How To Fix an Uneven Toilet Flange: A Guide

If you have ever sat on a wobbling toilet, you might wonder what the cause is and what to do. A wobbling toilet indicates an uneven toilet flange, which can be very inconvenient. 

In the best-case scenario, the toilet is unsteady and annoying every time you use it, but worst case, you could have water leaking all over your bathroom floor.

The good news is this is an entirely fixable problem, so read on to find what tools you need and which steps you need to take to fix an uneven toilet flange.

What You Will Need

Before you begin fixing your toilet flange, you should gather the materials necessary to get it done.

  • Hammer
  • Wrench
  • Rag (large enough to fill the flange hole)
  • Pair of gloves
  • New toilet flange (if you need to replace it)
  • Pan to catch water (optional)
  • Disposable scraping tool

Once your tools are ready, you can get started with the steps below.

Step One: Remove the Toilet

The flange is beneath the toilet, so you will have to remove the toilet to access it. There are a few simple steps to follow to avoid a mess.

You will also want to ensure that you are strong enough to move the toilet, or you have someone working with you, as they contain porcelain and can easily break if dropped.

Remove the Water From the Toilet

First, turn off the water supply to the toilet (there should be a valve behind it, turn that to disconnect the water), then flush and hold the handle for a long time to ensure all the water drains out.

Once that is done, you will use a plunger to remove the water from the bowl and the trap beneath it so you don’t make a mess when you remove the rest of the toilet.

You will also want to disconnect the toilet from the water supply line (this is where the pan comes in if you have one). There will be a little water left in the line, so you must prepare for dripping.

Next, you need to remove the tank on the back of the toilet first before you start to remove the body.

Remove the Bolts Securing the Toilet

Around the base of the toilet, there will usually be decorative caps in the same color as the toilet. If you remove those, you will see the bolts securing the toilet to the floor underneath.

A wrench should be enough to loosen these and remove them, allowing you to pick up the rest of the toilet and give access to the flange.

Make sure you set the nuts and washers aside somewhere else so that they will not get lost while you’re working on the rest of the toilet.

Step Two: Cover up the Flange Hole

You don’t want anything to fall down the flange hole, so make sure to cover it with a rag or something similar; you should use gloves to protect your hands when working in this area of the toilet.

This is going to look more like stuffing the hole with a rag than stretching something over it. You will need access to the entirety of the area around where the flange goes, so use a rag that’s big enough not to have to worry about it falling down the flange hole while you work.

Step Three: Fixing the Flange

Sometimes, the problem is as easy as pushing the flange back into place with your fingers. Other times, you’ll need to break out other tools.

In a worst-case scenario, you’ll need to replace the entire flange, but hopefully, that won’t be the case for you.

Reposition the Flange

The first thing to note is that you don’t want to use too much pressure or the flange might break. Apply pressure from the middle and see if you can push the flange back into position. If that doesn’t work, however, it’s time to bring out the hammer.

If you have to use the hammer, tap gently at the center. If the flange is moving, that’s the sign that what you’re doing is working and should be enough to fix your problem.

If it isn’t, you may need to replace the whole thing, which is a more complicated procedure.

Replacing the Flange

If you have to replace the toilet flange, you will have to remove the old one first. This means unscrewing the bolts keeping them down and prying the entire thing out.

It matters less whether or not you break it but make sure to be careful anyway because you don’t want any pieces falling down the hole.

The new flange should go in evenly, and you can screw it into place with wood or metal screws, depending on what kind of floor you have.

From there, you should be able to slide the mounting bolts into the new flange so that you can replace your toilet. Make sure to position the wax seal properly on top of the flange before you proceed.

Replacing the Toilet

If you align the toilet with the mounting bolts, the wax seal should line up correctly, and you can rock the toilet gently to get it to settle before you bolt it down. Once your toilet is in place, it’s important not to twist or move it again, lest you damage the wax seal.

Because it is the wax seal’s job to keep the water from your toilet from escaping and causing a mess, you want it to work properly. 

Bolting Down the Toilet

When you bolt your toilet back down, the nuts should be tight but not too tight; too much pressure can crack the porcelain of the toilet.

Once you bolt the toilet back down, you can test the flange and the wax seal by pouring water back into the toilet and checking for leaks.

You may also want to sit on your toilet to ensure there is no movement beneath you. 

You have done your job correctly if there is no leakage and the toilet is steady.

Put the toilet tank back on the back of the toilet and reconnect the water supply. Do not forget to turn the water connection on before you flush your toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even after reading this guide, you may have some lingering questions; here are some of the most commonly asked.

Does the toilet flange need to be level?

No. You must install the toilet flange on top of the finished flooring. If your old flange is on the subfloor, it means the toilet was installed before the flooring.

Why do I need a wax seal under my toilet?

The wax seal is what creates an airtight seal to the floor to prevent water and sewer gas from leaking out.

Should you caulk around a toilet?

You can add caulk around your toilet if the flooring is uneven. Caulking also helps prevent smells, and it keeps your toilet secure.

Final Thoughts

No one likes to feel unsteady every time they use the toilet; if your flange is uneven, it can be quite a hassle.

An uneven toilet flange can sound like a complicated problem, but it only takes a little bit of research and elbow grease for this to become an at-home, do-it-yourself fix.

Find out what you’re dealing with, and best of luck on making your repairs!

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