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toilet wax seal leak


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A relative asked me to come on by later tonight to look at a wobbly (unbalanced) toilet. I have never seen it in person before but I know that they had to replace the ceiling below and were told it was because the toilet was not sealed properly. The knucklehead contractor fixed the ceiling, used two wax rings, and shoved a piece of wood (shims) under the toilet took their money and left.

The shims are gone and the toilet is back to wobbling. They stopped using the toilet.

Before I go over there in a few hours I wanted to ask about some things to think about as possible options.

1. Is using two wax rings a good idea?

2. Is there a more permanent 'shim' solution?

3. is there another option than wax rings?


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Years ago when I was a plumbers helper we would use a plain wax ring on bottom and one with the plastic cone on the top. Was there a new floor installed over the old leaving a gap? Make sure the ring is holding the bolts well. Wobble? What's wrong with the floor?

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Right, visit the big box store and find the extender that you need. There are rubber seals and the combinations mentioned by Wasden. I would buy a new flange kit as well, and find the brass bolts, not plated steel, because steel will go rusty.

If on a tile floor, plastic shims may be the only option, but they can be set with putty or caulk to stay put. Fix the wobble first, then reset the toilet with a new tight seal.

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Sani Seal and Fernco both make rubber alternatives for the wax ring toilet seal. They come in a couple of different sizes depending on your needs.

First you have to remove the toilet, fix the flange (needs to be rock solid stationary), and measure your drain pipe. Then head on over to your big box store and see what they have or look either up on the internet and see where it's locally available in the size your looking for.

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Sani Seal

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I appreciate all the help. I was on site last night to take a look. I did not dismantle anything but will do so today. The toilet rocks left to right very noticably. Porclain tile is on the floor and I suspect nothing was done with the flange prior to setting the tile. I have no intention of removing the tile.

I purchased a few items to get me going.

Additional questions: When I remove the toilet and clean the wax from the flange what sort of height for the flange is ideal? Basically, what dimensions should I be looking forward before I remount the bowl?

Once everything is back in place with shims, etc....should I use plumbers putty or caulk between the bowl and the tile?

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The ring should be flush with the finish floor. I would not caulk the bottom so if there ever is another leak you might catch it sooner.

Agreed. Gotta have the flange at the correct height and securely fastened to the floor structure. You can shim the toilet if the floor is not flat but the flange needs to be right first.

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The grand debate; caulk the toilet to the floor, or not?

NJ Plumbing code is probably trying to make up for the incompetence of it's plumbers. Toilets never used to need caulking to the floor. A century of toilet installations worked great without caulking them to the floor. I take out toilets from century old buildings that are still as water and gas tight as the day they were installed......without caulk.

It's only in the current world, where plumbers can't set a flange or mount a bowl, that toilets need caulking.

I like the idea of caulking; it holds the leak water where folks can't see it.

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I got into it last night. Shoddy job from the guy before. Makes me angry how these folks rip you off.

Anyway, The waste pipe immediately under the floor is a 3 inch 90 degree black ABS pipe. It was set too high and the guy glued a flange on it and supported the whole thing under a 3/4 inch plywood donut. Bad news.

I cleared it all out and now need to redo. The problem I have is the fact that the flange was glued. A couple of options I would your opinion on...

I could cut the joint with an 'inside pipe cutter' and hope to have enough vertical pipe to grab with the new flange. This concern me since I may have to cut too much.

Second option, I have a PVC flange that can be inserted into the waste pipe. It is a narrower outlet but it might be my only option.


One other thing...if I go with the second option, what do I use to gluse white PVS flange to black ABS waste pipe?

Thx for the help

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Re: caulking to the floor, I recommend the Jim K method - caulk the front and sides to keep the pee spillage out on the floor where it can be wiped up, leave the back uncaulked so that leakage will show its ugly face.

I have set two toilets on tiles in this present house and have not caulked the toilets to the floors. They don't slide around maybe because the flanges are new and tight and my tile work is impeccable. [:)]

I am a pretty good shot, so pee puddles are not a major issue. But if you think about pee puddles, caulking seems advisable.

R: the short stub, I had the same problem from a previous botched installation which led to rottage and stinko. I opted for cutting the too low flange off and gluing on an ABS flange with some modification and trimming. Yes the flange needs to be up on the subfloor so it can be screwed down correctly. That is what will hold the toilet in place.

There is a PVC to ABS glue you can buy.

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...There is a PVC to ABS glue you can buy.

My foggy memory seems to remember a thread a while back where it seemed quite clear that ABS shouldn't be connected directly to PVC, despite the availability of cements said to be capable of doing it.


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I've always liked caulking placing them onto a horseshoe bed of bath caulk, settling them into the wax and then snugging the bolts, wiping the excess and letting them cure for 24 hours. Once that stuff cures nobody's butt, I don't care how big and heavy he is, can cause that thing to start sliding around and loosen up again.

Always leave a little opening at the back. If the danged seal goes out I hope to see the water coming out. It's also a quick path for the water to drain into the crawlspace if the bathroom floods. I'd rather have to pump out a crawl sump than deal with the drywall and floor repairs from a flooded bathroom.



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I had a problem with my computer therefore the void of information.

I think I put this one to rest. I will be moving on to my next plumbing topic...this one is my own.

I wound up getting an inside pipe cutting bit and shaving about 2 inches off the vertical ABS waste pipe. I shoved a rag downstream to keep the shaving from being flushed. Once I did that I carefully glued a new flange on. Before I attached the flange to the floor I reinforced the floor with a stainless plate as the floor was deteriorating around the cut out. I still had to shim the bowl becasue the floor was a bit uneven from the tile job but the falnge was sturdy as ever. I appreciate the assistance on this one.

I will start a new thread with my next dilemma.

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