replacing a toilet flapper - man holding up flapper inside toilet tank by lift chain

Replacing a Toilet Flapper (in Less Than 30 Minutes!)

In our last article, we showed you how to adjust a toilet flapper to keep the water from running continuously. But what if the flapper needs to be replaced?

That’s what we’re going to learn today.

Does the Flapper Need to be Replaced?

Let’s assume that your toilet continues to run after being flushed. And you’ve already tried adjusting the flapper.

The next step is to determine if you have a worn or cracked flapper. Thankfully, this is super easy. All you need to do is look at the bottom of the flapper.

The flapper itself is usually made of rubber but might be made of plastic. In either case, the underside should be completely smooth. There should be no indication of wear, rips, or cracks. If you see any of these, then replacing a toilet flapper is the right move.

adjusting a toilet flapper - man holding a worn out toilet flapper or toilet stopper
The underside of this flapper is completely worn away. But it doesn’t have to be nearly this bad to cause problems. Even if you have a small rip or crack, the flapper might not be creating a watertight seal with the flush valve seat that it connects to.

Here’s What You Need

Replacing a toilet flapper requires very little. The materials and tools required include:

  • New replacement toilet flapper
  • Spond
  • Slip-joint pliers (possibly)
  • Scrubbing pad

Assuming that you already have your replacement flapper and these tools, you’ll only need about 20-30 minutes to do this job.

Replacing a Toilet Flapper in 6 Steps

If your toilet still runs after adjusting your toilet stopper (the flapper), it’s probably worn out or cracked. The good news is that replacing a toilet flapper can be done quickly with these steps.

Leaky Toilet Flapper - Diagram
This diagram provides a visual reference for the most important parts of the toilet tank.
  1. Begin by turning off the water supply valve. It is usually a round handle that can be found under the toilet tank, against the wall on the left side.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank and sponge dry the tank.
  3. Unscrew the old flapper from the lift wire. If necessary, grip the top loop in the lift wire with slip-joint pliers to keep the lift wire from turning.
  4. Take the old flapper to a hardware store or plumbing supply house and purchase a replacement. Screw the new flapper onto the lift wire.
  5. Pull up the new toilet flapper and clean the inside of the flush valve outlet by scouring it with a scrubbing pad. By doing this, you’ll ensure that the flapper fits snugly onto the flush valve seat and creates a watertight seal.
  6. Drop the flapper into position and turn on the water supply valve under the toilet tank.

That’s all there is to it. Now all you need to do is flush the toilet to celebrate your handiwork.


Here are some great resources related to replacing a toilet flapper. Also included is an in-depth article on how to replace a toilet handle system (which might also fix the problem).

Final Thoughts

Those who enjoy simply plumbing projects around the home will love this project. It’s a quick, easy replacement of just one part. Fixing a continuously running toilet provides a lot of satisfaction.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help replacing a toilet flapper.

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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