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The wax seal on your bathroom floor is vital to prevent water leaking from the base of the toilet. Sometimes a leaking toilet can be fixed with basic DIY home improvement tools.
You can install a new wax ring on the bottom of the toilet, or you might replace the old wax ring with a rubber watertight seal instead.
The toilet wax ring is not reusable. You’ll need to install a new one whenever you get a new toilet or do a toilet repair that requires moving the seal.
When replacing the seal, you’ll also need to replace the mounting bolts.
You should be able to find new bolts, a screwdriver, and other materials at a local hardware store.
There are several steps you’ll need to take in order to replace the ring. If your toilet bowl is leaking, you’ll want paper towels on hand to wipe up the remaining water.
You’ll also want to make sure that the finished floor hasn’t suffered any water damage.
Your first step is to cut the toilet off from the water supply line. This will keep it from leaking during the process.
There should be a handle attached to the supply line that can be turned by hand. If the handle is rusted, you might need to use an adjustable wrench.
Take the lid off the toilet tank. Flush the toilet, keeping the handle held down until the tank is empty.
The water should flow through the toilet flange into the sewer pipe.
If there’s leaking near the base of your toilet, then you should shut off the water as soon as possible. A plunger
can be used to dislodge clogs in the drainpipe.
You can also use a shop vacuum to remove excess water from the floor.
In order to replace the wax ring, you’ll need to detach and move the toilet.
Your first step is to disconnect the water line from the tank. Then take off any caps over the toilet bolts and washers.
The caps can be removed with a flathead screwdriver, but if they’re rusty, you might need to use WD-40 first.
Loosen the washers and bolts with your adjustable wrench. It’s important to be gentle, as too much pressure might cause the anchor flange to warp or bend.
Take out the nuts and washers, so you’re left with the bolt holes. If you don’t have replacements, make sure you carefully set these aside where they’ll be easy to find again.
Then you can move the toilet. If it’s a two-piece model, you can remove the tank first to make lifting the bowl easier.
Most one-piece toilets will need two people to lift.
Place it on wooden stoppers so that you can still access the base.
In some cases, you might find that caulk has sealed the toilet to the floor. If this is the case, you can use a putty knife to carefully cut through the caulk until the toilet is free.
Now that you have access to the floor, your main job is to remove the old wax ring. You’ll also need to deal with any water damage prior to putting the toilet back.
That way, you don’t need to work around the appliance to repair the floor.
Put on a pair of waterproof gloves. You’ll use your putty knife to scrape off the seal from the toilet closet flange and the base itself.
At the same time, you’ll remove any remaining caulk from both the toilet and the floor.
Look at the flange. Is there any cracking or damage?
If so, you’ll need to replace that before you can move on. If not, you can move on.
Once the wax ring is removed, you should plug the drain with a thick rag or towel. Otherwise, sewer gas might come into the house, since the gasket isn’t holding it back.
This step will vary slightly depending on whether you’re using new or old bolts.
With new bolts, you’ll put them in the bolt holes around the flange. The process is the same for old bolts, with one added step.
Make sure you check each bolt for damage and ensure that it’s in ideal condition prior to installing it.
The bolts should be centered with the opening. They should also lie parallel to the back wall.
Otherwise, your toilet might be off center. Improperly tightened bolts can also lead to a wobbling toilet.
Once you’ve done all this, it’s fairly simple to attach the ring. Just put it on top of the flange.
Double-check that it is centered properly.
Wax rings are the default for most toilet installations. They are also often preferred because of their resistance to bacteria and mold.
Some wax rings can last for years.
However, wax rings need replacing every time they’re damaged or moved. If you want a reusable ring, you might consider purchasing one made of rubber or plastic.
These materials also have the advantage of being able to conform to any toilet size, rather than only working with standard dimensions.
Next you’ll put the toilet back, fitting it over the bolts. If you made sure that your bolts are positioned correctly, then the toilet should end up centered and parallel to the back wall.
Make sure that you don’t rock the toilet when it’s placed on the seal. This may be a two-person job, especially if the toilet bowl is heavy.
Twist the toilet base slightly from side to side in order to make it adhere to the new seal. Stop when the base of the toilet is firm against the floor.
This step is fairly straightforward.
First, you’ll secure the bolts. Place a washer over each bolt to prevent it from being damaged.
Then twist the nuts into place. Make sure that you secure the bolts tightly so that the toilet doesn’t wobble.
Then you can reconnect the toilet to the water supply. If it’s a two-piece, bolt the tank back to the bowl.
Then put the hose back into the tank.
Turn the water supply on and flush the toilet. This will let you know whether the seal will leak or not.
If it doesn’t leak, you’re ready to seal the base with caulk. This will add stability and protect the wax from degrading over time.
It’s an ideal option if you don’t expect to move your toilet again for a long period of time.
Sometimes a leaky toilet doesn’t need to be replaced in full. You might just need to replace the wax ring.
This ring is vital for preventing water from escaping around the base of the toilet.
The steps to replace the ring are straightforward. Keep in mind that if you want a reusable option, you’ll want to use rubber or plastic instead of wax in the future.
If you’re really struggling to figure out the cause of a leak, turn off the water supply. This will prevent damage to your flooring, along with excess water bills.
Then get in contact with a plumber. A professional will be able to assess and repair whatever’s wrong.