Toilet completely flattens wax ring on flange

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by bpen, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. bpen

    bpen New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hello

    I have a quick question for the folks on this forum.

    A few months back I had a leaky toilet. I removed the toilet to find the underlayment & subfloor rotten and the toilet flange completely broken on a cast iron drain pipe. The previous owners had simply installed a toilet with a wax ring and funnel into the drain pipe without a flange.

    I rebuilt the floor, installed a pvc closet flange with a rubber seal into the cast iron pipe, and screwed to my new floor. The flange sits on top of my finished floor and rises 13mm above. My Kohler toilet has a toilet base height of about 14mm, leaving very little clearance when I compress my new wax ring.

    So I installed the wax ring and tightened the bolts. The toilet sits so close to the height of the flange that the wax essentially flattened and does not hold the water (see picture)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11605577@N02/1185476837/

    Any suggestions for how to improve this situation? Does my toilet sit too close to the flange and if so, would I need to get a new toilet that has a higher toilet base. My flange install appears to be pretty standard when comparing to plumbing do-it-yourself books.

    Many thanks

    Bpen
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    Did you use one with a plastic horn? Those are more problems than they're worth. All you need is a plain wax ring. As long as the toilet rests flat on the floor and your flange is intact, as long as there is a little wax, it should work. The plastic part of the horn is not allowing a wax seal...so you've got porcelain to plastic rather than wax.
  3. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Does your toilet rock when you sit on it? If so, you need to shim it, which will also raise it up a bit, which should give you a better seal. They also make a marble toilet platform that can raise the base up.

    Attached Files:

  4. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Your flange looks pretty normal, I don't know why you are having trouble. I have stayed away from kohler toilets so I don't know if the horn really is that low on their toilets or not...but by seeing your picture it could very well be.

    I dunno...maybe try using an extra thick oatey wax ring so that it has more to mush when it compresses down, or perhaps try one of the waxless seals and see if they do the trick.
  5. Old Dog

    Old Dog G.C. 22+ years(in 3 states)

    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    Hawaii
    toilet problem...

    I've set a few toilets in my life(only after alot of arm twisting,"WHERE THE HELL IS MY PLUMBER ANYWAY!!")
    Is it me but it looks like the round head of the screw is above the flange.If you don't have that much clearance(14mm-13mm)could the screw heads be getting in the way?
    Just wondering...
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    toilet

    That just one of the reasons I never use an all plastic flange. One with a metal ring would have been thinner and last longer. Using one with a "funnel" will also cause a problem, which seems to be part of your situation. All a thicker wax ring will do is squeeze more wax out from under the toilet.
  7. bpen

    bpen New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for all the replies.

    The screws are all the way down (i.e. not raised above the flange at all) and the flange is perfectly level on the floor. The toilet didn't rock at all, it is very solid in fact. I think that the suggestions about the wax ring are going to be my solution. I am going to try that today, if it doesn't work, then I am going to build up a base for the toilet to give it a little more room.

    bpen
  8. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    You generally need more wax if you have the opposite problem: When the wax ring doesn't squish down at all.

    Since your toilet is stable, I would try the waxless. In theory, the waxless should be able to squish down and still hold a seal. If that fails, then you'll need to raise the base 1/4"-1/2", and then you may need the thicker wax.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    As long as when you squish the toilet down, there is some wax between it and the flange, you should be okay. Make sure to center it well, since that extruded wax could narrow the opening if you aren't careful. The attachment of the waxless might give you the same problem as using one with a horn.
  10. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    With all due respect, JAD, even if the toilet is seated properly with a very small amount of wax, over time that tiny amount of wax could easily disappear and he'd be back in the same boat.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    And why would that be? If any wax got lost, it would happen regardless of the quantity, and eventually all seals would fail.
  12. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    It seems to me that if a little wax got squished away, and there was a lot more wax where that came from, then the other wax would replace it while maintaining the seal. But if there is no more wax, then "the floodgates are open."
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    As long as there is a continuous layer of wax, in the right place, regardless of the thickness, and the toilet does NOT rock, it should not leak, regardless of the thickness. Now, the thicker the wax seal, the more chance you have of blowing it out from overzealous plunging. Now, that wax goes somewhere, if it happens to go towards the inside of the toilet verses the outside, it could block part of the drain...careful placement is important.
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    wax

    Wax compresses, it does not expand. If it moves away from the toilet, the seal is lost and it makes no difference how much, or how little, wax is left in the area, it will not magically expand and fill the void.
  15. bpen

    bpen New Member

    Messages:
    4
    The normal wax ring appears to have solved the problem of the leaking wax ring. It would seem however that I have another leak in the toilet that I would attribute to a crack. Prior to installing the toilet, I noticed a stain running inside the toilet from the rim to the floor. Not convinced it meant anything, I have moved ahead with the installation. Now the leaks continue so I have tested the toilet rim by performing manual flushes (i.e. dumping water into the bowl to simulate a flush). When I do this, no leak after 10 + efforts. When I flush from the tank, after 3 flushes, water starts to leak out at the same point where there was a previous stain. It looks like I am going to need a new bowl.

    Thanks for all the help in solving the previous problem. There is certainly less water on the floor than before when the previous ring with the funnel was installed.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    It may be that with the horn, the toilet actually wasn't sitting flat on the floor, and when you tightened the bolts, you ended up cracking the bowel, or it could just have had a defect, and it would have happened anyways.

    When you get a new one, before you install it for real, set it over the flange and make sure it sits flat and doesn't rock. Shim if necessary, then install the wax ring and set it for the final time.
  17. bpen

    bpen New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks Jad. I did test the bowl over the flange prior to the first wax ring. I think I am the victim of home improvements that will never end. The stain that was present inside the toilet (running from the rim down) before I even began this project gave me reason to question the toilet. It appears that somebody had tried to fix it at one point (cold weld?), but it must not have took because the water appears on the floor right were the previous stain was.

    It is my guess that this crack is one of the things that started my whole floor replacement project and now that I have a sound floor without clear access to the underlayment/subfloor, it is leaking onto of the vinyl instead of getting underneath.
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