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I have noticed that sitting on my toilet feels a little crooked, and today we have removed the toilet to inspect the flange. It’s an older flange with a metal ring and PVC insert which I imagine is the kind that is glued to the drain pipe inside. The metal looks pretty warped to me (ie im pretty sure that it’s lower around two of the screws and higher near the others, kinda like a very subtle roller coaster), which I suspect is why the toilet sat a little crooked but I’m not too sure as I don’t have experience with this.

I think it would be a good idea to replace it here but I have also seen these “repair kits” that can go over the top, like this one: https://www.homedepot.com/p/NEXT-by-Danco-HydroSeat-Toilet-Flange-Repair-10672X/204403879

I’d be all in on replacing it except it’s a little scary to have to cut the PVC insert while making sure I don’t cut the drain pipe as well, especially since I’m not too sure where one ends and the other begins, so I wanted to ask if anyone had advice on what might be the best route to take. I’m comfortable with cutting the old one out if I can be confident enough that it’s not a terrible idea :-)

Thanks!

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    A little warped or out of parallel is what the wax ring s all about. Sometimes fixing something that is not broken can lead into all kinds of experience (ie the school of hard knocks). The toilet should not actually sit on the flange. There should be a small space between the flange and the toilet.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 18 at 0:19
  • @EdBeal this sounds like very good wisdom - thank you!
    – aknodt
    Apr 19 at 16:22
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It looks like the flange might be screwed down (note the screws in the flange itself).

The repair flange you linked is a "screw-down" type where you have a raised flange and want to secure it to the subfloor. I'm not sure I'd use that type here (a tensioned "push-in" type would be easier) but I'm unconvinced you need to replace it.

The situation where you need to replace your flange is when the narrow part (where the flange bolts grip underneath to secure the toilet) is rusted out and no longer holds the flange bolts. This flange looks older, but it's metal and the narrow parts are intact. If you can fit new flange bolts on either side then you're fine to put a new wax ring in and re-mount it.

Why is your toilet moving then? Likely the floor isn't level and your toilet can move on the flange. Here's what I would do

  1. Buy a new set of flange bolts and try to re-mount the toilet (dry fit it without the ring).
  2. Once you've tightened as much as you dare, see if it still moves. Look at the base of the toilet for gaps. If you find gaps, add plastic toilet shims until it doesn't rock
  3. If you still can't fix it with shims, then and only then would I consider adding a new flange. Start with a rubber tension replacement flange, since these are relatively easy to install
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    If your floor is flat and you have to shim the toilet because of a high point on the ring, sometimes rather than using individual shims its better to get some appropriate thickness rubber floor tile and cut a shim to the shape of the toilet base. Gives you an even gap and solid foundation and it's not visible once the base of the toilet is caulked.
    – K H
    Apr 18 at 2:05
  • thanks @Machavity that makes a lot of sense! In fact there is a small spot where there is a very slight incline to the floor behind the toilet, so I now understand how that could be the reason that the toilet sat crooked (it fortunately wasn't wobbling, you could just feel a slight lean when you sat down). I'll see if I can implement this fix next weekend!
    – aknodt
    Apr 19 at 13:21

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