Should A Toilet Flange Go On Top Of The Tile Or Be Flush With The Floor?

Whether you are just replacing the toilet flange or renovating the entire bathroom, you might wonder whether the toilet flange goes on top of the tile or flush with the floor. This article has got you covered! We've researched the best installation methods and explore the details of our findings below. 

Toilet flanges go on top of the tile. Toilet bowls are designed to be secured to the toilet flange with a wax ring. The wax ring seals and connects the flange to the lower level piping. Placing the flange below the tiles or flush with the floor can cause drainage complications. Most commonly, this results in a leak. The last thing you need is toilet water leaking all over a beautifully renovated bathroom.

Tackling the toilet can be tough! That's why you should read through this post to have a good understanding of the installation process before getting started on your DIY project. A toilet flange's primary function is securing the toilet bowl to the underground piping; so, let's take a closer look at how to do that! 

Senior Man Installing a Toilet flange. Should A Toilet Flange Go On Top Of The Tile Or Be Flush With The Floor

Installing A Toilet Flange

A plumber is working on repairing a toilet in a home. He is taking apart the toilet so he can replace the toilet flange.

To be flush with the floor means to be even with the tile. There has been a lot of debate about the proper installation of a toilet flange, but it comes down to this - toilet flanges need to be above tile to prevent leaking and rocking of the toilet. 

Where is the toilet flange located?

The toilet flange, also called the closet flange, is located below the toilet bowl at the base of the toilet. There is a wax ring connecting the base of the toilet to the flange. Most toilets have the flange above the flooring, roughly 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch above the tiles. From there, the flange connects to the underground piping. 

How do you install a toilet flange on tile?

Here are the steps you should take prior to installing the new toilet flange on the tile: 

1. Emptying/Removing the Toilet Tank 

Simply turn off your water supply and flush the toilet until it is empty. 

2. Plugging up the outflow pipe 

Sticking a towel, washcloth, or old shirt in the outflow pipe will spare your nose of misery. As a result, the cloth will block smelly gasses from escaping while you work on your plumbing. 

3. Clean the old flange

Your best bet is by using a paint scraper to scrape the old wax off. If there is a plastic flange glued down to the drainage pipe, it is time to call your local plumber. 

4. Remove the old flange 

If that last removal step has given you any doubts, call a plumber. Damaging the drainage pipes can be a big deal. Otherwise, remove the old flange and continue on to install the new flange.

5. Secure new flange with screws  

Most toilet flanges will have four or six holes for screws. If you are installing a toilet flange on top of new flooring, you will have to drill holes into the tile. Diamond-tipped drill bits are common for drilling through tile, glass, and bone.

Diamond tips are available on Amazon, click here

6. Attach wax ring 

The size of the ring will depend on the existing flange.

7. Reinstall the toilet

Remember not to rock the toilet! Place the toilet down and apply pressure. The tension will help secure the seal. Align all bolts and ensure the toilet is not leaking when the water supply is turned back on. 

If the existing flange is improperly installed or damaged, you may need a toilet flange extender. An extender works best when the flange was set below new flooring. The purpose of the extender is to raise the flange higher without risking the toilet's stability. Extenders come with long bolts that will create an appropriate distance from the floor to the toilet bowl. Without an extender, the lower level flange could cause the toilet to have drainage issues. 

Toilet flange extenders are available on Amazon, click here.

Do plastic flanges work?

When you are replacing a toilet flange, there is a chance you think to yourself, "Do I buy the plastic one?" The answer is no! Plastic flanges get glued down to the drainage pipe. This makes it nearly impossible to change the flange without professional aid. 

Should you tile around a toilet?

It is unanimously agreed upon that tile is the superior bathroom flooring. Adding tiles under the toilet will make the bathroom look more put together and neat. In addition, if the wax seal breaks, the tiles can prevent water from spreading to the walls. The tiling will create a sub-flooring bond with the flange and provide even more protection. Think of this as just another form of tension to hold the toilet's components together. 

Worker cleaning the toilet flange

Now that you know you should be tiling around your toilet, you have to decide what kind of material to use. For bathroom flooring, the following rank as the most popular tiles.  


This is a denser, more resistant tile. This material is perfect for families with kids that are prone to make stains everywhere they aren't supposed to! Porcelain is made from fine clay and definitely requires a diamond tip to drill through.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl tiles are very popular to use for flooring. They are cheap, easy to clean, and can last up to 20 years. On the contrary, vinyl is not as resistant as other forms of tiling. It is susceptible to dents, and sharp objects may puncture through the floor. 


You typically only want to use cement for smaller rooms. Customizations are common among cement tiles; they often have pleasing patterns and designs on them. The one critique, however, is that cement is prone to developing patina. Patina can be toxic when there is a risk of ingesting it but is sometimes even encouraged on cement. The beautiful blues and greens may not be suitable for toddlers whose mouths are third hands. 


These tiles are easy to install without professionals. Both ceramic and porcelain are made from clay, but these tiles are also composed of sand and not quite as dense as porcelain. One benefit of using ceramic tiles in your bathroom is that they are easy to clean!


This natural stone is resistant to mold! Limestone is relatively easy to install. One potential con of using this material is that the tiles need to be sealed immediately after placing. The floor will need to be resealed if it comes into contact with water before properly setting it. 

Should you caulk around a toilet flange?

A removed toilet showing the toilet flange

Caulking around the toilet can be beneficial! There is not much research done on caulking, specifically at the flange, yet when the wax ring is fitted properly, an additional sealant is not needed. Caulk does prove to be good in securing the bottom of the toilet. Caulk is a sealant that can hold the toilet in place. 

How to level a toilet flange?


If a toilet is rocking or feeling unsteady, chances are you need to level your flange. This should be easy, just take a look at the early portion of this article. You basically pretend you are installing a new flange. You cut off the water supply, drain the toilet, stuff the drainage pipe, and take a look at the old toilet flange. Often the problem is that the drill holes did not match up with the screws. Take your diamond-tipped drill and twist the drill through the screw holes several times. When you feel that the screws will properly match up, go ahead and reassemble your toilet. 

When in doubt, contact a plumber

We're proud of you for attempting to install a flange! Just remember, there is no shame in calling a professional if you have safety concerns. For more great plumbing tips, check out our related articles:

Toilet Flange Too High – What To Do?

Leak Under Bathroom Floor – What To Do?

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