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Question DetailsAsked on 1/16/2017

How much to replace flange and wax ring

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Below are a number of links to previous responses to similar questions which should put you right in the ballpark - one or two for wax ring replacement only, some discussing flange replacement or repair too - and for both wood frame floor and in-concrete versions of that.

Depending on what is wrong with a flange, it can sometimes be turned out OK if the threads were properly prepared before installation and there is a way to grab the pipe to prevent turning. Lead-jointed cast iron usually come out fairly easily provided enough heat is put on it to fully melt the lead seal. Other times, particularly with brass or steel pipe (generally pre-60's) and sometimes with ductile or cast iron, the pipe has to be cut off below the flange and a new piece of pipe and flange put on. This can be fairly easy and straight-forward if the plumber has sprung for the $125-250 apiece for each common size of internal pipe cutter (or goes to rent a set for about $40-60/day roughly), more difficult (and commonly some underlying ceiling repair needed) if he has to come in from below to cut it with a pipe cutter or sawzall, and a lot more trouble if encased in concrete slab and has to be opened up with a jackhammer or impact drill before it can be cut off. Of course, cast iron or ductile iron is probably the second hardest to work with (after the very rarely found direct-connection clay pipe), then steel and brass and copper pipe, then probably asbestos, with fiber-based asphaltic (aka Orangeburg) and plastic pipe the easiest to cut and modify.

With a flange that is just somewhat deteriorated and maybe only one bolt hole broken or rusted out, if you are inclined to cut cost and put in a repair flange (which granted is not as long-lived as a new flange fitting, but a LOT of them are put in), in many cases that can be put in on the existing flange without removing any significant amount of subfloor or concrete around the flange. The longest-lived and strongest, in my opinion, are the triple-ring type - two interlocking split rings go under the existing flange lip, a one piece full-circumference one on top, then it is all bolted together to make a replacement flange around the deteriorated existing one, which the toilet bolts come up from.

The cheaper type is a simple overlay flange ring, or even a so-called "spanner flange" which is just a partial diameter flange repair metal partial ring - which I do not like because it does not bolt to the entire existing flange so is weaker, and also makes for a raised section on the mating surface for the toilet seal - I prefer to see a full diameter mating ring there for strength and uniform sealing. Also, many of the replacement flange rings are only galvanized steel, not stainless - so they commonly rust out in a few years and give way.

Oh - one other thing - there are insert-type repair flanges (sleeve down inside the old flange and sewer pipe), as well as rubber sleeve-type or cone-type toilet seals which replace the wax ring. My recommendation - avoid those, most especially if sewer pipe is already smaller than 4 inch, because they neck down the diameter at the flange and therefore promote clogging. From what my go-to plumber says, the cone type toilet base seals are the worst for this, the insert type replacement flanges (which only work if the existing flange has a relatively low setting height, to allow for the new replacement flange sitting on top of it) he has not seen a terrible amount of problem with because they basically just extend the toilet outlet at about same diameter down another half foot or so - but be sure any replacement flange is at least the full diameter of the toilet passage outlet opening so you do not have a catching lip there to cause clogs.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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