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Toilet Repair – Replacing the Wax Ring

There is water all over the floor around the toilet. Don’t freak! Water leaking from the base of your toilet may not be as bad as it seems. One problem may be a cracked, broken wax seal. See below for step-by-step instructions on how to repair a wax ring and fix your toilet.

Toilet Wax Ring

Replacing the wax ring on your broken toilet can be a good do-it-yourself project. You can replace the wax ring with a little bit of knowledge, a little bit of muscle, and a few simple steps.

The seal on the bottom of your toilet is a gasket made of a ring of wax. You can purchase the wax ring at local hardware stores. Make sure to keep your wax ring in the fridge here in Texas until you are ready for your project. Be sure to allow time for the ring to warm up to at least 70 degrees so the wax is pliable when you are ready to fix your toilet.

  1. Be sure to shut off the water supply. This is usually right at the toilet.
  2. Flush the toilet once or twice to empty the tank and bowl. Use a sponge to soak up and remove any remaining water in the tank and bowl.
  3. Remove the caps over the nuts that hold the base of the bowl to the floor.
  4. Remove the nuts.
  5. Disconnect the water supply line.
  6. Gently rock the toilet back and forth to break the seal and any caulking present. Here is where the muscle comes in! Use care to grip the bowl and not the tank. If you grab the tank, you could break or crack the tank where it is bolted to the bowl.
  7. Remove the remnants of the old seal from both mating surfaces.
  8. Unwrap the new wax seal and place it over the flange on the floor with the round side up, exactly centered over the opening. Be sure both bolts are in place.
  9. Lift the toilet and place it over the flange and seal, keeping the toilet as level as possible.
  10. Ensure the bowl is level. You may want to actually sit on the toilet to help it seal and make sure it’s level.You can use shims to level your toilet.
  11. Replace the nuts. Tighten the nuts by hand to avoid cracking the base of the bowl.
  12. Reconnect water line if you disconnected it.
  13. Turn on water supply to let tank fill.
  14. Flush the toilet and check for any leaks.
  15. Apply silicone caulk as needed to junction of bowl and floor.

Congratulations! You just replaced the wax ring and fixed your leaking toilet!

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