How to Fix a Cracked Toilet Pan

What You'll Need
New wax toilet ring
Towels and/or mop
Crescent wrench
Putty knife

If you suspect that you have a cracked toilet pan, this will almost always be resolved by replacing the wax ring at the base of your toilet. As home projects go, this is one of the more manageable jobs, and you can easily complete the entire job in an afternoon. One thing to be aware of is that you might require two strong individuals to remove and later re-seat the toilet itself, as it will be very heavy.

Step 1: Turn Off Main Water

When you are undertaking any project dealing directly with plumbing or water supply, turning off the water will almost always be your first step. Aside from creating a gigantic mess that you will need to clean up, leaking water can cause flooding that can severely damage your home, requiring more money spent to fix this new problem. Additionally, due to high water pressure contained in many water pipes, failure to turn off your water could cause injuries if a pipe bursts or sprays. To avoid all of these issues, be sure to turn off water before continuing onto the next step. 

Step 2: Flush Toilet

After turning off the main water line into your house, flush the toilet to remove the vast majority of the water. After doing this, place a few towels (perhaps ones that you don’t care too much about) into the toilet bowl to soak up as much remaining water as possible. You will almost certainly leave some water in the toilet somewhere, but it is best to remove as much as possible before proceeding.

Step 3: Remove Toilet from Floor

Next, loosen the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor at its base with a crescent wrench. Once these bolts have been removed, carefully lift the toilet straight up and off of the floor. As noted above, toilets are typically very heavy and awkward, so you may benefit from having a partner assist you with this step.

Step 4: Remove Old Wax Ring

Surrounding the hole that will now be visible on your floor, you will find a wax right that is most likely very dirty and grimy. Your next step will be to completely remove this ring, which can be a messy and unappealing job. The majority of the wax ring can be removed by hand, but you may need to use a putty knife to make sure that all traces of the old wax ring have been removed. 

Step 5: Replace Wax Ring

After purchasing a new wax ring from a hardware or plumbing supply store, install the new ring in the space where the old wax ring used to sit.

Step 6: Re-seat Toilet

With a friend’s assistance, replace the toilet in its original location over the new wax ring. You will want to be sure to lower the toilet straight down over the ring to avoid damaging the ring. The weight of the toilet should create a tight seal between the wax ring and the floor and toilet housing. 

Step 7: Secure Bolts and Test

After re-seating the toilet, you will want to secure the housing to the floor with the bolts you previously removed. After doing so, turn on the water and test the system to make sure everything is working well.