Wax ring woes. Please help me!

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  #1  
Old 11-22-11, 06:52 PM
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Wax ring woes. Please help me!

Every couple of years, it seems that my toilet starts to leak at the base. The floor needed to be replaced last time this happened, and now the leak has started again. I need any and all advice on how to prevent this from happening again. Is there a certain style of wax ring that works better than another?
Thank you all,
Andy
 
  #2  
Old 11-23-11, 10:50 AM
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Hi Andy, I am guessing that it is not the wax ring that is the problem, It is the flange that the toilet bolts to. If the flange is not secured, It will allow the toilet to move a little and slowly break the seal of the wax ring. You can get repair flanges at any box store. If the flange is tight, you need to ensure that the toilet is bolted securely to the flange and that the wax ring is compressed enough to form a good watertight seal. If the bolts are not tight enough, it allows a little movement in the toilet and the wax seal will eventually fail. I have actually shimmed a toilet on an uneven floor to ensure it is level and can't move.

Wax rings are pretty good if everything else is right. You can get thicker ones that account for tiled floors or you may be able to stack 2 thin ones.

Good Luck with it!
Jim
 
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Old 11-23-11, 11:10 AM
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I think Jim nailed it - your toilet is likely moving and that is causing the wax ring to fail.
 
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Old 11-23-11, 03:48 PM
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I have a bunch of rental property and I curse the existence of wax rings. It's technology from the 1800's. We can put a man on the moon but still rely on a beeswax ring to bridge the gap from a toilet to the plumbing. Wax rings work well under perfect conditions with a rock solid floor and properly secured toilet flange. If the floor has any softness or if the toilet flange is broken then there can be movement between the toilet and drain flange every time someone sits on the toilet. Over time this slight movement causes wax ring to fail.

I've tried the wax rings with a urethane insert and they don't seem to work much better than a standard ring. There are a couple brands and styles of no wax devices that can work better.

One is made by Fernco and can work very well but I've had spotty results getting them to stick to toilets that have previously had a wax ring installed. They work best on a new, clean toilet. They work by sticking a plastic/rubber section to the bottom of the toilet which has a series of thin ridges that seal against the inside of the drain pipe. Since the Fernco is firmly attached to the toilet and extends into the drain they can accommodate movement better than a wax ring. If you attempt to stick one on a toilet that has had a wax ring you need to fanatically clean the bottom of the toilet. Remove all visible wax and then thoroughly scrub the bottom of the toilet with MEK solvent to remove any remaining wax. Most toilet bottoms are not glazed so the wax can get into the pores of the porcelain so you need to be extremely thorough. I don't even try anymore. I only use them on new toilets.

There is another style made by Fluidmaster I have recently started trying. It relies on parts to be attached to the toilet flange and seals to the toilet with a flexible gasket. So far they have worked on used toilets and floors & toilet flanges that have some flex/movement. They are about $8 each so they are considerably more expensive than a $3 wax ring but they do seem to work in applications where wax rings have failed. I've only tried them on a few toilets in the past several months but so far I have not had one fail but I don't have enough history with them yet to say it's a wonder gizmo.
 
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Old 11-24-11, 06:20 PM
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Thank you all for the ideas. I bought a Harvey's #3 reinforced wax ring before I saw these responses. Since I already have it, I will try to install it Sunday. If that fails, I'm going to the Fluidmaster style that Pilot Dane mentioned.
Again, thank you all for the ideas!
Andy
 
  #6  
Old 11-25-11, 12:04 PM
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I haven't used this but the advertising is impressive.

What is Sani Seal? | Sani Seal Toilet Gasket
 
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Old 11-25-11, 02:43 PM
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Furd I'd give you a great big ole' bear hug if you were on the right coast. I've been looking for something like that for years. I've been working around that concept and have made a couple out of neoprene foam and they worked great for about a year but the material just wasn't right. The Sani Seal looks like a urethane foam which should last forever.
 
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Old 11-25-11, 03:44 PM
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I will give my opinion. All those other types of gaskets are all novelty items. Most if not all the flange needs to be correct height and thats not always the case. The trouble is you can only squash them so much. A) you crack the toilet, B) the toilet sits too high.

