Can't get a good seal on a Rivers Edge Whitehall Lane toilet bowl

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Tadst34, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    Hello all. I'm a DYI'er and new here.

    I am having a heck of time trying to get my toilet to seal at the flange.

    First issue, the closet flange sits about 1/2" below the finished floor.
    Second, the collar on the toilet has two grooves where the "p trap" is, recessing upward toward the tank.
    In other words, it is not completely flat where the wax ring sits.

    Has anyone else had this problem with a toilet?

    The original problem was that there was a small amount of water leaking from underneath the base. The baseboard(mdf) was swollen from water damage. It has been replaced.

    I tried the following;
    1. Two wax rings. Still leaked
    2. Flowmaster wax free. Still leaked
    3. Two 1/4" spacers with wax free. Still leaked
    4. Two spacers and xl wax ring. Still leaked.

    My next try is to fill the two grooves in the bottom of the toilet with some left over wax then use two wax rings along with the two spacers. What to you all think? I have examined the heck out of the toilet for cracks and cannot find one.

    Maybe thinking for trying the fernco wax free, but don't think it will work because if the two grooves.

    If none of this works I may just buy a new toilet and try that. I don't really want to since the toilet is only 4 years old. Plus I have three more of these toilets in the house. The other two rock and move. So I will be replacing those rings too. The toilet is called "rivers edge".

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks.

    Tom

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2012
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    The pros will doubtless have a better insight than I, but my first reaction is that if your drainage pipe is clear and functioning properly, you shouldn't get enough water "leakage" from flushing into it to damage the baseboard over the relatively-short time period that you are talking about. Also, if you are using enough wax, if I understand your description correctly, I don't see why the wax wouldn't just compress into the ridges that you are talking about and provide a sufficient seal. Do you have any specific reason to believe that the leakage is coming through the seal between the toilet and the flange? Could it be coming out from somewhere under the flange (i.e. cracked drain pipe) or above (cracked toilet, as you mention)? Have you tried putting some dye in the bowl and seeing whether it propagates through a bowl crack anywhere?

    Sorry I can't be more helpful.

    PS Which rivers edge model do you have? There are photos at the manufacturer's web site which you can find with a search engine.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  3. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    It is a Whitehall lane elongated toilet. I will try to take a pic of it later.

    After each of my four attempts, I slide a piece of paper under the toilet flushed a few times and pulled it back out. It is all wet. I made sure the area was dry before set the toilet.
    There is no damage to the cealing below the toilet so I think the drain pipe is ok.
    I'm sure there is some small amount of damage to the subfloor, as well as the cement board. But I don't think it warrants me to rip the floor up.

    I was cretain the two wax rings would have worked because I compressed about 1 1/2" of wax but it didn't.


    I didn't try the dye. I will on my next attempt.

    I put paper on both sides and in the front. The piece seems to get wet but not the sides. Maybe there is a hairline crack.

    If I do get a new toilet I'm thinking the Toto Drake.

    Really hope I don't need to shell out another $200 for a new toilet.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  4. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    Is it okay to use food coloring as a dye test?
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Let state right up front, I'm not a plumber, so there are many things I am not familiar with. That said, I have never heard of a Whitehall Lane toilet and I have been on this forum for years. I suspect that may be part of your problem. Second thing, a half inch recess is a lot to compensate for. Not saying it can't be done, just a lot. If it was mine, I redo the flange and get it on top of the finished floor. Third. If your other toilets rock and roll, their seals are also broken, just not showing a leak. Any Toto would be a wise choice. The Drake is a favorite because it is less expensive than many of the other models and it work extremely well, but at least examine the other choices for their appearance and consider redoing the flange.
  6. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Yep. Food coloring is what a lot of the manufacturer's web sites recommend, in fact.

    I see that you actually did try raising the flange with spacers and then an extra-large wax ring on top of that. I don't see how that could fail to compress the wax. But we'll see, I guess.
  7. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    Yeah, I don't know what the heck is going on. I looked closer at my other rivers edge toilets and they rock, and one sits off of the floor in the back. It also shows sings of slight water damage on the baseboard. Seems the plumber may not have been consistent with setting the closet flanges.

    I highly frustrated. This shouldn't be this hard.
  8. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    Yeah, I think it is a local company. A family friend sold them to me from his plumbing supply company.

    It seems that the distance from the flange to the elbow is very short.
    Is there a way to redo the flange without ripping up the floor?
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    A plumber could likely do it without damaging the floor. I doubt if you could DIY and if you did work on it and damage the floor, the floor repair would cost more than you "saved" by not hiring a plumber.
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I just did a Google search for Whitehall lane toilets and came up with zero. There are Whitehall lane vanities, but nothing for toilets. Maybe you should check the tank lids for brand and model #, but I suspect you have cheapo builder grade toilets.
  11. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Gary, The brand is river's edge. They have a web site with 3 different models, one of which is the whitehall. Our site won't let you post the link. The part that goes between www and com is riversedge p l b g. It goes all together, but our site won't even let you put those 4 letters together with the name, or even separate from the name, hence the spaces between the letters in this post. There are spec sheets there with photos. Trapway looks primitive. Toilets are priced high for what they appear to be.

