If your toilet is leaking, it’s probably time to replace the toilet wax ring. Toilet wax rings can go bad over time. When this occurs, it is necessary to find and replace the wax ring.
The wax ring is a ring composed of sticky wax that aids in the formation of a watertight barrier between the toilet’s bottom and the sewage line. It requires no care and can survive for 30 years or more, typically outlasting the toilet itself.
However, wax rings can sometimes dry up, disintegrate, and fail prematurely. When this occurs, they must be replaced. Water flowing from around the base of the toilet is an indication of wax ring failure.
Here is a detailed guide on how to replace a toilet wax ring.
What’s the purpose of a toilet wax ring?
Is water accumulating at the base of your toilet? If this is the case, your toilet wax ring is most likely worn out. When properly functioning, the wax ring forms a watertight barrier between the toilet base and the drain pipe.
Why use wax? Wax is mold and germ resistant, and it keeps its sealing capacity even after years of usage. Wax rings are made from a molded wax loop wrapped around a short plastic tube and form themselves to suit practically every toilet and floor drain.
Unfortunately, wax can deteriorate with time, allowing water to flow onto the floor. The good news is that replacing the wax ring will solve the problem. A toilet wax ring costs between $2 and $10, making this a reasonably priced do-it-yourself project.
Replace the wax ring seal between the toilet and the closet flange affixed to the floor whenever you remove a toilet for any reason. When you replace a wax seal, you should also replace the T-bolts that connect the toilet to the toilet flange.
Tools You Will Need To Replace a Toilet Wax Ring
- New toilet wax ring
- Putty knife
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Flathead screwdriver
- Old towels or rugs
- Paper towels
- Two flange bolts
- Large sponge
- Adjustable wrench
- Mini Hacksaw
How to replace a toilet wax ring?
1. Drain and disconnect the toilet
The first step after gathering all the necessary tools is to empty the toilet. Begin by cutting off the water supply to the toilet. The shutdown valve should be located behind the toilet and simply has to be turned. The valve should be turnable by hand, but if it hasn’t moved in several years, it may be stuck. If there is no valve, you can turn off the water at the main water shut-off valve. After that, flush the toilet to remove any extra water from the tank and bowl.
Flush the toilet to get as much water out of the bowl and tank as possible. To remove any remaining water from the bowl, use a wet/dry vacuum or a plunger. Then, using a big sponge, remove any remaining moisture from the tank and bowl to create a dry working environment.
Next, unplug the water supply line from the toilet tank’s bottom. You must temporarily disconnect the water supply line in order to remove the toilet from the floor. The water supply pipe for your toilet is located on the tank’s underside. Some toilet types allow you to detach the line by hand, while others require the use of an adjustable wrench. If nothing of these options works, pull out the pliers.
There will be some water in the line, so have a bucket nearby to capture it. Putting down towels can also help you prevent harming your bathroom floor.
2. Detach the Toilet from the Floor
The next step is to prepare the base for removal. Remove the water supply line hose and the compression nut from the toilet fill valve. This will aid in the resetting of the toilet when the wax seal has been replaced. When changing the wax seal, you should always consider replacing the water supply line hose.
Locate the flange bolts on either side of the toilet for the adventurous homeowners who opt to keep on. These bolts keep your toilet anchored to the floor. First, remove any covers that are protecting the bolts. Next, loosen the nuts from the bolts with your tool. Inserting a flathead screwdriver under the edge of each cap and gently pulling upwards can do this. Finally, remove the washer and plastic disc from the bolts’ bases.
If the bolt spins while you turn the nut, you’ll need to remove the nuts using a separate pair of pliers. If the toilet is caulked to the completed floor of the bathroom, use a utility knife to score the caulking all the way around the toilet base. Cover the bathroom floor or bathtub with a protective covering, depending on where you’ll be setting the toilet while changing the wax seal.
You may now wriggle the toilet free. If you aren’t going to install new bolts, nuts, or washers, keep the old ones in a safe place so they don’t go misplaced.
3. Remove the toilet
It is now time to remove the toilet. Keep in mind that your toilet is likely to weigh around 100 pounds. For optimum leverage, bend at the knees. Concentrate on removing the toilet from its two flange bolts without using your back. Once off the ground, softly lower the toilet onto a towel or blanket.
Gravity and what’s left of the collapsing wax ring are all that’s keeping the toilet in place. You may loosen the toilet by gently rocking and twisting it. When you’re ready to remove the toilet, acquire a strong grasp towards the middle to distribute the weight of the bowl and tank equally. Set the toilet to the side by lifting with your knees and pulling straight up.
