Leaking around the base of an older toilet - your thoughts and help please

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  #1  
Old 05-18-17, 02:01 PM
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Leaking around the base of an older toilet - your thoughts and help please

Our son's home from college today. He used the toilet in his bathroom and noticed water coming out from around the base of the bowl part of the toilet.

I would think the wax ring needs to be replaced? (and not much more? If this was an ongoing issue, the water could have caused problems with the tile / floor / subfloor / ceiling below? It hasn't been used much at all for months, but we think the toilet is over the cabinets in the kitchen so we don't see water stains in the ceiling.

Some questions:

1) I'll have to take up the toilet to do the repair, right? And the bolts are rusted so I'll have to replace those at least.

2) It could be a crack in the ceramic rather than the wax ring right? but unlikely? How can you tell when the toilet gets lifted up where the water was coming from?

3) What's the 'average' life of a wax ring?

4) what are you using these days for a wax ring? is there something better than a wax ring? I remember replacing 1 once and 'didn't get it right' and had water coming into the basement (fortunately that was a 1st floor bath over a crawl space / unfinished basement. This is a 2nd floor toilet... want to make sure I get it right.) Is replacing a wax ring idiot proof?

5) I've always wondered - people say to caulk around the toilet / floor edge right? And I always thought if there was a problem, then the water would go into the floor / ceiling and there'd be a delay till you'd find out about the problem with a water stain in the ceiling maybe. Here, while it was caulked / plumbers puttied, water got out to alert us to a problem likely sooner than if it was better sealed around the toilet?

6) From the pictures, I can't tell the year - both the lid and tank's year seems to be smudged. The toilet was here when we bought the house 20? years ago. Would you just plan on replacing the ring replace the whole toilet? It's not a low flow toilet (which can be good AND bad right : ) ??. it does fit with the wall tiles and bath color.

7) My son needs a plunger on this AND the low flow toilets (does lots of plungering weaken the wax ring?)

8) Thank you for reading this far and dealing with my compulsiveness : )

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  #2  
Old 05-18-17, 02:15 PM
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By the way, the toilet doesn't rock and it appears snug to the ground.


DOH! Went to look at things. The year apears to be 1970. So 37 years old.

but I put my hand on the back of the base above the floor and flushed. Water is coming from the tank / bowl connection.

Is that rubber? connection replacable on a 37 year old American Standard toilet?

Back to most of the questions - would you replace just that rubber connection? Or the whole toilet at this point? Have to take the tank off... what's the chance the bolts break / break the ceramic. Or the water line / the flush mechanism (that I think I put in at some point) connections - would you replace those now that you are disturbing them, etc.
 
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Old 05-18-17, 02:23 PM
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By the way, the toilet doesn't rock and it appears snug to the ground.
That was going to be my first question.

If the toilet was flushing ok and looked in good shape... just repair it.

The tank bolts will be rusted/corroded thoroughly. They won't unscrew. Some times just turning the bolt head in the tank with a screwdriver will make the head fall off.

That rubber gasket is very particular on that toilet. I had a similar one. I ended up getting an exact American Standard gasket at the supply house. The universals at the home improvement store did not seal correctly.
 
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Old 05-18-17, 04:04 PM
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1. Yes, you need to pull the toilet and replace the wax ring. Your bolts are going to be the first headache. They probably will not loosen but hopefully they will break off. If they don't come loose I use a reciprocating saw to cut them off. Some wax rings are packaged with bolts but I don't like them. I prefer to buy larger diameter stainless steel or brass hold down bolts.

2. Nope, A toilet very rarely (almost never) spontaneously cracks. But, if you are looking for a reason to replace the blue with a white or other color toilet now would be a good time. If you do replace it don't go cheap. The cheap toilets sold in big box stores have a poor quality flush.

3. A wax ring can last 20 or more years but I just yesterday had to replace one in my house only about 8 years old while the others are almost 16 years old with no sign of trouble.

4. If the toilet wasn't rocking and your floor and toilet flange are solid then a wax ring is still a good option. I just tried a Perfect Seal waxless ring. Installation was a breeze and it seems to have sealed without issue but time will tell. I had tried the bright green Sani Seal foam squishy ring in my rental houses but had to replace many of them within a few years so I can not recommend them. There is also a Fernco that sticks to the bottom of the toilet but I had many of them fail and would NEVER put one on an old toilet that previously had a wax ring.

5. My building/plumbing inspectors want to see the toilet caulked but I never do unless they make me. I'm with you. If there is a leak I want to know about it ASAP.

6. Your toilet looks like an old high water usage model. If the toilet gets used frequently I'd upgrade it to a modern, high quality low water model.

7. I have had very good luck with the better quality water saving toilets. Good ones even flush better and clog less than the old fashioned water guzzlers. The last new one I installed was a year ago was a Toto Drake and it's been working beautifully.
 
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Old 05-19-17, 07:33 AM
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Thanks guys! And Dane, sorry, I posted a 2nd post you missed - turns out the issue in this case is the connection between tank and bowl. But it's good to hear from someone as experienced as you concurring about the caulking to the floor

PJ - thanks for the heads up about the rubber gasket. I'll be sure to avoid a generic.

I'll likely want to get it sooner locally, but would you think this is the way to go:

https://www.amazon.com/American-Stan.../dp/B002J3CZP4

a kit with the bolts? Is there a specific gasket for the 4049 tank or I just need to make sure that it's made by American Standard (and there's just 1 for most all of their 'standard' tanks?
 
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Old 05-19-17, 08:05 AM
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At that age, I would replace the toilet.
 
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Old 05-19-17, 08:21 AM
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Back to most of the questions - would you replace just that rubber connection? Or the whole toilet at this point? Have to take the tank off... what's the chance the bolts break / break the ceramic. Or the water line / the flush mechanism (that I think I put in at some point) connections - would you replace those now that you are disturbing them, etc
I have not read the whole thread but I would rebuild that toilet.

Reson being is the color..

You can clear the holes around the bowl and try to decalcify if the flush is bad. I do it with great succes.

Put ne fill and flush valve in reset toilet and be done with it..

But thats just me.

I like to keep bathrooms of that era original. I love those old colors and tile look..
 
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Old 05-19-17, 08:25 AM
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https://www.griggindustries.com/page469.html

Tank parts

A coat hanger use to clean out holes under rim of bowl..
 
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Old 05-19-17, 08:34 AM
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This is beautiful to me..



 
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Old 05-19-17, 08:57 AM
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You're being serious, Mike?

I would be ripping that out and replacing it today.
 
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Old 05-19-17, 09:51 AM
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As far as I know there are different gaskets because I went thru several that didn't fit right or seal correctly. I took the old one to the supply house and the guy recognized it immediately.

Mine used a gasket very similar to this one with the actual plastic nut cutouts.

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  #12  
Old 05-19-17, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa
". . . This is beautiful to me . . ."
I once had a bathroom like that and my plumber said i was "mudded in" so thoroughly, he'd need a jack hammer to dislodge anything !
 
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Old 05-19-17, 11:26 AM
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Not to get off topic but,


You're being serious, Mike?

I would be ripping that out and replacing it today
Yes unfortunatly I am serious.

I have a soft spot for this art. We were installing similar baths when I started plumbing many years ago..

I would cringe when going to give estimates to rip out perfectly good baths for what they called an update..

Why would you rip this out? To follow the jones'.





Im also no stranger to keeping kitchens original too..

 
  #14  
Old 05-19-17, 11:42 AM
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This has nothing to do with the Joneses, they don't invite me over anyway. I just personally could not stand to look at something like that in my own house.

I'm thinking about what I'm going to do with the one in my house which I primarily use, as it has tan/brown paint and blue fixtures. I'll replace with white fixtures and put a lighter color on the walls.
 
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