If you’ve noticed that your toilet wobbles, leaks, or the base doesn’t fully reach the floor, then it’s likely that the height of your toilet flange is too high. Prolonged use of a toilet with a flange that’s too tall can cause structural damage to the bathroom. Fortunately, there are several solutions to fix a toilet flange that’s too high.
If your toilet flange is too high, level the base of the structure onto the bathroom floor. Achieve this by filling the gap, raising the floor, or shortening the pipe. If you opt to shorten the pipe, you’ll need to replace the flange entirely.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to perform each of these potential fixes with the least amount of stress and effort. We’ll also give advice on which method is best for your situation. Read on to learn more about fixing a toilet flange that’s too high.
What To Do if Your Toilet Flange Is Too High?
After noticing problems with the height of your toilet flange, you will need to take action immediately. This situation can not only cause discomfort and difficulties for you, but it can also cause costly and hard-to-repair damage to your bathroom over time.
If your toilet flange sits too high, you’ll need to ensure that the entire base of the toilet lays flat on the floor. Doing so prevents back-and-forth rocking motions and leakage. Add to the floor to increase the height, or shorten the pipe and then replace the flange.
Keep in mind that if you’re totally unsure about what you’re doing, it’s best to consult with a professional. When dealing with plumbing-related problems, any mistakes can lead to costly repairs that may set you back financially.
Now that you know what you need to do to fix a problem with the height of your toilet flange, we’ll dive more in-depth into how you can fix it properly, and instructions on which alternatives are best for you and your situation.
3 Easy Fixes for a Toilet Flange That’s Too High
When a toilet flange is too high, you’ll notice the toilet doesn’t sit level on the floor. It rocks back and forth or wobbles, causing leaks. It may even warp the floor beneath it. If leaks continue happening, it could warp the subfloor, leading to the need for extensive repairs. The only way to avoid this is to fix the toilet flange when it’s too high.
1. Fill the Gap
This first option is often the most accessible and least expensive alternative out of the three, although it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing. Depending on the quantity and weight of the material you want to add, you can opt to place wooden boards beneath the tile. This will not only provide added support but can also help better achieve the height increase that you’re looking for.
The first alternative I would advise you to try is using plywood for floor buildup. To do this:
- Measure the circumference and height of each individual piece of plywood you’re using.
- Trace the dimensions onto the material.
- Cut the plywood according to your desired size and shape.
- Repeat until you have as many pieces of plywood as you need.
- Fit each piece of plywood onto the toilet flange to ensure it fits tightly.
- Check that everything is level.
- Secure the plywood pieces using glue or screws.
- Place the toilet bowl on top of the plywood.
- Ensure that everything is level once more.
Once you’ve completed this process, the toilet should sit securely on the plywood. Any previous leakage should have stopped. If you continue to notice leakage, you’ll need to remove the toilet and redo the process to ensure that everything is level.
Keep in mind that if there are any leaks in your bathroom, it could warp or soften the plywood, which would require replacement. This is not a permanent solution, but can help keep the toilet secure until you’re able to complete long-term repairs.
The second option you can go for when filling the gap is using grout. This is one of the most popular choices for the job, as grout is durable, inexpensive, and easy to use.
To use grout to fix a toilet flange that’s too high:
- Mix the grout with water, following the package’s instructions until it forms a paste.
- Set the toilet in place before applying the grout.
- Ensure that the toilet is as level as possible using rubber shims.
- Apply the grout paste to the gaps around the toilet base, avoiding the area where you’ve placed the shims.
- Wait 24 hours for the grout to dry completely.
- Remove the supportive shims (this may take some effort).
- Refill the empty spaces from the shims using grout.
- Let it dry again for 24 hours.
- Replace the nuts onto the toilet and tighten them.
- Check that everything is level.
Grout is much more durable than plywood, and when applied and dried correctly, this method can last for quite some time. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as replacing the flange altogether and adding new flooring, but it’s more cost-effective and requires less work.
The third and last option you can try to fill in the gap is using cement. This solution is ideal in those cases when the gap is minimal. In a situation like this, using tile on the cement could help you solve the problem quickly and without much effort.
Here’s how to use cement to fill in a gap between the floor and toilet (due to a flange that’s too high):
- Take any necessary measurements including the height of the gap and the circumference of the base you’ll need (the height of the gap determines the number of cement boards required).
- Put together four pieces of cement boards and cut out the measured circumference plus one inch right in the middle.
- Use a floor trowel to spread the cement.
- Place the boards on top of the wet cement.
- Secure the boards using screws.
