Beneath the bathroom toilet, covered with a layer of wax, lies one of the more important pieces of the plumbing puzzle: the closet flange.
This metal or plastic fitting attaches to the sewer drain pipe and keeps the stool in place while ensuring that things flow away as designed. When it comes to replacing a broken closet flange, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Choosing the right option can make an unpleasant job a lot easier.
Step 1: Turn off the water to the toilet, drain the stool and disconnect the supply line. Unbolt the toilet from the floor and remove the entire toilet.
The closet flange on a toilet is a metal or plastic fitting that attaches to the sewer drain pipe and keeps the stool in place while ensuring that things flow away as designed
Step 2: Use a putty knife, mild detergent and disposable toweling to clean away the remnants of the wax ring. Take time to clean the underside of the stool and the surrounding floor as well.
Step 3: Assess the situation, measure the inner diameter of the sewer pipe and head to the hardware store for the necessary repair parts. If possible, bring along a photo of the existing flange.
Step 4: For broken flanges that are still securely attached to the sewer pipe, choose a spanner flange to replace the missing or broken pieces of the flange. These half-moon-shaped metal pieces slide under the existing flange and can be screwed to the sub floor for extra stability.
Step 5: For broken flanges with a stable floor around them, choose a repair ring to cover or replace the flange collar. These rings are typically made of thin metal and fit directly over the existing flange collar, eliminating the need to remove the collar remains.
Step 6: Flange collars with extensive damage will need to be removed and replaced. Use a hammer and chisel to break away old cast-iron flanges. Use an internal pipe cutter attached to a power drill to effectively cut away PVC flanges from the inside of the sewer pipe.
Step 7: Once the old flange has been removed, replace it with a new flange that fits correctly on the inside or the outside of the sewer pipe, depending on the situation. The easiest option is a twist-on tapered flange, which is inserted into the existing pipe and then twisted down flush with the floor. A rubber seal on the outer edge of the flange works its way up to seal and secure the flange into position.
— Have a home improvement question for the Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at email@example.com.
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