Is It Better to Put Wax Ring on Toilet or Flange?

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A broken toilet flange can cause serious water damage to the sub-flooring and molding, even if you spent more and installed a high-quality toilet flange. Repairing a broken toilet flange as soon as you find out about it is the only way to minimize damage.

DIYers often ask, “is it better to put wax ring on toilet or flange?” The answer is nuanced.

Is It Better to Put Wax Ring on Toilet or Flange?

It is better to put wax rings on the flange rather than the toilet. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with flipping the toilet over and installing the wax ring on the bowl’s outlet, it just takes more effort and offers no benefit. You’re better off putting the wax ring on the flange and gently using your body weight to compress the wax.

If the toilet flange is floor level or slightly under, you may think you can get away with using an extra-thick wax ring. The problem is that even extra-thick wax rings compress over time and result in the flange breaking. If the flange is more than a quarter of an inch below the floor, install a flange extension to raise its height or replace the flange before using a wax ring.

Photo of a bathroom with a toilet

Are Wax-Free Rings Better than Wax Rings?

Wax-free rings or wax-free toilet seals are primarily made from rubber, but some manufacturers use soft foam since it’s more flexible. You can also find some options made from PVC. Wax-free toilet seals are much easier to use than wax rings, making them the right option for DIYers.

You can place a rubber or foam toilet seal over a new flange the same way you would a wax ring. These can also be stacked without any problems if needed. PVC flanges are also easy to use and self-stick to the bottom of the toilet with their strong adhesive.

These flanges are also typically longer than a typical flange, so if it’s below floor level, you won’t find the need to stack the flange. After setting the toilet seal in place, all you’ll have to do is lower the toilet onto the flange.

You don’t have to worry about temperature or the flange’s integrity since the flexible material will compensate for the imperfection in placement. You will be able to reposition the toilet several times before the seal sets – something you cannot do with wax rings.

It’s important to remember that if the seal doesn’t compress enough to let the toilet rest on the floor, the toilet will wobble and put excess weight on the flange and might cause water leakage that can’t be fixed by wiping it off with a toilet paper, and you will be needing serious plumbing help.


Wax rings are available in many different sizes, so you will not have trouble finding one for your bowl. But in general, using extra-thick wax rings doesn’t provide any advantages over using regular size wax rings since they compress just the same. Wax-free toilet seals are easy-to-use alternatives, and you can use a PVC toilet seal if the flange is slightly lower than floor level.

Brett E.

Brett E. is the Owner of  Brett comes from a long line of craftsman and foreman, and has been involved with the construction and renovation world ever since he was a boy while working for his families construction and remodeling company.  After graduating with a a degree in Interior Design, Brett is the go to guy for any interior design or remodeling questions!