Is your toilet rocking or leaking water around the base? If so, your toilet flange may be too high. A toilet flange that is too high creates a gap between the toilet base and the floor. If this is the problem with your toilet, you're in luck. We've done the research so that you can fix your too-high toilet flange yourself.
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There are three things you can do to fix the problem. In order from the easiest to the last resort, they are:
- Fill the gap with grout
- Raise the floor
- Replace the whole flange
If your toilet flange is too high and isn't fixed properly, it could cause serious damage to your floors. When the toilet rocks back and forth, it could cause the floor to become warped. If water is leaking, it can break the floor and cause mold to form. Keep reading for more detailed instructions about each fix.
Fill The Gap With Grout
This is the easiest and most expensive way to repair a toilet flange that is too high. It is very effective and is a good option if you're short on time or money. To do this, you will need:
- A small bowl
- Rubber shims
1. Mix Your Grout
If you've never used grout before, you'll notice that most types come as a powder. You will need to mix it with water to form a paste. For this project, you won't need a lot of grout. What you can mix up in a small bowl such as a cereal bowl should be plenty.
You will need to mix six parts grout to one part water. Too much water could cause the grout to be too liquidy, which will take a long time to dry or be ineffective altogether. Note that this will not make a lot of paste, but it should be plenty to fix the problem. If not, you can always mix more.
2. Set Your Toilet in Place
If your toilet rocks back and forth, you will need to make sure to set it into place. Make sure the toilet is straight before you attempt to fix it. Once it is set into place, use four rubber shims to keep it in place while it is being fixed. Just wedge them in between the toilet and the floor in different places around the toilet.
These rubber shims work well for leveling a toilet.
3. Apply the Grout
Once the shims are in place, you can begin to apply the grout to the gap. You should apply the grout everywhere around the toilet EXCEPT for where the shims are. Once you've grouted around the whole toilet, allow 24 hours for the grout to dry.
After 24 hours, remove the rubber shims. Then grout the areas where you removed the shims. Once again, wait 24 hours for the grout to dry. If you can't wait 24 hours, you can speed up drying by adding water to a spray bottle and spraying a little on the grout. Once it is dry, tighten the nuts at the toilet's back to help it stay in place. The gap should now be sealed, and the toilet shouldn't move or leak.
Replace the Whole Flange
If the grout doesn't fix the problem and you're handy with tools, it may be just as easy to replace the whole flange. This will involve taking out the old flange and installing a new one. To do this, you will need:
- A new flange
- Sharp blade
- PVC saw
1. Break Off the Old Flange
Before you can break off the old flange, you will need to remove the whole toilet by loosening the nuts at the toilet's back and lifting it off. Then use a chisel and a hammer to remove the flange's outer part, being careful not to damage the pipe underneath.
2. Remove the Fitting
Next, you will need to remove the fitting from the inside of the pipe. To do this, use the blade to score the pipe in two places. On the inside of the fitting, make two cuts that are about an inch apart. Use a screwdriver for popping out the fitting. If it breaks, it's okay. Just slide the screwdriver under the other pieces to pop them out.
3. Grind Down the Pipe, If Necessary
Sometimes the flange is too high because the attached pipe extends above the floor. If this is the case, you will need to use a PVC saw to grind down the pipe until it is even with the floor.
4. Install the New Flange
When purchasing a new flange, try to find one with a water-tight seal. To install the new flange, just insert it into the pipe. Then drill four holes into the floor to secure the flange. Lastly, replace the toilet onto the flange and tighten the nuts to secure it into place.
Raise the Floor
As a last resort, you can always raise the floor of your bathroom. However, this method can be expensive, time-consuming, and may involve temporarily removing other bathroom fixtures as well. This may be a method you want to try only if you're planning on remodeling your bathroom anyway. If this sounds like a good option for you, here is what you'll need to do.
- Remove the toilet.
- Measure the flange's height above the floor.
- Purchase tile or another flooring that has the same thickness as the measurement you took.
- Remove the old flooring.
- Lay down the new flooring.
Watch the video below to learn how to replace bathroom tile.
See More: How To Remove Bathroom Tiles (7 Steps)
What Does A Toilet Flange Do?
When repairing your toilet flange, you may be wondering what its purpose is. The toilet flange helps to secure the toilet to the drainpipe on the floor. Screws or bolts help to secure the flange to the floor, while a wax ring or rubber gasket helps to seal the flange to the toilet, eliminating water leaks. Since toilets were traditionally called water closets, you may hear a toilet flange referred to as a closet flange.
How Long Does A Toilet Flange Last?
There's no definite length of time for how long a toilet flange should last. But as long as the toilet flange is installed properly, meaning it is secure and level with the floor, it should last a long time. Most toilets, including flanges, can last up to 30 years.
In fact, if you notice water leaking around the base of the toilet, the most common culprit is not the toilet flange at all but the wax ring that helps to seal the toilet to the flange. The wax ring can last up to 30 years as well, but over time, it is possible for them to dry and crumble. It will need to be replaced by removing the toilet and the old wax ring, installing a new one, and putting the toilet back.
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What Happens If Toilet Flange Is Broken?
Just like toilet flanges installed too high, a loose or broken toilet flange can cause the toilet to leak from the bottom. If your toilet flange is broken and leaking, you are at risk of water damage to the floor. This could cause mold, mildew, or structural damage. You may even experience flooding or a sewage smell coming from your bathroom. To repair a broken toilet flange, follow the steps above under "Replace the Whole Flange" or call a plumber.
Remember that your toilet flange could be too high if your toilet moves or leaks around the base. Repairing a toilet flange that is too high is not a hard or expensive task. You can either grout around the toilet, replace the flange, or raise the floor. If you're uncomfortable fixing it yourself or you're unsure of the problem, it's best to call in a plumber. Thanks for reading!