a toilet flange with a toilet wax ring seal on a bathroom floor

Toilet Flange

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/9/2021

Jud J. Firestone Plumbing

When it comes to toilets, most of us prefer to get on, get done, and get gone. But, if you’re unlucky enough to have to deal with a broken one, you’re going to want to be prepared with a few basics. For example, if you suddenly have toilet water on the floor or your throne starts wobbling, you’re probably going to want to inspect your toilet flange and your toilet wax ring.


A toilet flange, sometimes referred to as a closet flange, is a special pipe fitting that does two jobs. It both mounts the toilet to the floor and connects it to the drain pipe. During installation, a toilet flange is mounted on top of the floor and fused to the drain pipe. A toilet wax ring is then placed between the flange and the bottom of the toilet to create a strong seal. The toilet is bolted to the flange to keep it sturdy and in place. For the most part, they remain intact for many years, but overtime they breakdown and need to be replaced.

What Causes A Toilet Wax Ring To Leak?

If you’re noticing water building up around the base of your toilet, there is a chance you’ll need to replace your toilet wax ring. Check first that it’s not the typical sweaty condensation that toilets are sometimes prone to. If you see water coming from the base of the toilet, where it meets the floor, it means your flange is loose or your ring has probably gone bad:

  • Toilet wax rings can get old and lose their pliability. When this happens, the seal can fail and water can leak out from the base of the toilet. Be sure to use gloves and disinfectants when cleaning up. The water may be less than clean.
  • Replacing a toilet wax ring is a relatively simple DIY project and can be performed fairly quickly. However, it’s probably best to work with a partner on this project as the toilet can be heavy and sometimes difficult to dislodge.
  • While you’re replacing the ring, it’s a good time to check the toilet flange for any damage. If any condensation or moisture has leaked through there could be signs of mold and deterioration. Make any necessary repairs to the structure and replace the flange if necessary.