Advice needed for toilet leak

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by NYChome, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. NYChome

    NYChome New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2020
    Location:
    New York
    Hi,

    I have a Toto legato toilet (with a unifit adapter) installed 4 years ago; yesterday I started noticing water seeping out of the base, through a small break in the caulk.

    I researched this issue a bit, and looks like it’s most possibly a wax ring failure. The leak was only observable after flushing; there was enough water to soak through several pieces of toilet paper every flush.

    I am guessing there might have been a problem even before yesterday; a week ago or so, I started having a drain fly invasion (like a dozen of them every day), even after I sealed up the tub/sink drains and every imaginable crack on the walls. Guessing they could have been coming out of the break in the wax seal.

    Anyways, I am hoping to ask you all experts a few questions:
    1. Short of pulling the toilet and pouring water down the unifit, is there any other way to confirm it’s a wax ring/unifit problem? Really hoping to rule out issues with the toilet’s porcelain, which would have been a much more expensive replacement.

    2. Assuming a wax ring replacement is needed, what type of wax ring is best for the Toto unifit setup? Regular wax, regular wax with horn, double ring, extra thick, or waxless? Disappointing that the current wax only lasted 4 years; would like to replace it with the most durable setup possible. The attached pic is how my toilet flange looks like. Sorry for the low quality - it’s the only pic I have of the flange, taken during the original install.

    3. I’m leaning towards hiring a plumber for this (myself not a diy’er), but looking at YouTube videos, it doesn’t look like a terribly daunting task. My biggest concern is pulling the toilet (120 lbs). Do you guys have any advice on how to do this safely, without causing back injury?

    any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That would have to be a fairly big crack.
    Kinda depends. When I put my wax under my Unifit, I actually packed that space with wax, rather than just squishing a ring. A regular wax ring works best for that. Unifits are nice in that there should be no lifting off of the wax if/when shims are inserted. The Unifit stays put. Don't put so much wax that it extrudes into the path.

    I am wondering if you will find something broken when you lift the toilet, and not just cracked wax. Take pictures.

    I have not seen anybody post about a failed Unifit, but if yours is broken, there are a lot of 12 inchers sitting unused because people really wanted the more valuable 10- and 14-inch Unifits.

    Plumber sounds like a good idea. Do remove the water in the tank and bowl. If there is room, you could find a helper to lift one side. Mark where it goes down. before cleaning the old caulking.
     
    MASTERPLUMB777 and NYChome like this.
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
    MASTERPLUMB777 and NYChome like this.
  4. NYChome

    NYChome New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2020
    Location:
    New York
    Thank you. Yes, this is what I'm worried about, that the leak could be from cracked porcelain instead of just wax. That's why I was hoping to find out if there's a way to investigate the source of the leak without pulling the toilet; otherwise would be a waste of time/money if I call a plumber to redo the wax, only to find out the whole toilet needs to be replaced.

    Mine is a 10-inch unifit too.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Pulling a Unifit toilet is going to be easier IMO, than with a non-Unifit. You do have to pull straight up before pulling it away from the wall. If the problem is not the wax, no need to re-wax.

    If you put the toilet back temporarily, note that the caulk is structural (keeps the front of the toilet from sliding left and right) with a Unifit toilet. So if you don't re-caulk right away, be careful to avoid side forces.

    https://terrylove.com/forums/index....tool-for-moving-and-picking-up-toilets.66284/ might be interesting.
     
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you remove the Unifit, then also use new wax. It should compress when installed. If the flange is lower than the finished flooring, I use either a deep wax or two rings stacked.
     
    NYChome likes this.
  7. NYChome

    NYChome New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2020
    Location:
    New York
    Thank you Terry, looking at the pic I believe the flange is roughly flush with tiles. In that case, would you suggest regular wax, regular wax with horn, or waxless? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    As long as you get compression on it. If it's flush, an single may work. Single with horn perhaps.
     
    Reach4 and NYChome like this.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    You need the wax to compress to make a seal. If the flange is not level, you might feel it compressing, but still leaving a gap on the lower side if the wax is not thick enough to compensate. Ideally (the way the flange was designed), it would sit on top of the finished floor, and be anchored through it into the subflooring so there's no gap between its bottom and the finished floor. It's fairly common to install the flange and then put the finished flooring up to it, and sometimes, that finished floor is quite thick, meaning the flange is not where it was designed, and a 'regular' wax ring isn't thick enough to compensate.
     
    NYChome likes this.
  10. NYChome

    NYChome New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2020
    Location:
    New York

    Thank you for the response. You brought up a good point - judging by the fact that leaked water always comes through a crack in the caulk on the front side of the toilet, while the back side seemed relatively dry, I think my floor is indeed not level. The toilet never rocked though in 4 years of use, but I guess that's because it's a really heavy toilet.

    When I moved in 4 years ago, it was an old apartment and we remodelled it. The flange was already there, and we simply re-tiled the bathroom. I can't recall exactly, but judging by the pic I took 4 years ago (attached in the OP), the flange seems roughly level with the finished floor.

    Given a slightly sloped floor + flange that's flush with finished floor, should I replace with another wax? Or would waxless be advantageous here? I have a feeling that because wax is pliable, the uneven floor simply pulled apart the seal over several years time. But I'm just a novice on this - would love to know if you experts agree with this logic.
     
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    When you pull the toilet, look carefully to see if there's wax all around the flange. If the toilet doesn't rock, if the seal is made initially, it should stay intact. Normally, if the flange is on top of the finished floor, a standard wax ring is all you need. If it's a bit low, a jumbo wax ring should work. If it's even lower, a standard wax ring and one with a horn to help keep things centered usually works. But, if the toilet rocks, you must fix that and reset with new wax, as the wax doesn't rebound once it's compressed.
     
Similar Threads: Advice needed
Forum Title Date
Toilet Forum discussions Toilet advice needed May 8, 2020
Toilet Forum discussions Bathroom remodel toilet advice and help needed!! Mar 29, 2019
Toilet Forum discussions Toto Drake Advice Needed Nov 24, 2018
Toilet Forum discussions Issue with installing a new flange for the toilet. Advice needed on moving forward... Apr 8, 2018
Toilet Forum discussions Need advice for new toilet, reviews are inconsistent with needed info Feb 11, 2013

Share This Page