How to Replace the Seal on a Bathroom Toilet

Written by maxwell payne
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A toilet seal creates a seal between the toilet bowl drain and the outgoing pipe that transports the discharged toilet water and waste to the sewage system. Over years of usage and contact with water and waste the seal can become brittle and begin to crack and leak. This can lead to waste and water leaking into the space between the floor and ceiling below as well as onto the bathroom floor. Replacing the seal promptly can minimise the risk of more extensive water damage.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plunger
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Small putty knife
  • Old rag
  • Wax toilet bowl ring seal
  • Bathroom silicone caulk

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  1. 1

    Turn the toilet shut off valve until it is completely closed. Flush the toilet and hold down the flush knob for a few seconds to drain water in the tank.

  2. 2

    Lift up the toilet seat and use the plunger to plunge the remaining bowl water down the toilet drain.

  3. 3

    Loosen the nut just above the shut off valve, with the wrench, until the top water flow tube disconnects from the shut off valve (the one that goes from the valve to the toilet).

  4. 4

    Pop off the two plastic pieces on either side of the toilet that cover the floor bolts.

  5. 5

    Use the wrench to remove the nut on each of the floor bolts holding the toilet in place. Lift off the nuts, the bolts remain connected to the floor. Remove the top piece of the toilet that covers the tank.

  6. 6

    Put your arms around the back of the toilet just behind the bowl and carefully lift the toilet up. You may need to pull a bit hard to break the seal under the toilet. Have a friend or family member help you lift the toilet as it can be heavy.

  7. 7

    Place the toilet upside down on the floor away from the toilet drain pipe opening in the floor. When on the floor the bottom of the toilet bowl with the old seal should be clearly visible.

  8. 8

    Take the putty knife and begin scraping off the old seal that may be crusty, cracked, and discoloured. Continue scraping until all of the seal material is gone. Depending on the make of the seal a plastic funnel piece may be inside the bottom of the toilet bowl. Remove this funnel piece.

  9. 9

    Use an old rag to wipe down the remaining stuck pieces of broken seal. Place the new wax tube bowl ring seal into place in the opening on the underside of the toilet bowl, also known as the discharge outlet. Verify the inside funnel piece is inside the discharge outlet and the wax ring is centred around the opening. Push it into place so it does not move.

  10. 10

    Place the toilet right side up and position it so that the two slots on either side of the bottom of the toilet are lined up with the floor bolts. Slowly lower the toilet over the floor opening so the bolts go through the slots.

  11. 11

    Adjust the toilet as needed to ensure the toilet is straight and in position. The wax ring seal will make contact with the drain opening in the floor and create a seal.

  12. 12

    Replace the nuts on the floor bolts and screw them back into place until the toilet is tightly in place. Replace the plastic bolt covers.

  13. 13

    Apply a small amount of silicone caulk around the front and sides of the toilet where the toilet base meets the flooring. Leave the back side uncovered as this allows water to appear behind the toilet to warn of a growing leak in the future.

  14. 14

    Reconnect the water supply valve nut connecting the water flow tube back to the shut off valve tightly. Turn the water supply valve back to the open position.

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