View Full Version : Is toilet/flange joint supposed to be watertight?
06-01-2005, 05:33 PM
Ok, I always thought the joint between a closet flange and a toilet is supposed to be watertight with the wax ring forming the seal.
But reading this forum, I see things like red rings and spacer rings with no mention as to how a seal is maintained.
I have a 4" closet flange that is flush with a tile floor and I don't think I did it right when I mounted the toilet. The sewer line backed up once and I had water leaking from under the toilet.
I have a new Toto that I will be installing and want to do it right. I figure I will have to use an extra wax ring or use some spacer rings. But if I use spacers, how is the seal maintained between the flange and the spacers? Caulk?
Also centering the wax ring on a 4" flange was tricky last time. There isn't much of a shoulder for the ring to sit on. Any tricks?
06-01-2005, 05:51 PM
The seal should be water tight and this is usually done by the application of a wax ring. However, when I demolished my 75 year old toilet prior to a remodeling job, I was surprised to discover that there was some kind of rubber seal on the closet flange and no wax anywhere. The toilet had not leaked in 75 years and there was no sewer smell in the bathroom or in the basement below.
If you have a flange which isn't quite right, I've heard that using a #10 wax ring (which is truly huge) can help you get that seal.
06-01-2005, 07:04 PM
Red Rings and spacers are not seals.
The red ring is a repair for broken flanges that no longer hold "closet bolts".
Spacers raise the height of the flange. These can be stacked tight and/or caulked.
Some sort of seal is always needed between the flange and the toilet.
If the flange is higher than the floor, a wax ring may do.
Many times two wax rings are needed.
There are also waxless seals, such as the ones made by Fluidmaster and Fernco.
When the wax ring has to seal to the flange only, because the pipe does not come up to the floor level, it can be a challenge to get the wax ring to seal because it is only slightly larger than the opening in the flange. The rubber seal was a sponge gasket that was, and still is, often used to give a better seal than a wax ring. They also come it "full size" versions that completely cover the flange with holes to fit over the closet bolts.
06-05-2005, 02:34 AM
Pulled my toilet Saturday to see what I was up against and took a stroll through the Home Depot plumbing department to get some answers to my questions.
On maintaining the seal with Super Rings and such, the instructions for the Super Ring say to use silicone RTV sealant between it and the broken flange. I imagine the same would work for spacers. So that is how the seal is maintained when stacking rings or spacers. I also found some spacers on the internet that have rubber gasketing to maintain a seal between themselves.
On the wax ring between the toilet and the floor, I could see where the old ring looked like it separated from the toilet. There was brown gunk on top of part of the ring while the rest of the ring was clean.
And I think I may be facing a special situation with my flange. I think it has a bigger hole than most flanges. It is an add on that fits around my 4" cast iron waste pipe (not inside like others I've seen). It has a neoprene collar that is comressed by tightening three screws. The flange flares out slightly from the pipe so the hole in the flange is about 5" in diameter. The closet bolts look like they are about 6" apart so that leaves a shoulder of about 1/2" all around for the wax ring to sit on.
It gets even thinner in a couple of spots. The slots for the closet bolts run perpendicular to the pipe instead of radially like other flanges. The slots come within 1/8" of the center hole. So in those spots, that 1/8" of iron is all the wax is sitting on.
I'm beginning to wonder if my problem is not the flange being too low and the wax ring too thin but the wax ring sagging into the middle and separating from the toilet. I looked at 4" PVC flanges at Home Depot and they all have nice broad shoulders for supporting the wax ring.
And on the flange height/ring thickness, I was wondering why no one mentions the distance from the bottom of the toilet to where the wax ring is supposed to make contact? On the Kohler Rialto that I pulled, the distance appears to vary from 3/4" to almost 7/8". On the Toto Drake that is going in, the distance is 1/2" and drops down to a little less in a patch to the rear of the horn. I was looking at that #10 ring (thanks Inspector) but I'm not sure that I need it now. I have to go looking for those sponge gaskets that hj mentioned. I didn't see anything like that at Home Depot. A plumbing supply maybe?
Thanks for all the help and suggestions.
master plumber mark
06-05-2005, 05:41 AM
soemtimes you can look high and low for
some special part that might work....might..
when things get ugly like this it sometimes is just a matter
of doubling up a couple of cheap wax rings together...
not the kind that come with a collar in them, just the cheapest ones you can find, wax only.
heat them up in a sink full of hot water for while then mold
them into what you need to work...
I have had to use upo to three of them before to hand make
a seal for trouble situations where you simply could not do anything
else that would be feasalbe ...
as long as you you got a 4 inch hole their is very little chance of plugging up
the opening with the wax as it tightens down.
I know it sounds kind of half-assed and many others
here will scoff at doing it this way,
....but it will work for a long , long time...
06-05-2005, 11:40 AM
You know, I was thinking of doing something like that. Thanks for letting me know I'm not crazy. I was considering splicing a piece of a second ring into one ring to get the diameter of the ring up. I could then get it to sit supported on the flange instead of hanging in space by the edges.
I didn't think about the hot water. That sounds like a good idea to make the wax more workable. But that wax is sticky!
Let's see if this works: