Why You Should Install A Toilet Flange On Top Of A Tile

When arranging your bathroom and making sure everything falls into place perfectly, it is important to have two factors in mind: aesthetics and functionality. Oftentimes, even if something isn’t aesthetically pleasing, it is the best solution when it comes to functionality.

Choosing the best positioning for your toilet flange can be a bit tricky since each and every one of the possible solutions has both its pros and cons. Today we’re going to discuss the downsides and advantages of toilet flange on top of the tile, and how to make it happen.

Stay tuned as we discuss toilet flange installation and the best options available.

Should a toilet flange sit on top of a tile?

To give you a short and precise answer: yes, a toilet flange should sit on top of a tile. The main reason for this kind of placement lies in the fact that placing your toilet flange beneath the tile floor could cause drainage issues – especially leaks.

Since the toilet bowls are secured on top of the toilet flanges with a wax ring, this ring allows for the flange to properly connect with the lower level piping. Also, the role of this wax ring is to properly seal the toilet bowl to the toilet flange.

While some people decide to install their toilet flange before adding their tiles, this can be a rather risky move – especially when you’re renovating your bathroom or building a brand new one. The possible issues, especially leaks, could ruin all your hard work. 

Also, one of the potential issues with having your toilet flange below the level of tiles is the lack of stability. In many cases, when the toilet flange sits below the tiles, the toilet is rocking and it isn’t as stable as it would be on top of the tiles. 

In most toilets, you’ll notice the toilet flange above the floor, approximately a quarter of an inch above the tiles. The flange is also connected to the underground piping. 

When the toilet flange is sitting on the tiles, it is safely secured through the bolts, which provides extra stability and prevents any leaks. If the flange is touching the tile, it is advised to secure it with the screws going through the tiles all the way to the bottom. 

However, even if you decide to place the toilet flange below the tiles, you can still achieve security and stability, but only if you purchase a good wax ring. A quality, thick wax ring will ensure that the difference in height isn’t as prominent. 

How to install a toilet flange on a tile

As you can already tell, installing a toilet flange on a tile floor seems to be the most convenient choice, and we’re quite sure your aesthetic requirements will also be fulfilled. 

When it comes to installing the toilet flange, whether you’re renovating your bathroom or building a new one, it is better to contact a professional handyman in case you’re inexperienced in these projects. 

However, if you’re no stranger to DIY home repair projects and you’d like to do this on your own, we’re positive you can successfully install toilet flange on tile following our detailed step-by-step guide. 

The necessary materials and tools for installing toilet flange on tile include:

  1. Toilet flange;
  2. Variable speed drill;
  3. Carbide or diamond drill bits;
  4. Screwdriver attachment;
  5. Cooling oil;
  6. Toilet flange screws;
  7. Pencil to mark the holes.

Here are the steps to install toilet flange on top of tile:

  1. Set the toilet flange over the tile, making sure that the holes on the back of the flange are parallel to the wall. Also, you should place the two slots parallel to each side of the room.
  2. Now that you’ve positioned the flange, you want to grab a marker and mark where you should drill. Depending on the type of toilet flange, there should be 4-6 holes around the perimeter of the lip. 
  3. At least 4 holes are necessary to evenly secure the entire flange and completely anchor it to the tile flooring.
  4. Before doing any drill work, you want to make sure you’ve prepared the drill, and to do so dip it into cooling oil. The role of the cooling oil, as the name itself implies, is to lower the temperature of the drill as you’re drilling.
  5. Also, during the drilling process itself, if you see that the drill is getting too hot, red, or there’s some smoke, you should repeat the process of dipping it into cooling oil. 
  6. Once you position the drill onto the marked place where you want to create a hole, make sure to move it back and forth until you feel you have a nice grip of it and the drill is biting into the tile, so the drilling is as precise as possible.
  7. Now that the drill has bitten into the tile and you’ve positioned it correctly, start drilling at a low speed straight down into the tile.
  8. Once you feel the drill going through the tile, you should increase the speed, allowing the drill to go through the backboard, reaching the subfloor. This is a step you should repeat for every single hole you’ve marked.
  9. When you finish boring all the necessary holes, install the screws which will hold the toilet flange in place and provide the stability you need for your toilet.
  10. Take out the drill bit and replace it with a screwdriver attachment. Position the screws into the holes, through the tiles, and install them securing the flange to the floor. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ve successfully installed your toilet flange.

F. A. Q.

Now that we’ve covered the most important question, which is how to successfully install a toilet flange on top of tile flooring, we can also address some of the related topics that you may find useful when renovating or organizing your bathroom.

1. Should I caulk the toilet?

Yes, it is advised to caulk the toilet, and it isn’t as complicated as it may seem at first. You can do so by using a caulking gun to apply the caulk, which you can evenly disburse using a tool, or even your fingers. It is important to remove the excess caulk. 

Once you’ve applied and disbursed the caulk, make sure to let it dry overnight. Caulking does not only prevent the toilet from leaking, but it also plays an important role in the prevention of unpleasant odor. 

What’s more, caulk keeps the toilet secure, preventing any rocking or malfunction. Therefore, it is advised both for sanitary and safety reasons. 

2. Do I need a plumber to replace a toilet?

No, this isn’t a procedure that strictly requires professional assistance – as long as you’re following the procedure and making sure you’re not missing any important steps. Since it isn’t too complicated or dangerous – you can do it on your own. 

However, if you’ve never operated a drill, and you’re inexperienced in this sort of project, you may want to hire a professional, or at least have someone experienced to give you a hand. As we’ve mentioned, the process isn’t too complicated, but it still requires some skill. 

Also, keep in mind that the toilet itself is quite heavy, so you want to avoid doing this on your own if you have any medical issues, or you’re simply not used to handling heavy objects on your own.

Whether you’re experienced in DIY projects around the house, or you’re a complete beginner, it is always recommended to have someone by your side assisting you. 

3. What should I do once I install the flange?

Installing the toilet flange and making sure it is positioned correctly is the most complicated part of the entire process. What comes next isn’t as challenging, so you don’t have to worry too much about these next few steps. 

Once you’ve installed the flange, you want to add the wax ring and the bolts into place, anchoring and sealing the flange. In addition to the screws, these elements will make sure that the flange is secure and stable.

Next, you want to put the toilet bowl into position, aligning the holes on the toilet with the closet flange bolts. You should lower the toilet until the bowl meets the wax ring. To ensure that it is stable, compress the bowl on the wax ring tightly.

Now, it is time to add the plastic washers first, and then metal washers and nuts, making sure they’re added in that exact order. Use a wrench to make sure the nuts are tight, but avoid over-tightening them as this could potentially damage the base of the toilet. 

Once you’ve completed this step, your toilet is all set up!

4. Do I have to remove the toilet to tile the bathroom floor?

Yes, it is necessary to remove the toilet when tiling your bathroom floor, or doing any kind of flooring for that matter. As we’ve discussed in this article, it is advised to place the toilet flange on top of tile flooring, so you’ll have to remove the toilet before this step.

Of course, even if you decide to place the flange below the tiles, this still requires the toilet to be removed so the floors can be leveled correctly. Doing the tiling around the toilet can result in uneven flooring, as well as bigger functional issues.

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