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When and How to Replace or Install Toilet Wax Ring

A wax ring is a seal between the toilet and the sewer pipe. It prevents water leakage from the joint and keeps the sewer odor out of your home. These seals usually last a long time. Of course, like everything else, they must be replaced when they go wrong.

A wax ring is a ring of sticky wax.  These seals dry out over time, crumble and fail. When this happens, water starts leaking from around the toilet’s base. When the seal gets loose, so does the joint between the toilet and the sewer pipe. You will notice the toilet becoming wobbly too. The first thing most people notice is a sewer odor. Once these symptoms appear, things get worse with time.

You can find these toilet wax rings at most hardware stores for as cheap as $10. Only a few standard tools are required to replace them.


  • an adjustable wrench
  • a putty knife
  • a bucket
  • some towels/rags or paper towels
  • a wet/dry shop vacuum (optional, to make the job cleaner)

How Long Does a Wax Ring Last?

How long does a wax ring last? Indefinitely. Wax, unlike rubber, will not deteriorate. Leaks from the wax ring are caused by other issues with the toilet that damage the wax ring. The only time that people typically replace wax rings is when they replace their toilet. When replacing a toilet, always replace the wax ring with a new one.

Prepare to Replace a Toilet Wax Ring or Install Toilet Wax Ring

toilet wax ring - install toilet wax ring - how long does a wax ring last

  • Close the water supply to the toilet located behind and below the toilet. The valve can be closed by hand. If you find it difficult to turn, use a rag to hold it firmly. Apply force gently to avoid breaking it.
  • Flush the toilet. Get the bucket handy near the flush tank and disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the flush tank. Use the bucket to collect the little water left in the line.
  • Empty and dry the bowl. It will be easier if you have a wet/dry shop vac. If you don’t have one, use rags and towels to get the remaining water out of the bowl. The bowl and tank have to be dry.



Removing the Toilet

Now you are ready to remove the toilet. If protective caps cover the bolts at the toilet’s base, remove them first.  Then use an adjustable wrench to remove the bolts and washers.

With the bolts removed, there is nothing that holds the toilet in place except the stickiness of the wax ring. You can now gently rock the toilet a bit to loosen it. Next, get a good grip near the center by keeping the bowl’s weight, and the tank distributed evenly. Pull straight up and lift with the knees. Put it aside gently.

Cleaning up the Joint

clean old wax ringThe replacement job begins here. You can now see the pipe-fitting in the floor, called the toilet flange. Remove as much of the old wax ring as possible from the bottom of the toilet. Use a putty knife. Also, clean and dry the flange thoroughly before preparing it to install the new wax ring. Ensure that the flange is in good shape and not dented or damaged. If in doubt, get it examined by R&R Plumber at (951) 492-8609.




New Toilet Wax Ring

New Toilet Wax RingRead the instructions on the packaging before you affix the ring. Some wax rings have adhesive. Various brands may be slightly different in design. You can either attach the new wax ring to the bottom of the toilet or the top of the flange. You can do whichever way you find easier. Lower the toilet carefully onto the flange with the new wax ring. Replace the nuts on the bolts.  Finally, applied a thin bead of caulking was between the toilet and the floor to prevent lateral movement of the toilet. You are 99% finished with replacing a toilet a ring or install toilet wax ring.

Press the Toilet in Place

After putting the toilet on the flange, close the lid and sit down to push the toilet down and compress the new wax ring. Shift your weight equally in all directions to press down the toilet by evenly compressing the ring. This will help get the base of the toilet flush to the floor.

Finishing the Job

Replace the mounting bolts and bolt covers. Attach the water supply line back to the tank and open the water valve. Test your job by doing a few flushes. Inspect the joint for any signs of leaks. It is as simple as that.

If you discover any damage to the toilet or the flange or are in doubt at any point during the job, call your local R & R Plumber at (951) 492-8609 for expert emergency service. We can install toilet wax ring affordably.


How to Stop Your Toilet From Leaking Around the Base2023-03-15T01:06:47+00:00
  1. Check For Condensation.
  2. Tighten the Tee Bolts.
  3. Disconnect and Remove the Toilet.
  4. Remove the Wax Ring, and Install a New One.
  5. Reinstall the Toilet.
  6. Connect the Water Line.

If you fail to fix it, call R&R Murrieta Plumber to fix your toilet keeps running.

What does it mean when your toilet is leaking from the bottom?2023-03-15T01:04:28+00:00

toilet leaking from the bottomThe leak is typically from the seal under the toilet failing. Wait until a new puddle appears on the floor. Check to make sure the water is seeping out from under the toilet. Make sure it is not leaking from a loose supply tube, faulty shutoff valve, cracked tank, or sweaty bowl.

How long should a toilet wax ring last?2023-03-15T01:07:29+00:00

toilet wax ringWax seals are designed to last as long as a toilet does. You can expect a life of up to 30 years or more! Normally, you will never find trouble from wax seal failure. When they do fail, if the issue is not addressed quickly, you will face a still expense for repair.

What are the Signs of a Bad Wax Ring?2023-03-15T01:07:53+00:00

toilet wax ring - bad wax ringWhen a wax ring fails, it is easy to identify. Water leaks out from around the base of the toilet. Sometimes, you will also notice the toilet feeling wobbly when the wax ring comes loose.

Why replace a toilet wax ring?2023-03-15T01:08:21+00:00

toilet wax ringA toilet’s wax ring is used to create an airtight seal to prevent water and sewer gas from escaping from the toilet. When the wax ring goes bad, it needs to be replace quickly to prevent leaks. By knowing the signs of a bad wax ring, you can avoid seriously expensive repairs.

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