Toilet Wax Seal

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by NS4U, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. NS4U

    NS4U New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    boston
    So I come home yesterday to find a bead of water around at the base of about half of my second floor toilet. Immediately I think the wax seal failed.

    I go and pull off the toilet and come to find that under the toilet it is actually pretty dry and the wax seal is in good condition (not much indentations, looks solid, etc..). So now I'm thinking maybe one of my dogs was drinking out of the toilet, or maybe I just misfired earlier in the day or something (you know it happens!)

    This was about at 10 pm, so the last thing I wanted to do was go to the store and buy a new wax seal. The current wax seal is one of the reinforced ones with wax and a rubber "insert", it was firmly in the PVC pipe so I just went ahead and put the toilet back on tightened everything down, did the paper towel test and no leaks around the base of the toilet. Was this a big no-no, to reuse the wax seal??

    And now I'm paranoid that what if the toilet is leaking to the underside of the first floor ceiling? How would I know? Obviously the ceiling will stain eventually indicating there is a leak, but i'm more concrete about urine and feces being on the first floor ceiling and framing.

    Anything I can do to put my mind at ease? I have had terrible luck when replacing wax seals before, so I am of the motto if it's not broke don't fix it, hence why I chose to reuse the existing ring instead of trying to remove it and install a new ring.

    Thanks
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Pull the toilet and replace the wax seal. Never try to reuse the old wax seal. It could be leaking between the floors and as you say it will take some time to show up on the ceiling below. You know it's the right thing to do.

    John
  3. NS4U

    NS4U New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    boston
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Because of a $2.00 item you get to pull and reset the toilet again...
  5. NS4U

    NS4U New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    boston
    thanks, but pulling and resetting is a piece of cake... i'm not too worried about that

    I want to make sure I get the best possible seal...

    I'm thinking of getting a waxless seal, should I get the fluid master or fernco seal? Is one better than another?
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,334
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Never reuse a wax ring. It has been compressed and won't make a reliable seal the second time. Now, it's 10 pm and you want to reset the toilet for the night and next day, you will probably get away with it, just replace it immediately. It's your call on waxless or wax, but if you do use wax, do not use one with the plastic funnel. True, sometimes they work fine, but often they cause problems. Even when they do not cause a problem, they don't provide any better seal than plain wax.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,928
    Location:
    New England
    I've used the Fluidmaster seal...works fine IF the inside of the pipe is clean and smooth (it essentially uses a big, soft o-ring as the seal). The plumbing supply houses are generally not open when I need to buy something like this, so I get it where I can, at a big box store. Some seem to prefer the Fernco...can't say, I've not used it, and I've not seen these at my local big box stores.

    [​IMG]
    If you use the Fluidmaster waxless seal, push it onto the bottom of the bowl first.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2009
  8. NS4U

    NS4U New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    boston
    it seems like the pros like the wax.... from what i've read the best way to install the wax ring is to sit it on the flange, then set the toilet on top of it? any other tips for a newbie?

    The flange is set a little less than flush with the tile in bathroom, so I'm thinking I need to go with a thicker wax ring (maybe #10?) would you agree. is there any harm to have a wax ring that is a big to thick?

    Any input would be much appreciated.
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,334
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The larger wax ring will likely be just fine. Just be sure the toilet ends up with the entire base in contact with the floor. Use you body weight to press the toilet down, don't try to pull it down with the flange bolts. Put the nuts on the flange bolts when the toilet if fully down and just snug them up.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,928
    Location:
    New England
    Wax is cheap and fast. It takes more time with a waxless, and unless everything is in great shape, may leak. So, to save time and money, and be more reliable in all conditions, wax. If you are doing it yourself, the difference in money and not having a call back or fixing things not needing fixing, wax wins hands-down. Waxless has the advantage if you plan to move the toilet in and out (like in a remodel where you need it periodically), or repaint or paper frequently, you can lift it off, and replace quickly without having to go out and buy parts. Scraping off the old wax is messy...doesn't take all that long, but then you have to put it somewhere and clean off your putty knife, too.
  11. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Speaking as a homeowner, I personally like the Fernco waxless seal. Was very helpful in my house when setting toilets after a tiling job left the flanges a little below grade. Very easy to apply.
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