How To Replace A Wax Seal On A Toilet

If your toilet is leaking at the base, you probably need a new wax seal. This fits on the bottom of the toilet drain between the toilet and the floor flange to which the toilet is bolted.

The project itself is simple, but it is a heavy and messy job. If you think you may have trouble lifting a surprisingly heavy toilet, or can't handle scraping dirty wax from your toilet and floor flange, plumbing contractors can handle the job in less than thirty minutes.

Still interested in doing it yourself? This is what you need to do:

What you will need

A wax seal

This ia basically a round tapered ring made of wax. Sizes vary, so if you can't find the size for your toilet model online, you will need to wait until you remove the toilet to measure the circumference of the old ring before going to purchase a new one.

Adjustable wrench

You will need this to remove the toilet from the floor flange.

Pipe Tape

This will be used to seal connection threads when you reattach the water supply line.

Bucket and rags

These will be necessary for cleaning excess water. Rags will also be used to remove old wax. 

Removing your toilet

You will begin by turning off the valve to the water supply line. Flush the toilet repeatly to remove as much water from the tank as possible, then use rags to absorb the rest. Wring the water from the rags into your bucket, not the toilet bowl, because you will use your rags to remove as much water as possible from the bowl.

Detach the water supply line from the bottom of your toilet with the adjustable wrench. It will be filled with water, so dump it into a tilted bucket and place the end on a pile of rags to absorb any remaining water.

Detach the toilet from the floor by removing the two nuts with the adjustable wrench. Prepare an area with rags, paper towels, or newspaper, and lift the toilet and place it on the prepared surface. You may need to rock the toilet gently to break the old seal. Toilets are heavier than they look, so be sure to lift with your legs and not your back.

Replacing the wax seal

Assuming that you have researched online or measured and have purchased your new wax seal, you will first need to remove the remnants of the old one.

First place a rag into the toilet flange opening in the floor to prevent sewer gases from entering your home. Remove all old wax from both the toilet drain and the floor flange, using rags, a scraper, or by any other effective means. 

When all old wax is removed, press the new wax flange over the toilet drain with the larger end facing the toilet. Remove the rag from the drain.  Next, you will set the toilet in place on the floor flange, pressing down on the toilet with all your weight to allow the wax to form a proper seal. 

You must be sure that the toilet is level. A stick level or even a smartphone app level will be helpful. When the toilet is level, reattach the two nuts by hand. You can tighten them slightly with a wrench, but don't over tighten or you may crack your toilet.

Apply pipe tape to the threads of the fill valve at the bottom of your tank in a clockwise direction, then attach the supply line, using your adjustable wrench.

Turn on the valve and clean up your mess and you're finished. For more information, contact a company like Hager Plumbing.