Removing a Broken Toilet Flange

If you walk into your bathroom only to find a foul odor (well, let’s just say fouler than normal) or see a puddle of water seeping from underneath your toilet, you might have a broken toilet flange on your hands.

The function of the toilet flange is to connect the lower part of your toilet, the bowl, to the inlet for your home’s sewer system. In the old days, flanges were made of metal, but nowadays they are more typically made out of PVC or similar plastic. These flanges are bolted into the floor of your bathroom by means of anchor bolts, and fit snugly inside the sewer pipe inlet. Two slots on either side of the flange hold bolts which securely fasten the toilet bowl above.

Removing a broken toilet flange is a project that can be handled by even a newbie plumbing DIYer looking to gain some experience.

You can read more about toilet tank repair and removing an oil toilet here.

Shut off the Water for the Toilet

As with just about any toilet maintenance project, the first step is always cutting off the water supply for the toilet. This can be found on the wall or floor behind where the toilet is set. Turn the water supply handle to the right to cut off the water.

Remove the Toilet Tank

Flush the toilet to remove any water inside. Remove any excess water with a sponge and towel. Look underneath the toilet tank and locate the bolts holding it in place on the underside. Loosen the nuts on the bolts. Pick up the tank and set aside.

Remove the Toilet Bowl

Run a sharp knife around the bottom of the toilet bowl and cut away any caulk securing the bowl in place. Use a flat bladed screwdriver to pry up the plastic caps at the base of the bowl. Unscrew the bolts with the adjustable wrench. Rock the toilet back and forth until it comes loose from the flange. Lift up and out of the way.

Clean and Remove the Flange

Use a putty knife to clean any wax around the flange. Remove the flange bolts by sliding them out of the sides of the flange. Remove the flange bolts anchoring the flange to the floor with a socket wrench. Insert the end of a pry bar underneath the flange and pry it off the floor. If you are concerned with protecting the floor, insert a small block of wood underneath the pry bar as you work. Continue working around the edges of the flange until you’ve removed it from the floor. Lift the flange up and out of the flange opening.

Once you’ve removed the broken toilet flange, you can replace it with a new one, or cap off the flange opening if you no longer wish to have a toilet in that spot.