How to change a toilet wax ring that keeps leaking
Toilet wax rings are intended as an effective seal between the toilet drain and the sewer flange. Wax rings are available is two general types: a basic beeswax ring intended for most common toilet installations and a bell-fitted beeswax ring used for conditions where the floor surface is above the toilet flange level.
Whether the existing wax ring was installed incorrectly or is simply decomposed from age, the procedure for properly replacing the wax ring is an easy project and will reseal the toilet to stop the leaking.
Shut off the water supply to the toilet at the angle valve below the toilet tank by turning the valve clockwise until snug.
Flush the toilet to drain the water from the tank.
Detach the supply line from the wall valve to the tank by turning the hexagonal nut at the valve-end of the line with the adjustment wrench. Place a small bucket or container under the valve to catch the small amount of water left in the line.
- Toilet wax rings are intended as an effective seal between the toilet drain and the sewer flange.
- Shut off the water supply to the toilet at the angle valve below the toilet tank by turning the valve clockwise until snug.
Pull off the plastic caps covering the floor bolts on each side of the toilet’s base, then remove the nuts and washers using an adjustable wrench.
Lift the toilet straight up to detach it from the existing wax ring and sewer flange. Rock the toilet slightly from side to side to loosen it from the existing wax ring.
Rest the detached toilet on its side to access the drain opening in the base, then remove any remnants of the beeswax ring still adhered to the toilet base using a putty knife.
Remove all of the old beeswax ring from the floor flange using a putty knife. Prevent any beeswax or debris from falling down the sewer drain by pushing wadded piece of cotton rag into the drain hole.
Remove the paper cover from the new beeswax ring and position it flat-side down and centred on the toilet flange, making sure the two brass floor bolts are positioned in the flange grooves parallel to the rear wall line.
- Pull off the plastic caps covering the floor bolts on each side of the toilet’s base, then remove the nuts and washers using an adjustable wrench.
- Rest the detached toilet on its side to access the drain opening in the base, then remove any remnants of the beeswax ring still adhered to the toilet base using a putty knife.
Remove the cotton rag from the sewer drain hole.
Position the toilet directly over the sewer drain, then lower the toilet straight down onto the new beeswax ring, guiding the floor bolts through the holes on each side of the base. Slowly press down on the toilet bowl rim until the toilet sits flat onto the floor surface.
Secure the toilet by reinstalling the floor bolt washers and nuts on each side of the toilet base using an adjustable wrench and tightening until snug.
Wrap the wall valve’s connection threads with Teflon thread tape and reconnect the water supply line from the toilet to the wall valve using an adjustable wrench, then turn the valve on to fill the toilet’s tank with water for normal use.
- Standard toilets are heavy and awkward to manoeuvre, so enlist the assistance of a helper in removing and repositioning the toilet into place.
- Remove the toilet and verify the toilet flange connection required prior to buying the wax ring to ensure using the appropriate type for your specific situation.
- Be careful not to overtighten the nuts on the floor bolts when reinstalling the toilet. Overtightening can break the china base of the toilet.
Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.