You pull the toilet and find a corroded and broken toilet flange.

Now what?

What seems so simple and straightforward can be frustrating at times for the new plumber, especially when there are tons of variations, ages, conditions, and repair options. Which one should you use in what situations? You look at the broken flange. You go over your options.

Get Clean

You are an artist and you need to work with a clean slate. Get the wax mess off the flange. Shop-vac the crust and use cleaner and a rag to clean the area. Once you have cleaned the immediate work area, get a bucket to set your scrap in to keep your work site clean.R

Take An Assessment

There are a few things you need to look over before you get to the actual repair step.

First, look to see why the flange broke in the first place. Is it simply old age or did something cause it to fail prematurely? Many times an uneven floor and uneven setting of the toilet leads to rocking which then leads to a broken flange.

The other thing to look for is the depth of the existing flange. Is the flange too high? Is the flange too low? Most times the flooring guys have put in a new tile floor without having a plumber re-rough the flange to proper height. The tendency is to either double up on the new wax ring or use flange spacers to beef up to proper height. Both of these are wrong and should not be used as a permanent solution. Doubled-up wax rings will leak and spacers will definitely leak. And don’t even think about caulking between spacers. Fight the urge to pull the trigger on these handyman-type repairs.

Cast Iron Flanges

A broken cast iron flange can be a pain to fix properly. Most times the cast iron flange is so thick that the split-type repair flanges are too thin to make an impact, and the full-sized spanner flanges are near impossible to install because cast iron is not easy to drill into. You need to remove the flange and start from scratch.

There is no perfect way to remove a flange but there are a few good ways to try. First, try and drill a series of holes in the lead that is in between the flange and the cast iron pipe. Once you have drilled the lead enough, cold chisel, fight, pick, and pry the lead and oakum out and pull the flange.