• How to Fix a Leaking Toilet – Flange Replacement

    man-toilet-repair

    The toilet flange, also called a closet flange, is out of sight, so many homeowners aren’t familiar with it. The flange is a round coupling typically made of cast iron or of ABS plastic that might also have a metal collar on it.
    The flange bolts to the floor – either concrete or subflooring such as plywood or O.S.B. The closet flange is the connector between the toilet and the sewer inlet and holds the toilet securely to the floor. When the flange fails, leaking might occur or the toilet might rock slightly from side to side or back to front. If your toilet leaks or wobbles, it’s important to check the wax ring and flange immediately.
    A leaking toilet will cause a host of problems you don’t want to deal with including rotting floor boards, mold and the potential spread of dangerous bacteria and odor.
    If you have a running toilet, please see our guide on how to repair and replace a toilet that is constantly running.

    Toilet Flange Replacement Tips

    This house repair guide contains tips for how to check the flange and replace it if needed along with the wax ring. It can be a one-person job, but having a second set of hands always makes the job easier.
    If you’ve got moderate DIY skills, this is a project you might be able to tackle. When you don’t have the time or aptitude, then a plumber is the right person to call, though an experienced handyman will probably be able to do the job too.
    Below, you’ll find toilet flange replacement costs for doing the job or hiring a professional for the work. The last section contains resource pages that provide additional information that should prove helpful for doing this project or discussing it with a plumbing contractor.

    These tips give you an overview of what needs to be done to replace a toilet flange. Perhaps they’ll help you decide whether it’s a DIY job for you or you’d prefer to hire a plumber or handyman.

    For this job, you’ll need an adjustable wrench, a bucket, putty knife, a replacement wax ring and a replacement toilet flange. You can pick up the flange at any hardware or home improvement store. You might want to remove the old flange and take it with you to find a suitable replacement.

    • The first tip is to turn off the water feed to the toilet and flush the toilet to remove as much water as possible
    • Some people try to scoop remaining water out of the toilet, but this isn’t necessary
    • Remove the nuts on the bolts sticking up through the toilet
    • Lift the toilet off the bolts, and you’ll see the bolts also go through the flange to hold the toilet tight to it
    • Remove the old wax ring with a putty knife– you might need to tip the toilet to do this, so this is a good time to dump the remaining water into a bucket
    • Examine the flange to determine if it is cracked or worn
    • Because they’re inexpensive, it might make sense to replace it even if no damage is visible, especially if the toilet rocks
    • Remove the fasteners used to hold the flange to the floor, and set them aside to install the new flange
    • Put the new flange into place to make sure that it fits properly
    • If the fit is secure, use the fasteners to install it while being sure the toilet bolts are in place and sticking up
    • Place the new wax ring over the flange, place the toilet over the bolts and back on top of the flange and push down firmly
    • When the toilet is firm to the floor, tighten the nuts until they are tight, but avoid overly tightening them which might crack the toilet
    • If new toilet mounting bolts come with the new wax ring, they might be too long for the caps to fit on them, but can be shortened with a hack saw once the toilet is in place and tight

    Toilet Flange Replacement Costs

    Toilet flanges and wax rings are relatively inexpensive. Most of the cost of replacing a toilet flange is in the labor.

    DIY Toilet Flange Replacement Cost: A flange costs $10 to $35 depending on the quality of the material used, with the average being about $24. A wax ring can be had for $4 to $10. Look for one with a gasket attached, and be willing to pay a bit more for it because the gasket will help prevent leaks. An adjustable wrench will cost $10 to $30 depending on its quality.

    Hiring a Plumber for Toilet Flange Replacement: Most plumbers have a minimum service call price, and it is usually $100 to $175. The cost of replacing a toilet flange should fall in that range, though the materials might be extra. If the house is older and/or there are problems with the subfloor, the job might be much more difficult and costly.

    How to Save Money on Toilet Flange Replacement

    Doing the work yourself will save you money, and so will borrowing a wrench, if you don’t have one. If you’re going to hire a plumber for the job, the best way to save money on plumbing repairs is get multiple estimates from plumbers in your area. This gives you an opportunity to find both the lowest prices and a contractor you believe has the experience to do a good job.

    Toilet Flange Replacement Resources

    The pages below provide more information on making this common home repair.

    Home Repair Central – Here’s a brief overview of the project.

    Home Repair Answers – This site offers a series of videos for replacing different types of closet flanges.

    YouTube – This video offers good visuals and explanations on how to make this home repair.

     

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