Removing The Toilet
The first step is to turn off the water at the shutoff valve, which is usually located behind the toilet, or in the basement or crawl space directly below it. Turn the handle all the way in a clockwise direction.

Remove the tank lid, flush the toilet and hold down the handle to drain as much water as possible from the tank. Use a sponge to get up the remaining water in the tank; a small paper cup will help you remove any water left in the bowl.

Next, disconnect the water-supply tube by loosening the compression nut on the shutoff valve (step 1). Pry the caps from the closet bolts, then use a wrench to remove the nuts (step 2). If either bolt spins as you turn the nut, hold the top of the bolt with needlenose pliers.

Grab the rim of the bowl directly below the seat hinges, and gently rock the toilet back and forth to break the wax seal. Lift the toilet off the floor (step 3) and lay it on a blanket or piece of cardboard. Use a narrow putty knife to scrape off the old wax gasket from the bottom of the toilet and from the closet flange in the floor (step 4).

Check the condition of the flange to make sure it isn't cracked or bent. After we scraped off the wax, we discovered that a large piece of the flange had broken off. If this happens, you can replace the entire flange (no easy task), install a full replacement flange or fill in the missing piece with a repair strap. We opted for the easiest, least expensive option and used the Gapper Flange Repair Strap (about $5) from Jones Stephens Corporation.

To install the curved metal strap, first loosen the two screws that secure the flange to the floor. Insert a new closet bolt into the slot in the strap, then slide the strap under the flange (step 5). Tighten the flange screws to lock the strap in place. Install the remaining closet bolt in the flange. If the bolts won't stand upright, pack a little wax from the old gasket around the base of each one.

Take a new wax gasket and set it down on the closet flange, making sure it's perfectly centered (step 6). Most wax gaskets are simply a ring of solid wax, but we used Harvey's Bol-Wax No. 5 (about $5). This one has wax surrounding a core of soft urethane foam, and it easily conforms to the flange and toilet to create a superior seal.
Ask TOH users about Toilets

Contribute to This Story Below