Everything That Goes Into the Cost to Replace a Toilet Flange (2024) - Bob Vila

By Stephanie Mickelson | Published Nov 28, 2023 12:38 PM

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Everything That Goes Into the Cost to Replace a Toilet Flange (2024) - Bob Vila

If a toilet is leaking around the base, the culprit may be a worn-out or broken toilet flange. According to Mark Snell, CEO and president at Polestar Plumbing in Olathe, Kansas, “A toilet flange is a crucial component that links the toilet bowl to the home’s water drainage system while securely affixing it to the floor. It’s installed to ensure a reliable connection between the toilet bowl and the house’s drainage system, with the flange firmly anchored to the floor using specialized screws. Notably, a wax ring is placed on the flange to establish an airtight seal between the toilet bowl and the flange, effectively preventing water leaks, odors, and gases from escaping.”

The cost to replace a toilet flange, according to Angi, ranges from $145 to $165, and the task requires only a few materials and a few hours. Toilet flanges aren’t terribly expensive or complicated to replace, but it’s important to replace them properly to avoid future issues.

Toilet flange replacement is a relatively straightforward job that requires lifting and moving the toilet from the flange that’s mounted onto the floor, removing the flange, and replacing it with a new one. If there’s no other damage that resulted from the leak, the toilet can be replaced and return to business as usual. Sometimes the leak has gone undetected for long periods, which means a homeowner may need to replace the flooring around the toilet too. But more often than not, a quick toilet flange replacement is all that’s needed and is cheaper than the cost to replace a toilet.

An average toilet flange price is low—between$7 and $20—so if the homeowner is doing the work themselves, the cost to replace a toilet flange and wax ring is lower than if they hire one of the best plumbing companies, such as Mr. Rooter or Roto-Rooter. It will generally take a homeowner longer to complete the job than a professional, so it’s important to factor in the cost of personal time spent on the project.

The main factor that drives the cost of a toilet flange is the material it’s made of, so homeowners will want to consider the cost of the material before making a decision. Notably, some toilet flanges made of brass can cost as much as $75.

A plumber’s rate to replace a toilet flange typically falls between $45 and $150 an hour. Since replacing a toilet flange is a fairly simple job, it can be done in a couple hours. The plumber may even roll the cost of the toilet flange into the estimate, since they likely have extra parts on hand.

Having a plumber replace the broken toilet flange means that a professional will also assess the area to see if the leak caused any other problems. Potential problems include damage to the surrounding floor or a cracked drainpipe. Knowing how to replace a toilet flange is only one part of the job, which is why it’s helpful to have a professional plumber do an inspection too.

Ideally, toilet flange replacement is a quick job. The plumber lifts the toilet and moves it out of the way, removes the old flange, replaces it with a new flange and one of the best wax rings, and secures the toilet back in place. Not all jobs go that smoothly though.

The project can become significantly more complex if the toilet has been leaking for a while and caused other damage. If the plumber has to deal with a cracked toilet flange or a rusted toilet flange, it may be harder to remove, creating more work. And since plumbers charge by the hour, any added complexity to the job will be added to the final bill.

If the toilet has been leaking for a long time, it’s possible that the surrounding floor needs to be fixed or replaced. The cost to replace a subfloor ranges from $173 to $300, and replacing floor covering, such as laminate or hardwood flooring, costs between $200 and $800. Luckily, flooring replacement costs may be lower than average, since bathrooms are typically small spaces.

Other repairs can include fixing a cracked or rusted drainpipe. This can mean a plumber has to work upwards from the basement or a lower floor, and removal of flooring may be required to access it. The average drainpipe replacement costs around $696 but will vary depending on how much drainpipe needs to be replaced and how difficult it is to access.

“There are various types of toilet flanges, and your choice depends on the material of your pipes and their connections,” explains Snell. “If you have PVC pipes, opt for a PVC toilet flange. Similarly, cast iron connections require a cast iron toilet flange, and so forth.” For more expensive toilet flanges, plumbers will likely add the cost separately rather than rolling it into the labor rate.

According to Snell, “Brass versions exhibit excellent heat resistance, [which] makes them a preferred choice for various plumbing components.”

Brass toilet flanges are extremely durable, so if a flange starts to need frequent replacement, it may be worth paying for an upgrade. Typically, brass toilet flanges can cost up to $75, and it is an expense that plumbers often charge separately.

Replacing a cast-iron toilet flange is also on the more expensive end of flange plumbing costs. For homes built before 1980, this could be the best option if other pipes are also made of cast iron. Cast-iron flanges typically cost between $25 and $40.

“Cast iron toilet flanges are incredibly sturdy and can endure for several decades without cracking or deteriorating,” says Snell. “Unlike other types, they can be repaired rather than replaced if damaged. However, they are susceptible to rust if not properly maintained.”

According to Snell, “Copper flanges possess antibacterial properties, making them resistant to bacteria and fungi.” This makes copper a logical choice for a toilet flange, but it costs more than some other toilet flanges—around $35. This is another material that plumbers typically charge separately.

“Plastic or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flanges are the most commonly used in both residential and commercial toilets,” explains Snell. “Some are entirely composed of PVC, while others feature a metal top with a PVC base.”

As a common material for a toilet flange, PVC is affordable and durable. Since it is so inexpensive, the plumber may just include the cost of a PVC toilet flange in the final bill, but if it’s purchased separately, homeowners can expect to pay between $5 and $20.

