How to install a toilet wax ring in a bathroom: 4 Easy Steps

Installing a new toilet wax ring can be a challenge, and there are many things that can go wrong. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a leaky toilet base, broken fixtures, or even sewage pouring from the toilet.

Learning how to install a toilet wax ring will save you from these unpleasant problems. Let’s sure that you get it right. Wax rings are mainly used for standing toilets so we are going to focus on these here.


What is a toilet wax seal ring? Best option explained

A toilet wax ring is a piece of wax that is placed around the base of the toilet where water from the toilet bowl enters the drainpipe. This item sits on top of the sewer toilet flange, that is bolted to the floor.  It forms a seal between your toilet and the sewage system.

The toilet wax is the yellow part. It holds the toilet and the toilet flange together. The toilet flange is connected to the drain.

It prevents sewer gases from entering the drainpipe at the bottom of your toilets. It consists of 2 pieces: a piece of plastic and then the wax ring over this. Wax is used because it is a strong material that can last a long time. It has proven its effectiveness in the past few decades.  

There are standard was rings and extra thick wax rings. They are being used less often now as new materials such as types of rubber are being used. Wax rings are quite inflexible and can break if they get pushed. This can lead to big problems as you can’t see this item and it can leak for a long time before you notice what is going on. 

What should you do before installing a toilet wax ring in a bathroom?

Before you attempt to install a toilet wax ring, there are a few things that should be done. 

First, purchase an adjustable wrench so that you can untighten the bolts of the toilet. A socket wrench might be needed for bolts that are harder to reach. 

A scraper and hacksaw are also needed. Plumbers always carry a knife so you can get one as well.

A toilet plunger is needed as well. Sponges are helpful during this job. 

Second, make sure that you have a bucket, some towels, gloves, and protective glasses. It is possible that sewage pours out over you when you open the toilet up. You might want to cover parts of the room with plastic bags, just to be sure. 

You will have to place the toilet on the floor so you can get a very big bucket or use plastic and towels. 

How to install a toilet wax ring

Installing a new toilet wax ring can be difficult, but the work will be worth it in the long run.

Step 1: Remove the toilet

In most instances, you have to remove the toilet before you can install the wax ring. This is done by turning off the water (a valve is often present on the water line next to the toilet or in the toilet tank). Give it a good flush and clean the toilet tank.

Remove the water supply line. You can get the water out of the bowl with a plunger and sponge or towels. This makes sure that you don’t get water all over your floor.

Now we can get started.  Once this is done, you start to untighten the bolts that hold the toilet down. It is possible that you have to remove some plastic pieces before you can reach this. It can be difficult to do if these bolts have rusted.

Once these are removed, you can give the toilet a slight nudge. Be careful when you do this! If the toilet doesn’t, move, you can use a screwdriver or other tools to get it moving. You can use a knife to remove chalk. In most instances, you will be able to take the toilet off quite easily.

If the wax is still strong, it can be harder and you have to pull. Be careful though as toilets can break! Especially the piece that goes on top of the toilet tank is breakable.

A great way to reduce the mess is to use a gel to solidify the water in the tank. The water gets absorbed by crystals and makes it easier to clean up and get the job done.

Step 2: Install the wax ring

The next step is to turn the toilet on its side. It can be a great idea to do this in the garden as you have more space there. Note that the toilet can exist out of two pieces (the bowl and water tank). Be careful when you move this type of toilet as it can come apart. The next step is to remove the wax ring. You might need a tool to pry it loose from the toilet and floor.

Wear gloves when you do this. Once it has been removed, you can clean this area of the toilet. Be sure to check if the area around the sewer flange is dry and clean as you might to do further repairs here, as seen below. 

Installing the wax ring in the toilet is quite straightforward. Hold the plastic packaging in your hand so that you don’t touch the ring. Cut the packaging open and push the wax ring into your toilet. Make sure that it fits quite tightly.

Read the instructions on the wax ring carefully as some need to use liquids on the wax ring. Some people prefer to insert the ring into the sewer flange instead of the toilet. This can work as well but it can be challenging to get it aligned.

 It is a great idea to take pictures during this process. This makes sure that you know what to do when you get stuck. Every toilet is different and there might be some unique pieces that are hard to put together without pictures. 

Step 3: Place the toilet back 

Once this is in place, you can put the toilet back in place. Be sure to fully insert the wax ring in the plastic piece on the floor (the sewer flange). There are often pins that align with your toilet so it is quite easy to do this. If not, you might have to add these in the sewer flange.

Add some pressure to the toilet. The last step is to add the cap rings and washers and tighten the bolts. Don’t overtighten them and make sure that your toilet is standing level. 

Step 4: Turn the water supply back on.

Install the water line again. Finally, you can restart the water supply by turning the valve. Flush a few times to see if everything is working properly.

It is a great idea to monitor the area around your toilet for a few weeks after installation to see if nothing is leaking. Water damage can be difficult to detect so it is essential that you pay attention to this. 

Most people should just call a plumber that does it for them. 

How to choose a wax ring

If you’re looking for a wax ring, there are many things to consider. The first thing to consider is size. It’s important that the wax ring you purchase has a larger diameter than your existing toilet. This will help prevent leaks while also allowing more water to flow in and out of the toilet. There are universal rings available so these are often the way to go.

The next factor to consider is how long the wax ring will last. A good rule of thumb is that the longer it lasts, the more money it will save you in replacement costs.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 3-6 years, but some can last up to 10 years or even longer so it’s important to do your research before choosing one. Given that wax rings are quite cheap, it is best to opt for a big brand such as Danco or Fluidmasters.

You should also think about what material you want your wax ring made of. If you’re not too concerned with cost and would rather have one made out of rubber or plastic instead, these can be just as effective as wax ones. A lot of plumbers prefer these over wax toilet rings as these can break quite easily while rubber rings are more flexible and can handle some movement. 

You also have to check what is included with your wax ring. Some manufacturers add bolts and pieces of plastic that make it easier to install the wax ring.  It is best to get a wax ring with a plastic piece in it. This makes it last longer. 

In this post, we have explained how you can install a wax ring in your toilet. This takes several steps but can be done on your own if you have some experience with it. Otherwise, it is best to call the plumber as this is a delicate repair.

Can a toilet wax ring melt?

While it is not common, it can happen. The melting point of wax is above 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Under normal situations, your toilet shouldn’t get this hot. For this reason, the wax shouldn’t melt.

That being said, it is often recommended by installers of radiant (or floor) heating to use a rubber ring instead of a wax ring. This makes sure that your wax ring doesn’t melt.

A melted wax ring can result in a lot of problems such as a leaky toilet base. Wastewater smells and can be very damaging to your house. For this reason, it is important that this is avoided.

Toilet wax rings have been used for several decades and they have proven their reliability. If they break it is generally because the toilet started to rock. This can break the seal as the toilet starts to move around.

In some states, a licensed plumber has to replace the toilet wax seal. This is an essential part and has to be installed correctly. In some cases, it is necessary to install a toilet flange extender as the toilet flange has been installed on the subfloor instead of on the floor.

The extender makes sure that the toilet and the wax create a good seal.