How to Replace a Toilet Seal

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Replacement toilet seal (wax ring)
Adjustable wrench
Rubber gloves
Putty knife or scraper
Mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol

If your toilet rocks back and forth, or if there is a leak under the base, there is a good chance that you need to replace the toilet seal or wax ring. Over time, a wax ring can become deformed or damaged and will need to be replaced. Replacing a faulty toilet seal is an easy DIY project. This simple how-to guide will show you everything you need to know. Let's get started.

Step 1 - Shut Off Water to Toilet

Shut off the water to the toilet by turning the inlet water valve at the base of the wall directly underneath the toilet tank. When shutting off the water, you should turn the valve clockwise until it is completely closed.

Step 2 - Drain Toilet

In order to drain the water in the toilet, simply use the flush handle to flush the toilet. Once the toilet is flushed, the tank should not refill if the water has been shut off.

Step 3 - Remove Toilet Anchor Bolts

On most toilets, there are two anchor bolts installed on both sides of the toilet. These bolts are usually covered with plastic dome caps that can be removed with a flat head screwdriver. Remove the caps, and then use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the anchor bolts that hold the toilet into place.

Step 4 - Remove Toilet

Remove the toilet by lifting it off of the anchor bolts, and then turn the toilet upside down so that you can reach the base of the toilet. Use a putty knife or scraper to scrape away any old wax or dirt and grime that may have built up on the base of the toilet.

Step 5 - Remove Old Wax Ring

While wearing rubber gloves, remove the old wax ring from the drain flange. The wax will probably be greasy, grimy, and fairly disgusting, so make sure you use gloves. Discard the old wax ring.

Step 6 - Clean Flange Area

Use a putty knife or scraper to scrape away any excess wax. Then use an old rag and some warm water to wash away any wax residue or buildup that may be left.

Step 7 - Install New Toilet Seal

Lay the new toilet seal in place over the drain flange. Refer to the diagram on the packaging on how to properly place the wax ring.

Step 8 - Replace Toilet

Set the toilet back into place slowly and over the two anchor bolt positions. Then apply even pressure on the toilet so that it seals with the new wax ring. Don't tilt or rock the toilet while you are setting it on the new toilet seal, as doing so will cause the new wax ring to seal improperly. Reattach the nuts to the anchor bolts and replace the plastic cover caps.

Step 9 - Turn On Water

Open the inlet water valve by turning the handle counterclockwise. The toilet should now be working properly, and there should no longer be any leaks from the wax ring.