Home Improvement

What is a Toilet Flange?

A toilet flange is a type of pipe fitting that connects the toilet’s base to the drainpipe. Toilet flanges, also known as closet flanges, are intended to firmly secure the toilet to the floor and are mostly used for seated use. This is because flush toilets, also known as “water closets,” were utilized regularly. Older toilet flanges are made of cast iron, whereas more current ones are composed of PVC or ABS.

The function of a toilet flange

A pipe fitting known as a closet flange or toilet flange is often composed of PVC, rubber, or metal. Flanges can also be found in stainless steel, brass, or copper. Toilet flanges are available in a variety of materials, styles, and sizes. Flanges are typically three inches wide at the bottom and four inches wide at the top.

Each toilet flange has a flat collar that is encircled by many slots. These holes are designed to receive the bolts needed to correctly secure the flange of the sewer drainpipe to the floor. To further provide protection against leaks, a wax ring is added on top of the flange, between the flange and the toilet. The toilet fastens into the flange itself rather than the floor. If the flange is positioned correctly, toilet waste flows and leaks freely via the sewage drain pipe. As you might guess, a toilet flange that was installed incorrectly or is outdated is among the last things you want in your home.

Do you need a toilet flange?

A calamity is just waiting to happen if there is no toilet flange. A toilet cannot be adequately secured without a flange. A toilet may theoretically be bolted directly to the floor, but this would result in decaying floors and sewer leaks. It is exceedingly difficult to align the toilet with the drainpipe without the flange. For a contemporary bathroom, the toilet flange is necessary.

Replace the toilet flange when:

  • The majority of people immediately think of their wax ring when they notice water gathering around the base of their toilet, and in some ways, they are correct. A toilet with a base leak shows that the wax ring is not sealing, but it could also be an indication of a more serious issue, such as a damaged flange.
  • Your toilet may be unsteady due to broken flanges, loose toilet bolts, or an uneven floor. After a while, the frequent movement of the toilet will cause the wax ring seal to crack, resulting in a leaky toilet.
  • Most address specific problems by replacing the old closet flange with a new one when remodeling a bathroom or installing a new toilet. In this manner, you can avoid having to replace it after a few months or years. The wax ring needs to be replaced every time you replace a toilet flange. Wax rings cannot be used again.

No toilet flange, however, can survive forever. Even the best products may eventually begin to deteriorate. Regular contact with water inevitably leads to wear and tear. The good news is that a high-quality toilet flange rarely needs to be repaired or replaced for a number of years. When that occurs and leads tos significant damage, you might notice leaks at the base of the toilet. The toilet itself may also start to move back and forth and become a little wobbly. If you’ve spotted one of these items in your bathroom, it’s time to check the toilet flange.

A toilet flange replacement procedure

A toilet flange replacement is an easy do-it-yourself project. Almost anyone willing to get their hands filthy can handle it. A plumber can solve the issue quickly if you’d prefer to leave it in the hands of the experts.

If you decide to take on the repair, you should begin by cutting off the water supply to the tank. 

  • Once no water is in the tank, flush the toilet a few times to drain it. After that, cut off the water supply to the tanks.
  • Before unbolting the toilet, spread some old towels on the floor to protect it. The tank will be removed first, followed by the bowl. 
  • On either side of the tank, there are mounting bolts. Lift the tank from the bowl after removing these screws. 
  • After that, remove the nuts from the floor bolts and the bolt caps at the toilet’s base.
  • You might need to shake the toilet slightly to help it come loose from the wax seal before removing it. Skip this step if your toilet is already unfastened.
  • The drainpipe is now open to you, which may be a little unpleasant for you. For this project stage, you can plug the pipe with an old towel to obscure some odors, and it won’t smell.

Remove the wax seal before doing the next step:

  • Removing the bolts holding the old flange to the floor. This must be done before you can remove the old flange. 
  • The majority of flanges may be lifted off the ground after being unscrewed. If this is not the case for you, a plumber might be needed to remove it as soon as possible.
  • To purchase the properly sized replacement, you can measure your old toilet flange or take the flange right to the hardware store. Like the old flange, the new one firmly attaches to the ground. 
  • Using washers and nuts, position the bolts and tighten them. After that, carefully lower the bowl into position while centering the wax ring on the flange. With the help of the mounting bolts on either side, reinstall the toilet bowl first, then the tank.
  • It’s time to reconnect the water supply and try it once more. Flush the toilet after letting the tank fill with water.
  • If you don’t see any leaks, you have just installed a new flange.

Screwed PVC flange pipes

Typically, PVC flange pipes are screwed to the floor and cemented within the toilet drainpipe. A glued-in flange can be removed. 

  • A screwdriver is used to remove the flange screws. 
  • Remove the top portion of the flange flush with the ground using a reciprocating saw. Now, the flange’s sleeve will remain bonded to the pipe. 
  • To stop anything from falling, cover the drainpipe below the sleeve with a towel and plug it off. Be careful not to cut the drainpipe as you make vertical cuts with the saw along the length of the flange sleeve. 
  • The flange sleeve’s various cut parts can be eliminated using a wood chisel and a hammer. 

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