If you plan to install a new toilet or replace an old one, you might wonder what type of toilet ring to use. A toilet ring is a seal that prevents water and sewer gas from leaking between the toilet and the drain pipe. There are two main types of toilet rings: rubber and wax.
This article will compare rubber toilet and wax rings’ pros and cons and help you choose the right one.
- What are Toilet Rings?
- Pros and Cons of Rubber Toilet Rings
- Pros and Cons of Wax Rings
- Key Features of Rubber Toilet Rings
- Key Features of Wax Rings
- Comparison between Rubber Toilet Rings and Wax Rings
- Choosing The Right Toilet Ring
- Standard Sizes Of Toilet Rings
- How To Install A Toilet Ring
- Tips For Maintaining Your Toilet Ring
- Frequently Asked Questions
What are Toilet Rings?
A toilet ring is a circular gasket that fits around the outlet of the toilet bowl and creates a tight seal with the flange on the floor. The flange is a metal or plastic ring that connects the drain pipe to the toilet. The toilet ring prevents water from leaking out of the toilet when you flush it and blocks sewer gas from entering your bathroom.
Pros and Cons of Rubber Toilet Rings
Rubber toilet rings are made of synthetic rubber or foam rubber. They are flexible and durable and can withstand high temperatures and pressure. Some of the advantages of rubber toilet rings are:
- They are easy to install and remove. You need to place them over the flange and press them down firmly. You don’t need any tools or adhesive to install them.
- They are reusable. If you need to remove the toilet for any reason, you can reuse the same rubber ring as long as it is not damaged or deformed.
- They are resistant to mold and bacteria. Rubber does not absorb water or moisture, so it does not promote the growth of mold or bacteria that can cause odors or health problems.
- They are adjustable. Rubber toilet rings come in different sizes and shapes, and some have spacers or extenders that allow you to adjust the height and position of the ring to fit different toilets and flanges.
However, rubber toilet rings also have some drawbacks, such as:
- They are more expensive than wax rings. Rubber toilet rings usually cost more than wax rings, especially if they have extra features like spacers or extenders.
- They are not compatible with all toilets and flanges. Rubber toilet rings may not fit well with some types of toilets or flanges with irregular shapes or sizes. For example, some low-profile toilets may not have enough space for a rubber ring to fit properly.
- They may lose their shape or elasticity over time. Rubber toilet rings may become compressed, stretched, or warped due to temperature changes, water pressure, or toilet movement. This can affect their sealing ability and cause leaks.
Pros and Cons of Wax Rings
Wax rings are beeswax or petroleum wax mixed with other materials like clay or rubber. They are soft and pliable and can conform to the shape of the toilet and the flange. Some of the benefits of wax rings are:
- They are cheap and widely available. Wax rings are usually cheaper than rubber rings, and you can find them in most hardware stores or online.
- They create a strong and reliable seal. Wax rings form a tight bond with the toilet and the flange, creating a watertight and airtight seal that lasts for a long time.
- They can fill gaps and cracks. Wax rings can fill gaps or cracks between the toilet and the flange, compensating for any unevenness or misalignment.
However, wax rings also have some disadvantages, such as:
- They are messy and difficult to install and remove. Wax rings can be sticky and messy; you must apply enough pressure to seal them properly. You must also use a putty knife or a scraper to remove any excess wax from the flange or the floor. If you need to remove the toilet, scrape off the old wax ring completely and replace it with a new one.
- They are not reusable. Wax rings cannot be reused once installed because they lose shape and stickiness after being compressed.
- They are prone to melting and cracking. Wax rings can melt or crack due to high temperatures, water pressure, or toilet movement. This can cause leaks or allow sewer gas to escape.
Key Features of Rubber Toilet Rings
Rubber toilet rings have some key features that make them different from wax rings, such as:
- Material: Rubber toilet rings are made of synthetic rubber or foam rubber that is flexible and durable.
- Shape: Rubber toilet rings have a circular shape that fits over the flange on the floor.
- Size: Rubber toilet rings come in different sizes that match the diameter of the outlet of the toilet bowl. Some common sizes are 3 inches, 4 inches, or 3×4 inches.
- Spacers or extenders: Some rubber toilet rings have spacers or extenders that allow you to adjust the height and position of the ring to fit different toilets and flanges.
Key Features of Wax Rings
Wax rings have some key features that make them different from rubber rings, such as:
- Material: Wax rings are made of beeswax or petroleum wax mixed with other materials like clay or rubber, making them soft and pliable.
- Shape: Wax rings have a doughnut shape that fits around the outlet of the toilet bowl.
- Size: Wax rings come in different sizes that match the diameter of the outlet of the toilet bowl. Some common sizes are 3 inches, 4 inches, or 3×4 inches.
- Horn: Some wax rings have a horn or a sleeve that extends into the drain pipe and helps direct the water flow.
Comparison between Rubber Toilet Rings and Wax Rings
So, are rubber toilet rings better than wax rings? The answer depends on several factors, such as:
- The type of toilet you have: Some toilets may require a specific type of ring to fit properly. For example, some low-profile toilets may not have enough space for a rubber ring, while some high-efficiency toilets may need a horned wax ring to prevent clogging.
