Also known as a closet flange, the toilet flange is a pipe fitting that both mounts a toilet to the floor and connects the closet to a drain pipe. Made out of brass, cast iron, ABS, PVC, or lead, the flange is mounted most of the time on top of the floor with the hub fixed around the drain pipe. The toilet flange needs to be replaced if water is leaking around the toilet’s base and in this case, it is important to also check the subfloor if it’s wet and spongy. If so, other repairs are also needed before changing anything.
How much does it cost?
This can be done as a DIY job with flange parts being the only expense. The cost for a flange for your toilet will range anywhere from $5 to $40. This price will usually depend on the brand that made it and the retailer you buy it from.
For example, on Amazon.com a Toilet Flange Repair Kit is between $10 and $20.
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty a professional will charge you around $200, but you should be ready to spend much more depending on how badly damaged is the subfloor, the type, and condition of the pipe, how badly was the flange corroded, your location, or the plumber you hired.
For instance, if the plumber had to break the concrete around the flange due to the advanced stage of corrosion, the price can quickly go up to $500. It is all about the amount of work that the plumber has to do. If it’s just a simple replacement of the part without any additional procedures you don’t have to worry all that much about the cost of labor.
What are the extra costs?
If the flange leaked for a long time and the water damaged the floor significantly new tiles might be needed.
If by an unfortunate accident, the flange has not been installed correctly, the concrete might’ve settled around it improperly. This means the floor has to be pulled out and for your to repair the whole area.
If the flange was corroded and it has to be replaced, there are cases when a hole in the basement’s ceiling has to be cut. If the basement is not accessible, the only way to do it is by removing the concrete around the toilet.
The costs can increase if the piping or the toilet needs to be replaced.
All of these situations could turn into a costly job.
This is one of those jobs that you shouldn’t postpone for too long because, with every passing day, the damage the water does to the flooring around your toilet can increase. Replacing this part as soon as you notice something wrong with it is the best way to make sure you won’t have to deal with costly repairs.
How to replace it
First of all, turn off the water supply to the toilet and disconnect the water supply hose, so you can empty the bowl and the tank by flushing the toilet.
Do not lose the bolts that are holding the bowl into the floor because you will need them when you finish the job to make the toilet whole and working again.
After cleaning the floor and the wax from the old flange you can start mounting the new one. New bolts are highly recommended for the new flange to be fixed on the floor.
After pushing a new wax ring into the waste outlet with the narrow part against the toilet, put the closet back in place taking care of the bolt holes to be aligned with it.
Now you only have to mount the toilet into the floor again and turn on the water supply. Over-tighten bolts will crack the toilet, so be very careful!
Things you don’t need but it’s good to have:
- Lubricant spray – to loosen the bolts
- Adjustable pliers – help to unscrew the bolts
- Paint scraper – clean wax
- Newspaper – dump wax
- Rubber gloves – protection
- Mask – protection
Things you will surely need:
- Wax ring
- Adjustable wrench
- Toilet bolts, nuts
- Plastic cap for bolts
Can I save any money?
The most efficient way to save money is by replacing the flange yourself. As already mentioned, the parts are pretty cheap and on top of that, the job itself is not rocket science at all, so everyone can do it with a little help from a youtube guide.
If you’re hiring a plumber for the first time, he will be more than happy to offer you a deal with the goal to earn you as a permanent client. So don’t be ashamed or afraid to negotiate on pricing.
An important advantage to have before haggling is getting at least three or four quotes from other plumbers. If you don’t find cheaper alternatives, at least you’ll know the price is fair.
If you have several toilets and you have to fix them all or you’re simply in need of multiple repairs, don’t hesitate to ask the plumber if you can benefit from any discounts. The bigger the ‘project’ is the bigger the chance is to get a lower price.
A great way to ensure that you will spend less, in the long run, is to make sure you get a flange that is better rated, even if that means spending a few bucks more on the purchase. Seeing that the range in price for this piece isn’t a considerable one, getting a better-rated piece won’t hit your wallet all that hard, but it will ensure it will last for a longer period of time.