- Adhere the tiles to the boards using high-quality tile glue.
- Secure the back of the toilet by tightening the nuts.
- Check to ensure that everything is level.
Cement is not an ideal option for toilet flanges that sit significantly higher than the floor. Do not attempt to use cement to fill in large gaps between the flange and floor. Instead, consider raising the floor or replacing the flange entirely, which we’ll discuss later on.
All these three options are ideal for homeowners with limited experience who don’t want to take on an expensive and time-consuming project. So before moving on to the following alternatives, make sure to give one of these projects a try first, as their results are more than worth their effort.
2. Raising the Floor
If you’re looking for a more aesthetically-pleasing way to fix the problem, you may want to try raising the floor to make the toilet base level. You should know that taking on a project of this nature will be very time and energy-consuming. If you still think it’s the best alternative for you, you will want to look at thicker flooring options that can provide added height.
To raise the floor:
- Measure the space between the top of the flange and the floor.
- Add the old flooring height to this measurement, and you’ll get the exact thickness of the replacement you’ll need.
- Remove the toilet and any other fixtures installed in the bathroom.
- Remove the old flooring.
- Lay the new flooring down (this process can take days, depending on your skill and experience level, but your toilet should be completely level by the end of the renovation).
This particular solution is more suitable when the space between the top of the flange and the bathroom’s floor is minimal. It’s unlikely that you’ll find tiles high enough for the project if there’s a significant gap between the two.
Taking on a floor replacement in your bathroom can usually be worth it if you’ve been wanting to remodel the space anyway. It’s a costly, labor-intensive solution, but one that’s nearly guaranteed to last.
If you’re not ready to spend that kind of money, or just want a quick fix, then there are much simpler and quicker ways to go about fixing your toilet’s flange, as discussed earlier.
3. Replacing the Flange
If neither of the previous alternatives sounds ideal to you, you can opt to try shortening the top of the pipe and replacing the flange entirely. This should be considered as the last possible option, as if done incorrectly, it can cause irreversible damage to the tube, which will lead to extensive damage to the whole system.
Additionally, this process is far more time consuming and tiring than the others mentioned within this article.
Therefore, always try to choose one of the other options first, and only if neither of them is possible, look into replacing the flange. If this is the case, pay close attention during the whole process and always be as careful as possible when using the needed tools.
In most cases, the reason why many flanges are placed too high is the fact that the pipe extends further than needed and goes above the floor. Usually, these types of pipes are made out of PVC, so a simple cable saw is more than adequate to use in this instance. Before starting, you will need to remove the toilet from the area altogether.
Here’s how to replace the flange:
- Clean around the flange, removing any debris that might get in the way.
- Stuff some type of cloth or paper into the flange to cover it to prevent pieces from falling down the pipe, or inhaling dangerous fumes.
- Break off the outer portion of the flange with a hammer and chisel or variable speed drill, using extreme caution to prevent damaging the pipe (take off small portions at a time).
- Remove the inner portion of the flange, being careful not to cause cracks in the pipe.
- Shorten the pipe by grinding it down until it’s completely level with the floor.
- Insert the new flange after carefully measuring the height preemptively to avoid a mismatch (look for a model with a water-tight seal and decent depth).
- Drill holes into the floor to make sure the replacement is set and stays in place.
- Place the toilet back onto the flange and secure it in place.
Check out this video for a visual guide:
Although using this method can be difficult, you’re left with a level toilet that doesn’t cause any unnecessary movements or leaks.
This solution is also permanent, and you won’t need to repeat the process over time. Having said that, because of its complicated nature, it would be best if you could get a professional to guide or help you out during this process, as any mistakes can cause the need for significant repair.
In any case, before trying to raise the floor or shorten the pipe and replace the flange entirely, I highly suggest at least trying out the first three filling alternatives.
They are inexpensive, quick, and more suitable for the average homeowner to do by themselves. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a general bathroom remodel or a more secure and permanent solution, going the more extensive route might be worth it.
A toilet flange that sits too high can cause an unstable toilet and dangerous water leaks in your bathroom. Both these processes can cause severe damage to the space’s structural integrity.
To fix a high toilet flange, you’ll need to make the toilet base entirely level with the floor. Ideally, this can be achieved by filling in the gap with plywood, grout, or concrete. Other, more expensive, and time-consuming options include raising the floor and replacing the flange. After choosing your ideal solution, your toilet should be balanced and leakage-free.
- How To Hide Pipes Behind a Toilet (7 Easy Ways)
- Can I Install a Bathtub Myself? Considerations And Steps
As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.