- The condition of your flange: The flange is the metal or plastic ring that connects the drain pipe to the toilet. If your flange is damaged, corroded, cracked, or too low or high on the floor, you may need a different type of ring to seal it properly. For example, if your flange is too low on the floor, you may need a spacer or an extender on your rubber ring to raise it. If your flange is too high on the floor, you may need a horned wax ring to prevent it from interfering with the flush.
- Your personal preference: You may prefer one type of ring over another based on your budget, convenience, or environmental concerns. For example, if you want a cheap and reliable option, you may choose a wax ring. You may choose a rubber ring for an easy and reusable option.
Choosing The Right Toilet Ring
To choose the right type of toilet ring for your situation, you should consider these steps:
- Measure your toilet outlet: You should measure the diameter of your toilet outlet (the hole at the bottom of your bowl) using a tape measure or a ruler. This will help you determine what size of ring you need.
- Check your flange condition: You should inspect your flange (the metal or plastic ring on the floor) for any damage, corrosion, cracks, or unevenness. You should also measure its height from the floor using a level or a ruler. This will help determine if your ring needs spacers, extenders, or horns.
- Compare your options: You should compare the pros and cons of rubber and wax rings based on your measurements, flange condition, toilet type, and personal preference. You should also check the reviews and ratings of different brands and models of rings online or in stores.
Standard Sizes Of Toilet Rings
The standard size of a toilet ring depends on the diameter of your toilet outlet (the hole at the bottom of your bowl). The most common sizes are:
- 3- inches: This is the standard size for most toilets in North America. It fits over a 3-inch drain pipe.
- 4 -inches: This is larger for some toilets with bigger outlets. It fits over a 4-inch drain pipe.
- 3×4 inches: This universal size can fit both 3-inch- and 4-inch drain pipes.
However, not all toilets follow these standard sizes, so you should always measure your toilet outlet before buying a ring.
How To Install A Toilet Ring
Installing a new toilet ring is not very difficult, but it requires some preparation and caution. Here are some general steps for installing either type of ring:
- Please turn off the water supply valve behind your toilet and flush it until it empties.
- Disconnect the water supply line from the tank using an adjustable wrench.
- Remove the nuts holding down your tank using an adjustable wrench and lift it off carefully.
- Remove the nuts holding down your bowl using an adjustable wrench and rock it back and forth gently until it loosens from the floor.
- Lift the bowl off the flange and place it on a towel or newspaper.
- Clean the old wax or rubber residue from the flange and the floor using a putty knife or a scraper. Be careful not to damage the flange or the drain pipe.
- Place the new rubber or wax ring over the flange and press it down firmly. Make sure it is centered and aligned with the drain pipe. If using a rubber ring with spacers or extenders, adjust them to the right height and position. If you use a wax ring with a horn, ensure the horn points down into the drain pipe.
- Lift the bowl and lower it over the ring and the flange. Make sure it is level and aligned with the wall. Press it down firmly and wiggle it slightly to ensure it seals properly.
- Replace the nuts on the bowl and tighten them evenly using an adjustable wrench. Do not overtighten them, as this can crack the bowl or the flange.
- Replace the tank on the bowl and reconnect the water supply line using an adjustable wrench. Turn on the water supply valve and check for leaks around the toilet or the floor.
- Test the flush and make sure it works properly. You may need to adjust or replace the ring if you notice any leaks or problems.
Tips For Maintaining Your Toilet Ring
To keep your toilet ring in good condition and prevent any leaks or odors, you should follow these tips:
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners that can damage or dissolve your ring. Use mild detergents or vinegar instead.
- Avoid flushing any objects that can clog your toilet or damage your ring. Use a plunger or a snake to clear any blockages.
- Check your toilet regularly for any signs of leaks or cracks. You may need to replace your ring if you notice any water or sewer gas around your toilet or floor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions and answers about toilet rings:
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on several factors, such as the type of ring, the condition of your flange, and how often you use your toilet. However, a general rule of thumb is to replace your ring every 5 to 10 years or whenever you notice any leaks or problems with your toilet.
No, you should not use both types of rings together, as this can create too much thickness and interfere with the flush. You should only use one type of ring that fits your toilet and flange.
No, you should not cut or trim your toilet ring, which can affect its sealing ability and cause leaks. You should only use a ring that matches the size of your toilet outlet and flange.
The lifespan of rubber toilet rings can vary depending on usage and maintenance. On average, they may last several years before needing replacement.
Yes, rubber toilet rings are reusable. They can be removed and reinstalled if necessary.
Toilet rings are essential components of your toilet that prevent water and sewer gas from leaking between your toilet and drain pipe.
There are two main types of toilet rings: rubber and wax. Rubber rings are flexible and durable but are more expensive and may not fit all toilets and flanges. Wax rings are cheap and reliable but messy and difficult to install and remove, and they may melt or crack over time.
To choose the right ring type for your situation, you should measure your toilet outlet, check your flange condition, compare your options, and follow the installation instructions carefully. You should also maintain your toilet ring regularly and replace it when necessary.