How to Install a Wax Ring On a Toilet Bowl

Are you noticing that your toilet is wobbling, having leaks at its base or giving off some unpleasant odors? Then, it might be high time that you install a new wax ring, which is a seal between the bowl and the drain. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Secure The Tools And Materials That You Need.

The things that you will need to get the project started and completed include adjustable wrenches, toilet plunger, shop vacuum, replacement toilet mounting bolts, pipe wrapping tape and, of course, a replacement wax ring.

2. Drain And Remove The Toilet.

  • Cut off the water supply to your toilet at the shut-off valve that is located beside the toilet or at your main water source. Then, flush the water from the tank and sponge until it is dry. You can use a plunger to force the remaining water in the bowl down the drain, and again, sponge until it is dry. If you want to do this task more quickly, then use a wet/dry vacuum to empty the toilet tank and bowl.
  • Detach the water supply line hose from the tank and make sure to catch any water remaining in the line with a bucket. Loosen and remove the nuts that hold the toilet onto the floor, and if the bolts have rusted or corroded, you can first apply some penetrating oil, allowing it to seep over the threads for several minutes, before you loosen the bolts.
  • Lift the toilet. If your toilet seems too heavy to lift or you are working in an awkward space, consider removing the bolts that attach the tank to the bowl and moving them separately. Before you do the lifting, place some blocks on edge of the floor to hold the drain off, choosing an area of the bathroom that is away from the drain to give yourself some room to work. When lifting the toilet, do it carefully while keeping its base parallel to the floor. Set the toilet on the blocks and check the drain to see if the old wax ring is not left attached.

3. Install The New Wax Ring.

  • Wearing a pair of disposable gloves, remove and discard the old wax ring. Make sure you allow plenty of ventilation, as it can get smelly. Clean any remaining wax from around the toilet anchor flange and the drain on the bottom of the toilet with a plastic putty knife to be followed by a rag soaked in mineral spirits. Remove the old mounting bolts and check if there is damage to the flange. After removing the ring, plug the drain right away with a ball of an old towel or rags that is large enough not to fall into the pipe. Remember that not being able to plug the drain would allow toxic sewer gas to enter your house.
  • After you remove the old mounting bolts from the flange, check the component for missing pieces or cracks, and install any spacers or repair parts that are required before inserting the new bolts, as this can cause your toilet to fall over if not properly anchored down. If you have a broken flange, then the anchor bolt would also be useless, so you might want to install a flange repair kit.
  • Press the new wax ring into place around the raised ring at the bottom of the toilet drain on its underside. Make sure you seat it firmly enough to hold it in place, but do not press to a point that it will become out of shape.
    Now, you can lift the toilet with the bowl drain directly over the floor drain and then carefully lower it in place, ensuring that the mounting screws come up through the holes in the base. In a gentle manner, press and rock the toilet slightly to help the new wax ring form a tight seal.
  • After you have positioned the toilet base firmly against the floor, attach the nuts and washers that hold it in place. Tighten them just enough to keep the toilet from rocking and then add in the decorative caps. Stop tightening as soon as the nuts are snugly in place to keep the toilet from tipping. Keep in mind that too much torque can damage the drain flange or crack the porcelain.
  • Finally, apply some fresh thread tape to the tank’s inlet threads and re-attach the water supply line to complete the project. As a precaution, check the toilet base for leaks about an hour after flushing it to make sure that the ring has successfully formed a waterproof seal around the drain.

More Useful Tips

Every time you remove your toilet for some reasons, make sure you replace the wax ring seal. Basically, this component is made from a molded wax loop around a short plastic tube and is inexpensive, pretty foolproof and designed to fit almost any floor drain and toilet. It can also resist bacteria and mold, and retain their sealing properties after years of use. If your toilet wobbles even a little bit from side to side, you may have a broken toilet anchor flange, which means you have to get a flange repair kit.

When it comes to floors, replacing your sheet vinyl flooring with something thicker, like ceramic tiles, will create a gap between the toilet and the anchor flange, which means that you will need a flange spacer to fill the gap.

If you remove your toilet due to a leak at its base or water damage in the ceiling of the floor underneath, you should inspect the damage before heading to the hardware store. For one, you can determine whether you need to cut away the subfloor and replace it.

There you have it. By following the steps presented above and considering the relevant tips, you will be able to install a wax ring on your toilet bowl in no time!

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