To keep the toilet drain off the floor, set four 2-inch-by-4-inch-by-6-inch-cut dimensional lumber blocks on the edge on top of the floor covering before removing the toilet. Angle the blocks slightly so that they don’t tilt when you put the toilet on top of them. Lift the toilet with care, keeping the base parallel to the floor, and place it on the blocks. If the toilet looks to be too heavy to lift, remove the bolts that connect the tank to the bowl and move the two sections independently.
4. Remove toilet wax ring
This is the point at which the actual job begins. Remove as much of the old wax ring as possible from the bottom of the toilet and the pipe fitting in the floor, known as the toilet flange, with a putty knife. Before preparing to install the new wax ring, thoroughly clean and dry the flange. If the flange seems dented or broken, consult a plumber before proceeding.
To remove and dispose of the old wax ring, put on a pair of waterproof cleaning gloves. Using a putty knife, scrape the old wax seal from the toilet’s base and flange. Remove any remaining caulk from the toilet bowl and complete the flooring. Examine the toilet flange for cracks or deterioration. Proceed with the new installation if there are none. After removing the old toilet wax ring, seal the drain with a ball of rags or an old towel.
5. Place & press the New Wax Ring
All that remains is to attach your new wax ring to the bottom of the toilet drain. You may also attach it to the flange’s top. When in doubt, follow the instructions that came with your new wax ring.
Some wax rings are self-adhesive, and there may be minor design variances between manufacturers, so follow the directions on the container. Most wax rings may be attached to the bottom of the toilet or the top of the flange, enabling you to select which is more comfortable for you.
6. Position the Toilet
Lower the toilet onto the flange, ensuring sure that the bolt holes in the toilet’s baseline match up with the holes in the flange. To finish the repair, apply new plumbers tape to the tank inlet threads and connect the water supply line.
7. Test the Toilet
Close the toilet lid and sit down, pressing the wax ring and pushing the toilet into position with your body weight. The goal of this “sit test” is to ensure that your toilet is flush with the floor.
To finish this procedure, you may need to transfer your weight multiple times. Wiggle about in the seat to ensure there is no shaking. Finally, you want the toilet’s base to be flush with the floor
Simply replace the mounting bolts and bolt covers, reconnect the water supply line to the tank, and reopen the supply line valve after that. Replace the plastic disc and metal washer before inserting the nuts into the flange bolts if the toilet passes the sit test.
8. Check for Leaks
Once the water supply has been restored, flush the toilet several times. You’re okay to go as long as you don’t see any wetness seeping from the bottom of the toilet. Before flushing, turn on the water and let the tank be full.
Flush the toilet multiple times after wrapping tissues over the whole bottom of the toilet bowl where it touches the completed floor. If you see water on the tissues, the wax seal isn’t correctly put, and you’ll need to remove the toilet and start again with a new wax seal.
Check the toilet base for leaks an hour after flushing it and again the next day to ensure the ring established a watertight barrier around the drain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long do toilet wax rings last?
Replacing the toilet wax seal is often required only when the complete toilet is replaced every 20-30 years. Manufacturers recognize this and design wax rings that can last up to 30 years or slightly longer without leaking.
Wax rings might dry up or break considerably faster than expected, necessitating earlier replacement. However, this happens in rare cases only.
Do you have to change the wax ring every time you remove a toilet?
Yes, you should replace the wax ring seal between the toilet and the closet flange affixed to the floor whenever you remove a toilet for any reason. This is because a wax ring prevents your toilet from wobbling.
If you don’t replace it once the old seal is broken, your toilet will rock with each use which can be unsafe if you have kids at home; not to mention the feeling of unease whenever you sit on it.
How do I know if my toilet wax ring is broken?
There are many signs of a broken toilet wax ring. The most prominent is puddles of water on your bathroom floor. A faulty wax ring leads to a leaky toilet. It also leaves behind a nasty odor which you will surely notice if you fail to notice the leakage.
A broken wax ring may not be leaking, but it does allow foul scents to enter the bathroom. Another sign is a wobbly toilet. If your toilet isn’t properly affixed to the floor, it indicates that your toilet wax ring has broken. If you do not want a rocking toilet, you better fix it soon.
If your toilet is not securely fastened at the base, it may begin to shake somewhat. This movement might be difficult to detect, but it can damage the toilet wax ring, especially if it is old. If you find that your toilet has become loose, you should replace the wax ring immediately rather than waiting for the first symptoms of leaking.
While using two wax seals appear to be a wonderful idea, but it will not endure. If the wax ring is of poor quality or is more than 30 years old, it may crumble. It will take a long time before it begins to leak, but it is still a common explanation.
Hope now you can easily replace a toilet ring and do away with the leaks. Take care not to plunge the plunger too hard while unclogging the toilet. This can harm the toilet wax ring. If you see water stains or a drop just under your upper-floor toilet, it is most likely due to a leaky wax ring. Respond quickly to prevent water damage from spreading, and dry the affected areas to avoid mold growth.