What is a Toilet Flange?

May04 By Plumbing
Man repairing toilet

Also known as a closet flange, a toilet flange is a pipe fitting that secures a toilet to the outflow   pipe in the floor. Toilet flanges are made of rubber, PVC, or metal and are secured with bolts or screws. A rubber gasket or wax ring creates a tight seal between the flange and the toilet.

Can a Toilet be Installed Without a Closet Flange?

In theory, it’s possible to attach a toilet directly to the floor or subfloor without a closet flange. However, it won’t take long for the toilet base to start leaking. In other words, you never want to install a toilet without a closet flange!

How to Tell if a Toilet Flange Needs to be Replaced

Watch for these signs that your toilet flange is damaged:

  • The toilet rocks on its base.
  • The bathroom floor looks wet or feels squishy around the toilet.
  • You don’t know if or when the flange has ever been replaced.
  • Your bathroom smells like a sewer.

How to Install a Toilet Flange

Whether you’re installing a toilet for the first time or replacing a worn-out closet flange, be sure to buy a replacement size that matches the drainpipe’s diameter. You can find toilet flanges at your local hardware store.

Before you install a new toilet flange, you must disconnect the water supply and remove the toilet. Next, plug the outflow pipe with a rag to prevent sewer odors from entering the bathroom. Then, follow these steps to install a new flange:

  • Assess the old flange for signs of failure. If a defective wax ring or gasket is to blame, you may be able to replace this component and keep the existing flange.
  • If you decide to replace the entire flange, consider leaving the old one in place and gluing the new one on top, as long as the flange sits flush with the finished floor. Otherwise, you’ll need to remove the old flange.
  • Insert the closet bolts from your repair kit into the closet bolt slots so that they stand upright. This is where the toilet will attach to the flange.
  • Place the flange onto the outflow pipe and screw the flange lip into the bathroom floor.
  • Tip the toilet to one side and insert the replacement rubber gasket or wax ring into position underneath the toilet. You can also set the gasket or ring on the flange.
  • Remove the rag from the outflow pipe and throw it away.
  • Set the toilet on top of the flange and attach nuts to the closet bolts, securing the toilet in place. Finally, restore the water supply.

Don’t feel up for replacing the toilet flange yourself? The plumbers at Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating can tackle the job for you. We provide a range of toilet repair services to keep your plumbing flowing smoothly. To request plumbing services in Seattle, WA and surrounding counties, please contact us online or call (206) 350-0079 today.

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