How to Install a Toilet Flange Extender

White toilet in bathroom with white and gray tiles and flange extender

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $25 to $35

In a typical toilet installation, the floor flange that sits inside the drain opening below the toilet should be positioned so that its bottom surface rests flush against the finished floor or no more than 1/4 inch above or below the floor. This ensures that the flange makes a watertight seal against the wax ring that fits between the drain opening and drain outlet (horn) on the underside of the toilet.

But if you add new flooring up to the edge of the flange, or if the flange wasn't installed properly to begin with, the flange may sit too far below the flooring level. Left this way, the toilet may not seal tightly against the drain, creating the potential for leaks around the base of the toilet. This is not only messy but is technically a code violation, so it's important to remedy the problem by installing a flange extender.

How a Flange Extender Works

A toilet flange extender fits over the existing flange to raise the drain connection in relation to the surrounding flooring. (Plastic flanges typically can't be removed because they're glued to the drain pipe.) Some flange extenders are plastic rings that come in various thicknesses. Others are very similar to a standard floor flange but have a slightly smaller pipe stub that fits inside the opening of the existing flange. Some include a special flange and several plastic spacer rings of different thicknesses to accommodate different flange heights.

Most extenders are secured by fastening them to the subfloor with screws driven through the holes in the old flange. To create a watertight seal, extenders include a rubber gasket or require sealing with caulk when they are installed.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Rags

Materials

  • Mineral spirits
  • Silicone caulk
  • Deep seal wax ring
  • Toilet flange extender

Instructions

Materials and tools to install a toilet flange extender

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

The first step to installing a flange extender is finding an extender that fits your situation. There are many different brands and types, and you want to be sure the product fits your toilet before you gather the rest of your supplies and learn how to install it. Installation steps vary depending on the type of extender you buy, but the process is similar for all types.

  1. Remove the Toilet

    To access the toilet flange, remove the toilet from the drain and set it aside. This is done by removing the nuts holding the toilet onto the tank's bolts, then carefully prying the toilet away from the flange. You may want to first remove the tank from the toilet bowl to make this easier.

    Tip

    Be careful when removing or moving a toilet; the porcelain is fragile and can crack.

    Toilet bolt being loosened with wrench to remove toilet

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Clean the Flange

    Clean the top of the old flange to ensure that the flange extension can sit neatly in place. If there is old wax on the flange, scrape it off with a putty knife, then remove the residue with mineral spirits and a rag.

    Olf flange being cleaned with putty knife from under removed toilet

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Test Fit the Flange Extender

    Check the fit of the flange extender, using one or more spacers, if included with the extender. The bottom of the flange extender should be flush with the finished floor or no more than 1/4 inch below or above the floor surface.

    White flange extender tested and flushed with floor surface

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Install the Flange Extender

    Remove any screws securing the old flange to the subfloor. You will likely use some or all of these screw holes for securing the flange extender.

    Apply a liberal amount of silicone caulk along the bottom lip of the flange extender. Alternatively, if the flange extender comes with a rubber gasket, apply the gasket as directed by the manufacturer. Set the flange extender into place over the old flange, including any spacers, as needed.

    Align the screw holes in the extender with the open holes in the old flange. Fasten the extender to the subfloor with the provided screws.

    Silicone caulk added to underside of flange extender for installation

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  5. Reinstall the Toilet

    With the flange extender in place, you can now replace the toilet. It is generally best to use a new wax ring when reinstalling the toilet. When using an extender, set the toilet using a deep-seal wax ring fitted to the horn of the toilet.

    When the toilet is in place, run a bead of silicone caulk along the seam between the base of the toilet and the floor.

    New wax ring added to underside of toilet for reinstallation

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris