Toilet Seals for Plumbing

White toilet next to wooden bench with folded towel and toilet paper stand

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

There are many types of toilet seals on the market. Some toilet seals are wax-based and others are waxless. Which type of seal to use is really up to you. All of the wax style rings, waxless rings, or gasket seals will work if installed properly. What you need to decide is which type of seal will work best for the situation you are working with.


While these seals will work in most instances, it's always best to follow the manufacturer's recommendation for the right seal to use. There are cases where certain fixtures require different seals (as in the case of commercial toilets and urinals, which use different seals than household toilets), so to be safe, check what the manufacturer recommends.

The idea of stacking wax rings has been around for a while but it is not recommended by leading manufacturers. Some of the new waxless style toilet seals have a longer seal or can be stacked which can make it easy for anyone to set a toilet without leaks.

Take a look at some of the toilet seal choices you can pick from when replacing a toilet.

  • 01 of 06

    Wax Ring

    Wax ring toilet seal for plumbing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    The most basic of all toilet seals is the wax ring. This type of seal has been around for quite a while and is still a great choice under the right circumstances. If the flange is 1/4” above the floor level like it should be then a wax ring is a reliable option although many plumbers do not use this seal as often because there are better options now. The wax ring seals are made to fit 3” and 4” drains.

  • 02 of 06

    Wax Ring With Sleeve

    Wax ring with sleeve toilet seal for plumbing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    The wax ring with a sleeve often called a deep seal bowl wax, is a very reliable seal for a toilet although it can be messy. This type of wax ring comes in many different selections from extra thick to multi-size that fit 3” and 4” drains.

    If you have a normal height closet flange then you can use the regular wax ring with a sleeve. If your flange is floor level or slightly below then you can use an extra-thick wax ring. If the flange is lower than a 1/4” below the floor level then you should use a flange extension to raise the flange height or remove and replace the old floor flange and set it to the right height.

  • 03 of 06

    Wax Ring With Felt

    Wax ring with felt toilet seal for plumbing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Felted wax rings are for wall-hung toilets. The felt helps keep the wax in place to provide a good seal. Felted wax rings are also used for urinals, they are just smaller wax rings.

  • 04 of 06

    Sponge Gaskets

    Sponge gasket toilet seal for plumbing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Sponge type gaskets are commonly used as an alternative to felted wax rings meaning they are mostly used for wall-hung toilets and urinals. These sponge gaskets can also be used for floor mounted toilets if specified. Sponge gaskets come in many different thicknesses, so get the thickness that is right for your application. Some of these types of gaskets are only 3” or 4” and some are okay for 3" and 4” drain lines.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Wax-Free Toilet Bowl Gasket

    Wax-free toilet bowl gasket toilet seal for plumbing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    There are a few types of wax-free gaskets out there for anyone tired of using wax rings. They have a special rubber seal that fits onto the bottom of the toilet and then a deep seal flange that goes into the drainpipe sealed by a leak-proof o-ring that prevents splash up and the rotting of the floor flange.

    The o-ring not only prevents water from coming back but also sewer gas smells from coming back up into the bathroom. This type of waxless bowl gasket can be reused or reset multiple times. Fluidmaster makes one such waxless ring that can adapt to 3” or 4” drains.

  • 06 of 06

    Wax-Free Foam Gasket

    Wax-free foam gasket toilet seal for plumbing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Sani seal is a wax-free foam gasket. This is a soft treated foam that can do one thing that is not recommended for wax seals; it can stack. These gaskets are big enough to seal a toilet with a flange height from 3/8” above the floor to 3/8” below floor level.

    If more height is required the foam gaskets can easily be stacked. Unlike most other types of seals, foam gasket seals maintain a good seal even if the toilet rocks. This type of gasket will allow you to set the toilet multiple times, unlike wax rings that get smashed once and need to be replaced.