A toilet flange (also called a closet flange) is a pipe fitting that secures a toilet unit to the drain pipe in the bathroom floor. Taking after the name “water closet,” the traditional name for a toilet, closet flanges are typically made of PVC, rubber, copper, brass, stainless steel or metal and can be secured in place with bolts or screws. A rubber gasket and wax ring tightly seal the flange to the bottom of the toilet. This keeps the flange bolted to the toilet, rather than directly to the floor. Check out our DIY instructions on how to replace a toilet flange.
The term “flange” comes from the Old French word “flanchir” which means “to bend”. Flanges have long been used to connect pipes and cylinder-shaped fixtures. While primarily used in plumbing, flanges can also be found in train wheels and camera lenses. These extremely useful but understated objects are essential in securing an object in place in connecting it to another unit.
Without a closet flange, a toilet will not sit securely in line with the drain pipe. Yes, in theory, the toilet could be attached directly to a floor or subfloor, but this would only last so long before leaks and water-soaked rotting wood would need to be repaired or replaced. You’ll also want to make sure your flange is tightly connected to prevent any leaks. In other words, the toilet flange is essential!