A toilet flange is a component that holds your toilet to the floor. It uses either a metal or plastic ring that can render your toilet unusable if broken. And if it no longer holds the toilet securely, it would cause the entire unit to rock, which can damage the wax ring seal.
Remember that a toilet flange is quite difficult to replace, but fortunately, it seldom needs replacement, and you can just get a repair plate, repair ring or a push-in replacement flange to fix it. Here are the steps to take for such a task:
1. Secure The Tools And Items That You Will Need.
When doing DIY home improvement projects, you should have all the things that you need at hand to avoid wasting time. When it comes to fixing a broken toilet flange, you should secure the following: adjustable pliers, wrench, Phillips screwdriver, slot screwdriver, screws, hacksaw, paint scraper, putty knife, repair plate, repair ring, wax ring, drop cloth and newspaper.
2. Turn Off The Water Supply And Remove The Toilet Bowl.
Of course, you have to turn off the water supply to your toilet to avoid spills and making a mess. There are many ways you can do this, including shutting off the valve in the street, turning off the shut-off valve you have in your house or unscrewing the water supply hose just behind the toilet. After doing any of these things, you should flush the toilet to empty the tank. Then, unbolt the toilet bowl from the flange with a wrench, lift it off (get help if it is too heavy for you) and set it aside on a drop cloth or newspaper in a secure area.
3. Remove The Toilet Flange.
Using a paint scraper or a putty knife, try to remove some wax remaining in the flange. You can also apply some mild detergent to make this task easier. Loosen the bolts securing the toilet to the flange and the floor, and then remove them. Clean the floor and the underside of the toilet, and then measure the sewer drain pipe’s inner diameter or take a photograph of it, so you will have information that you can use in case you need to replace the flange. If there are breaks in its tracks, you can simply fix it with a repair plate. It is also possible that you will need a repair ring or a push-in flange replacement, depending on the severity of the problem. If this is your case, then here are some things to keep in mind:
- If your flange is broken, but is still securely bolted onto the pipe, you will need a spammer flange to replace the missing or broken pieces. This metal component is shaped like a half moon that you can attach by simply sliding it under a broken flange.
- If your flange is attached to a stable floor, you might need to replace the flange collar. Since this piece of metal is thin, you can just place it on top of the old collar without having to take out the broken one.
- If the flange collar is severely damaged, you will have to remove and replace it. To make it easier for you to break the old cast-iron flange, you can use a hammer and chisel. You can also use a power drill and attach an internal pipe cutter to remove a PVC flange inside the pipe.
4. Install The Repair Plate.
When installing a repair plate, you should remove the screws that hold the flange to the floor using a Phillips screwdriver. Then, pry up the broken track with a slot screwdriver just enough for the plate to slide.
5. Position The Toilet Flange.
Making sure that you have lined up the tracks of the flange and repair plate, drive the screws, which hold the flange, back into the holes from which you removed them. Take note that the screws will also go through repair plate’s holes, holding it to the flange.
6. Install The Ring.
If you are going to repair the flange with a repair ring, you can just leave it screwed to the subfloor. Then, you can simply slide the new ring on top of the old flange to fix the problem. Make sure you align the tracks and screw the ring through the offset screw holes to the subfloor.
7. Remove The Ring When You Are Using a Push-In Replacement Flange.
Before you use a push-in replacement flange, you have to remove the old ring by unscrewing it from the floor and cutting it with a hacksaw. Using a slot screwdriver and pliers, pry the metal away from the cut line until the ring is separated from the flange. If you have a twist-on tapered flange, you will see a rubber seal located on the outer part of the flange, which you need to insert into the existing pipe. Right on its outer edge, there is also a rubber seal that you have to pull up to secure the flange.
8. Install The Replacement Flange.
Insert the push-in replacement into the opening of the flange, push it down until it is flush against the floor and screw it down. Take note that, if you are using a replacement, it may make the opening for draining waste materials narrow, so it should only be used to replace a 4-inch toilet flange.
Replacing a broken toilet flange would likely require opening up the floor to expose the pipes. However, it is really just a minor issue that you can fix with a range of products to repair, rather than replace, it. But if your flange is really broken down to the pipe or in its cupped section, then it would be high time to replace it.
When fixing a broken toilet flange, it involves removing the toilet, so take this as an opportunity to also check the sub-floor for water damage. Repair any area that is soft or spongy, as it will not hold the toilet securely after you complete the work.