new wax ring. One note: Find a helper for this task.  Not only are toilets heavy, but you will need help aligning the flange bolts when you set the toilet back in place.  Please note that some localities require a plumber to perform this activity so please check in advance.

New wax ring
Items needed:
New wax ring
Cleaning solution
Latex gloves
Safety Suggestions and Tips
Wear latex gloves
Shut off water to toilet
Get a helper
Level of difficulty

Time Required:
 2 hours


Empty tank
Shut off water

Step 1:

Turn off the water to the toilet and flush it.  Remove the water line from the tank.  Next you need to empty the bowl.  There are two ways: 1) Use a cup to empty the toilet bowl.  Get as much water as possible out. 2) pour a bucket-full of water (at least a gallon) into the bowl.  Pour it in all at once.

Remove nuts
Remove nuts

Step 2:

The next step is to remove the nuts that secure the toilet to the flange.  The flange bolts have tabs on them so they should not turn when you turn the nuts. If the bolts turn when you turn the nuts, you will need to saw the nuts off.  The easiest way to do this is to hold the top of the bolt with pliers (vice grips are better) and try to turn the nut a bit.  This will give you access to the body of the bolt under the nut to saw it off. Next, take a hacksaw blade, wrap a rag around one end and saw the nut off.  This will likely take some doing

Lift toilet
Lift toilet from flange

Step 3:

Locate the spot where you want to put the toilet when you lift it from the flange.  Remember that the toilet still has some water left in the trap and some of it may leak.  A good spot to put the toilet is a tub or tile floor.  Put down something to protect the surface - it will get wet. Lift the toilet up and gently place it on its side.

Remove old wax ring
Remove old wax ring

Step 4:

Remove the old wax ring from the bottom of the toilet.  Scrape off all of the old ring.  Clean the bottom completely. Next, clean the flange and the area of the floor under the toilet.  Get all of the old junk off the flange.  Inspect the floor and flange.  If the subfloor has been damaged by the leak, stop now and call a professional immediately.

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