How to Install a Toilet Wax Ring – Properly!

Luckily, it is not difficult to install a toilet wax ring. Why is this good news? Well, there are a number of reasons you may need to complete this simple project. Your toilet seal has cracked or loosened and the toilet is leaking, you have decided to renovate the bathroom with includes a new floor and/or a new toilet or both. When this happens you will need to tackle this somewhat messy task. 

Do it right and you will likely never think about it again. Do it incorrectly, and you could be looking at anything from annoying wet floors to ruining your bathroom right down to a crumbling subfloor. 

Tools and Materials

  • a new wax ring
  • rags or sponges
  • newspaper or padding
  • scraper
  • a solvent such as WD-40
  • disinfectant
  • wrench
  • hack saw
  • caulk 

Preparation for Toilet Wax Ring Installation

Make sure that you have rags and/or sponges ready to clean up excess water. Spread padding or newspaper over the the section of the room where the toilet will rest after removal. Other than being prepared for some wet mess, there's not much preparation necessary. 

Get the Toilet Ready to be Removed

Flush the toilet to drain the tank. Flush the tank several time if necessary. Then use a sponge or rags to remove water from the bowl. 

Secure the toilet seat and lid with tape. 

Loosen and remove the nuts around the bottom of the toilet. If the nuts are rusted remove with a hacksaw. 

Shut off the Water Sources

Turn off the water source for the toilet. Then undo the compression fitting to detach the supply-line from the shutoff valve.  

Remove the Toilet

A toilet is heavy so assistance may be needed when lifting the toilet for removal. Carefully twist the toilet to loosen it from the old seal. Lift the toilet and place it on the padding with the base face up. Toilets are easily broken so place it gently on the padded area of the floor. 

Prepare the Bottom of the Toilet for the New Ring

Now clean the bottom of the toilet with a disinfectant. Use a scraper or solvent like WD-40 to remove the wax left by the old ring and spray with a disinfectant when you are done. 

Make sure that there is no dirt or wax left on the bottom. If the bottom is not cleaned properly the new wax seal may not stick. 

Place the New Wax Ring and Replace the Bolts

Put the new wax ring in place. The ring must fit firmly so use a twisting motion and light pressure to properly seat the ring. 

Also, remove any remaining bolts and clean the notches. 

Replace the Toilet

Place the toilet on top new wax seal. Make sure that the bolt-holes in the bottom of the toilet are aligned to the holes in the floor. 

Once the toilet seat is aligned use your body weight to compress the wax ring. It is often helpful to rock the toilet gently side to side to secure the seal. 

Now bolt the toilet in place. If you installed a new floor you might need longer bolts to re-attach the toilet. Be careful to not over-tighten the bolts or the toilet base may crack. 

Carefully saw off the bolts if they are too long for the bolt-caps and replace the bolt-caps. 

After the Toilet has been Replaced

Reattach the supply line to the shutoff valve and turn on the water source. Caulk around the base of the toilet. Check the toilet several days after the wax ring installation and if it is unsteady gently re-tighten the bolts. 

There, you did it! The bathroom is once again fully functional and you can take in dinner and a movie with the money you saved.


Posted in News