Nothing beats wax. Too low use two. To high, the wax will squash to appropriate height. If the flange is mounted correctly and the toilet never rocks wax will last a lifetime. And if you think you want it to last longer, then that silly thinking. The bathroom will get renovated way before then.

IMO do yourselfs a favor. Use wax and leave these products alone. I believe nothing good will come from them except frustration, recalls, leaks, installation issues, additional labor costs, etc...

My motto is use what works. Its like trying to build a better mouse trap. There is no benefit to using anything but wax. And if you say its messy then you have not installed enough toilets in your lifetime.

My 2 cents.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 11-25-11, 07:53 PM
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A lot of IFs in your response, Mike. I'd also add that if everyone had that attitude we all would still be using outhouses, catching our meat with bows and arrows and cooking it over an open fire of twigs. Also drinking out of streams and wearing bearskin clothes.

I've personally have never had a problem with using wax rings but I'm all for progress.
 
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Old 11-25-11, 09:09 PM
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A lot of IFs in your response, Mike. I'd also add that if everyone had that attitude we all would still be using outhouses, catching our meat with bows and arrows and cooking it over an open fire of twigs. Also drinking out of streams and wearing bearskin clothes.
What??? You mean there is something other then my outhouse in the yard? I better get my bows off the back of it, then chop it up and put in in my fire twig pit I use to cook my fresh deer meat. I will do all this tomorrow. It will be cold so I may wear my Bear skin overcoat while I work....

I dont mean not to embrace technology but somethings you cant improve on. They are going about it the wrong anyway really.

The flange should just be a shark bite and the toilet should have a molded pipe on the bottom. I just need to think about the release mechanics....

OK going down the creek to take a bath. Be back later......

Mike NJ
 
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Old 11-25-11, 11:26 PM
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Mike, everything can be improved upon. I'm sure a lot of people think I am "backwards" because of my love for steam engines. I really miss marine steam but I do recognize that there are better propulsion systems today.

As for a better toilet connection, I like the Toto Unifit. Spud on the toilet outlet fits into the synthetic rubber coupling. Mine has been fine for over ten years. Yeah, the unifit connects to the floor flange with a beeswax ring but that is because you can't change 100 year-old technology overnight.

Think back to the day that they just beat a lead closet bend over the top of the floor, added a wax ring and then screwed the toilet to the floor. The use of the attached flange must have hit those old timers like a total waste of time and material. Or think back to those horrible front-outlet washdown toilets and what a superior product a siphon jet is. I don't even want to see a washdown in a museum, let alone have to use one.
 
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Old 11-28-11, 07:59 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the great advice. This afternoon, I installed that Harvey's #3 reinforced wax ring without incident. Time will tell how it holds up, but it seems OK now. Hopefully no more leaks!
Andy
 
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Old 11-28-11, 09:28 PM
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IMO those rings should be outlawed also.

The plastic is actually in the upper part of the wax. If the flange it slightly high the toilet will not squash the wax down. The plastic holds the toilet up. Causing rocking and eventually a leak.

Cant squash the plastic.

Take a ring and disect it. You will see.

Nothing works like a good old fashion regular wax ring IMO.

Mike, everything can be improved upon
Not everything.

Mike NJ





Harvey #3........Uggg
 
  #14  
Old 11-29-11, 06:06 AM
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Yes, the #3 has a urethane insert that is not a true circle or doughnut. It's a straight piece of urethane bent into a loop with the ends touching. When the toilet squishes the wax down it often opens the loop up to form a "U". Sometimes they work but often the urethane prevents the toilet from seating all the way down to the floor. Movement slowly squishes the urethane insert out of place.

Keep an eye out for any increase in movement of the toilet over time. Also, periodically check from beneath (crawl space or downstairs) for signs of a leak. Often the leak will run down under the bathroom floor without being visible in the bathroom. If not caught soon enough it usually requires replacing wood.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 07:45 PM
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This is exactly what happened to the floor several years ago. We did have to replace the floor under the toilet, and that was NOT fun. Fortunately, the area under the floor is wide open, and I will watch for further signs of leakage. If it happens again, I will not use the reinforced ring again, as your explanations do make perfect sense.
Thanks,
Andy
 
 

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