    Tad: I'm not sure how the distance you are referencing is important; it doesn't seem uncommon for the closet bend to be right there. (There's a minimum and maximum distance from the center of the flange to the inner edge of the vent -- the water closet trap arm length -- but the bend doesn't need to be far down from the flange.)
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  12. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    I was thinking if the distance is to small it would be hard to use an inside pipe cutter to attach a new closet flange.

    What would be a non-primitive trapway?

    It sucks because I have three of these toilets and don't want to spend $600-$700 for three new toilets.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,316
    Location:
    New England
    First, as was mentioned, but you may have missed it, if a toilet rocks, the seal will break. Wax isn't resilient...once compressed, it doesn't spring back, so, you must ensure that the toilet is shimmed, if necessary, so that it is rock solid once smushed onto the floor. And, when you set it and compress the wax, try to do it fairly evenly IOW, don't push it down all the way on one side, then the other, either both at the same time, or a little back and forth. The wax shouldn't care if there are small ridges on the horn of the toilet - it should mold itself to that and seal, but if it rocks, all bets are off. The waxless seal may have had problems with those, but wax won't.

    So, the best procedure is to set the toilet down without wax. Figure out where you need shims to keep is rock solid, then lift up again, set the wax, then set the toilet back down onto the shims so that when it is fully down, it won't move. If that fails, the toilet may be defective with a leak, or if it is a two-piece, you may have a leak between the tank and the bowl, or the fill valve seal may be leaking.

    If you shut the water off, does the tank empty after sitting for awhile, or does it stay full? If it stays full, it's not leaking (obviously!). But could when you flush if the seal between the tank and the bowl is either not tight enough, or defective.
  14. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Any bowl will leak it it rocks.

    Pick up some shims at the hardware store.
    Check to see how the bowl fits without wax; does it rock?
    Next install with two wax rings set on the floor. Shim the back to keep the front of the bowl tight to the floor. When the bowl is stable, then you can snug the nuts down.
    Finish by caulking almost all the way around the bowl.
    A bowl that moves will always leak.
  15. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    WJ: Thanks for clearing up the brand name. Of course, I still haven't heard of it so my remark about "El Cheapo" still applies.
  16. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Yet another Google using the River's edge name, and still nothing pertaining to a toilet of any kind. I'll not waste more forum time or my time on this topic.
  17. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    This toilet I am working on now never rocked. The other two in the house do, but that will be a different day because this is the worst one.

    It was always solid to the floor and didn't move. Also, I was very careful to push the wax down evenly. Some places say rock it back and forth till it hit the floor but I didn't do that I pushed it down even.


    The tank does not leak it is under the bowl. I stick a piece of paper under the bowl after a few flushes it is wet.

    If the toilet is el cheapo do you really think two of three would fail after 4 years?

    Like I said, it is just a local company. Not a nationwide toilet manufacturer.

    Any suggestions on a good toilet I can buy at Home Depot?
    Or just go with the toto?
  18. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Well, I think you have a couple of issues. First, these may not be great toilets, but unless it's defective or broken, I'm not sure that you need to replace it unless you want to. And we haven't figured out whether it's the toilet or something else that is the problem. Those ridges aren't the problem, because if you use enough wax, it's going to extrude into there, at least as I read your description. If this isn't rocking and is solid, you shouldn't be getting water in there with a couple of flushes.

    Where are you putting the paper again?

    Have you tried dye to see if there is a crack?

    You can have a Toto Drake (the regular Drake CST744E or CST744S) for what you would pay at a big box -- around $200, give or take -- just look at Terry's current price list for the regular Drake and you'll see he's in that range. Hondle with your local supplier and you should be able to get it for that range, regardless of what the list price is. But it would truly suck if you got your new Toto in and discovered that there's a crack in the pipe or a backup that's running out under the flange or something that I'm just guessing at because I can't look at your setup. You would love the Toto, but it wouldn't solve your problem.
  19. Tadst34

    Tadst34 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pa
    Putting the paper between the bowl and the floor in the front as far back as I can push it. That one gets wet. Then two other pieces by the flange bolts in the back on both side. They don't appear wet.

    I am going to try the dye test tonight or tomorrow.

    Thanks again.
  20. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Happy to help. Thanks for the explanation, because it's a little easier to visualize. Good luck, and keep us informed.
Similar Threads: Can't seal
Forum Title Date
Toilet Forum discussions Can't stop leaking around flange Aug 7, 2014
Toilet Forum discussions HELP!! I can't flush my Sloan Flushmate (Gerber) toilet!!! Jun 20, 2014
Toilet Forum discussions Bill Gates can't build a toilet Nov 19, 2013
Toilet Forum discussions Toto toilet dripping but can't find leak Sep 25, 2013
Toilet Forum discussions Leaky Toilet but I can't figure out where it's coming from. Help? Sep 23, 2013

Share This Page