How Do Toilets Connect to the Floor?

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Regardless of their manufacturer, toilets usually connect to the floor by following the same basic principles. A proper connection is very important, and not only involves how the toilet connects to the floor, but also how the toilet connects to the drainpipe, through which water and waste will flow.



A properly installed toilet-to-floor connection is vital to not only prevent the occurrence of leaking from underneath the toilet bowl, but also prevent sewer gases from entering the room and house through the drainpipe. A leak can lead to costly repairs due to significant damage to the subflooring around the toilet and possibly the ceiling below if left unchecked. Leaking sewer gases can be both dangerous and unhealthy.


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Toilet Base

The base of the toilet is usually designed with two mounting holes, one on each side. Some toilets have four mounting holes with two on each side. If you examine the bottom of the toilet bowl, you will see an outlet hole for waste to exit down the drain. This is called the toilet horn.



The toilet flange is a pipe fitting that both connects the outflow pipe to the toilet and the toilet to the floor. Flanges are made of either plastic, brass, stainless steel, or cast iron. Most toilet flanges are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick and are designed to fit either a 3-inch or 4-inch pipe. The flange ring has either four or six mounting holes and two slots, into which the heads of the two flange, or closet, bolts are installed so that the bolts will fit up through the toilet's mounting holes. The flange itself is mounted on top of the drainpipe.


Wax Ring

The wax ring is just that--a ring made of wax and designed to fit the particular toilet flange that is used, for either 3-inch or 4-inch waste lines. Wax rings are also called wax toilet bowl gaskets and act as a seal. The wax seal is placed over the toilet horn when the toilet is being installed. The wax ring is the weakest component of the elements involved to mount the toilet to the drain and floor. A damaged, leaky wax ring is often the culprit in a leak from underneath the toilet. Some wax rings, also called wax toilet bowl gaskets, have a collar or horn attached to them that is made of either rubber or plastic and fits down into the toilet flange upon installation. This collar is designed to help prevent any leaks. There is also a wax-free seal available, which is made from PVC.


Proper Connection

When properly connected, the toilet rests on top of the toilet flange, with the wax ring providing a seal to the floor. The flange bolts that fit up through the toilet's mounting holes are each held secure by a washer and nut, thus providing the toilet's connection to both the floor and the drain. A bead of caulk is often placed around the base of the toilet to further seal the toilet to the floor.



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