Just the other day, I was cleaning the downstairs bathroom and noticed a rather large wet ring on my beautiful hardwood floor right beneath the toilet in our downstairs guest bathroom. As I investigated further, I realized that the leak was coming from beneath the toilet itself and that the wetness had been wicking its way from the wood underneath the toilet. In other words, the wax ring had failed.
So my husband and I started the sticky process of changing the wax ring. I personally recommend buying the whole kit versus just the ring itself. In other projects, I have had bolts break, nuts rust to nothing, and so much more. Better to be prepared than to have to make multiple trips to the store. Also, there are two sizes. Most often the thicker is the best but this depends on your toilet. If you are not sure, buy both. Once you get the toilet off, you will be able to determine which to use. Return the other when done.
Grab Your Tools
You will need:
- Towels – Lots of Towels
- Trash Bag (for old wax)
- A Second Pair of Hands
Step One: Drain the Toilet
Unless you want a small flood, turn off the water supply line to the toilet and flush the toilet repeatedly until, the water is gone. Unscrew the supply line from the base of the toilet and drain it into a bucket. I recommend leaving the supply line drapped in the bucket until you are done. Lay several towels around the toilet and in the location of where you will put the toilet.
Step Two: Remove the Toilet
With the toilet empty, unscrew the toilet from the floor. Carefully remove the toilet from the base of the floor. You may have some excess drainage from the base (reason for the towels). Gently, rest the toilet at an angle. The second pair of hands will need to support it. Be careful not to crack the toilet. In my case, I recommend a husband for the heavy lifting here. Mine came in amazingly handy.
Step Three: Remove the Old Wax Ring
Here is where the sticky begins. Using your scrapper, remove all the excess old wax from the floor. Be sure you are wearing gloves…obvious reasons. Carefully remove the ring from the toilet and scrap all the wax off the toilet base. This does not have to be perfect but it should be fairly clean. And no, its not so fun. I got suck with this part.
Step Four: New Ring Please
So this part is actually pretty easy…and well…was my job in this two person presto chango routine. Take the new wax ring and carefully remove the plastic cover. We used a pre-formed ring with the “washer” insert to know exactly where to guide the ring onto the toilet. Basically, you want to center it underneath the toilet where the hole is and press firmly. Then wiggle and twist it slightly left and right to make sure you get a good seal. Don’t alter its shape.
Step Five: Positioning the Toilet
Back to the heavy lifting and my husband’s job. Position the toilet over the hole in the floor and carefully lower it into place. The bolts will penetrate the wax ring and push through the side holes on the base of the toilet. Press down until the toilet is level and firm against the floor. This will squish (such a wonderful technical term) the wax ring and create a solid seal.
Step Six: Secure the Commode
Once in place, level and facing, well, forward, put the plastic washer, then metal washer over the bolt. Secure the toilet in place with the nut. You want to make sure the seal is tight. Keep turning until nut is finger tight. Then, using your wrench, continue to tighten until the toilet does not rock, even just a little rock is too much. However, stop tightening once snuggly in place. If you tighten them too much you could crack the porcelain or break the bolts or flange (the plastic base attached to the floor beneath your toilet).
Clean up any excess and reattach the decorative caps. Attach the supply line back to the toilet and turn on the water. No leaks and you are done!