“Stainless steel flanges offer corrosion resistance and a longer lifespan, along with superior sealing compared to PVC flanges,” says Snell. “Most of the stainless steel is concentrated at the top of the unit, while the rest of the components are made from cast iron, plastic, or copper.”

Stainless steel toilet flanges are a popular choice, since they’re not only affordable and durable but also rust-resistant. They cost between $5 and $30.

A toilet is one of those fixtures that don’t warrant attention unless there’s something wrong, and it eventually happens to even the best toilets. But when something does go wrong, it quickly becomes the only thing that matters. Homeowners know how to plunge a toilet if it gets backed up, but when a leak happens or tiles loosen at the base, the toilet flange may need to be checked. Knowing when to replace a toilet flange can help homeowners avoid or prevent issues

from becoming worse. If a homeowner sees any of these signs, it’s important to find out what’s wrong as soon as possible. Checking the toilet flange is a good place to start.

Any time there are visible leaks at the toilet base, homeowners are encouraged to try to identify where they’re coming from and repair the problem before the leaking water does any damage to the flooring and subfloor. A leak at the toilet base may mean that the wax ring is loose or the flange is cracked or broken.

“If this issue is neglected for an extended period, you may eventually observe the leak through damp spots on the ceiling or the floor below,” explains Snell.

“Another sign of toilet flange problems is the persistent and unpleasant sewer odor in the bathroom,” says Snell. “Escaping gases from the sewer system can generate disagreeable odors that permeate the bathroom.”

If persistent sewer odors are detected near the toilet, it could mean it’s time to install a new toilet flange. If the seal between the toilet and the toilet flange isn’t properly connected, then it can allow odors to drift up and out into the bathroom. Sometimes the toilet flange and wax seal just need to be tightened. But if there are signs that they’re damaged or broken, they’ll need to be replaced.

It’s possible for water to leak from the base of the toilet without the homeowner seeing it. In some cases, the leaking water will weaken the connection of the tiles to the subfloor and cause the tiles around the toilet base to become loose. If homeowners notice this problem, it’s time to ask “How much to replace the toilet flange?”

If the connection between the toilet flange and the toilet has come loose over time, the toilet can become unstable and wobbly. According to Snell, “One obvious indicator that it might be time to replace your toilet flange is when the toilet bowl becomes unstable. When the toilet bowl isn’t securely anchored, it tends to wobble and may also lead to leaks, resulting in small water puddles forming around it. This instability arises from a loose connection between the toilet bowl and the floor.” If this is the case, the toilet flange and wax seal should be replaced.

Replacing a toilet flange can save homeowners some money, but if the job isn’t done right, problems can occur down the road. It’s easy to improperly anchor the toilet to the flange, which could allow leaks to damage the tile or subflooring without detection for some time. Additionally, toilets can weigh around 120 pounds, so homeowners who decide to tackle this DIY project need to be physically able to move the toilet.

“A homeowner can definitely replace a toilet flange by themselves, but it’s crucial to assess their plumbing expertise,” advises Snell. “Swapping out a toilet flange can be a somewhat intricate plumbing project, and if executed improperly, it might result in leaks and other plumbing issues.”

The most reassuring course of action is to call in reinforcements and let a pro handle the job for a relatively low-cost fix. The cost to replace a toilet flange is lower than the cost to replace the toilet, and homeowners can worry less about future leaks and repairs when a plumber carefully inspects and repairs the problem. If a professional is replacing the toilet, the toilet flange replacement cost will likely be included in the cost to replace the toilet.

That means homeowners will likely pay only a low hourly rate for a 1- to 2-hour job. That’s much shorter than the time the average homeowner would spend, which would delay how long the home’s occupants have access to this much-needed facility.

“Speaking as a plumber, my foremost suggestion would still be to consult a professional,” says Snell. “Firstly, this is the sole way to ensure the task is completed correctly, reducing the likelihood of leaks and related problems. Moreover, a professional plumber can also detect and address any other plumbing issues that might exist but remain unnoticed by the homeowner.”

Replacing a toilet flange isn’t the most expensive home improvement project, but saving money on the job can allow homeowners to use the money elsewhere in their budget. Here are a few ways to save money when replacing a toilet flange.

Toilet flange replacement is pretty straightforward, but there are still a few questions homeowners can ask their plumber before they get started on the job.

Toilet flange replacement can be done quickly by a skilled professional. But there are still a few frequently asked questions that come up as homeowners prepare to take on this project.

A toilet flange can last between 5 and 20 years depending on the material it’s made from and the amount of wear and tear it’s received over the years. A toilet flange should be checked and likely replaced if any of these situations happen: water leaks from the base of the toilet, the toilet wobbles, or there is a persistent sewer smell coming from it.

The old toilet flange should almost always be removed before the new one is installed. The only exception to this is if you installed new flooring that is higher than the old flooring and you need to install a toilet flange extender into the existing toilet flange. However, any time you remove the toilet, whether to replace it or simply reset it, you’ll need to replace the wax ring to ensure the toilet seals tightly.

Typically, toilet flanges are bolted to the floor, and the toilet is bolted to the flange. In some cases, the toilet flange is also glued to the drainpipe. This can make the seal more secure, but it can also make it more difficult to remove the toilet flange when a replacement is needed. When the damaged toilet flange is glued or heavily damaged, a professional is the best option to handle the replacement.

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Everything That Goes Into the Cost to Replace a Toilet Flange (2024) - Bob Vila

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