View Full Version : I need help

11-04-2004, 08:06 PM
I moved into a house a month and a half ago.

Symptom 1: I found water leaking through the ceiling of my daughter's bedroom under the upstairs bathroom, specifically right below the toilet. I removed the toilet and found that there was some surface water damage to the subfloor right around the flange. I figured it was the wax ring. I noticed the flange was a little high, so I installed 3/8" board over the entire floor and put down new linoleum. I even sealed the base of the flange to the linoleum as best as I could with tub and tile caulk. I installed a new wax ring with the gasket inside. Two weeks went by with no problems. Then we found the leak again. The flange sits pretty well on top of the new floor. The toilet barely, and I mean barely rocks. It sits on the floor to the extent that it has made a slight indentation in the linoleum. The rocking I speak of may just be me moving the thing. It is stable. I can slide it back and forth on the floor over top of the flange and I can feel when it hits the edge of the flange (this is, of course, without the wax ring).

Symptom 2: The toilet did not flush as well after the install as before.

Symptom 3: A very small crack inside the back of the lower portion of the toilet seat. It does not go through to the back, it is just internal. At first. I thought I had found the problem, but upon further inspection, any water that gets through that crack only has one way out ... through the normal drain hole.

So, here is what I have done so far.

I have turned off the water to the toilet and we have had no leaks for a week. We have continued to use the shower and sinks. Not a drop (I have buckets). As far as the slow flush, I thought it was surely clogged. I have poured gallons upon gallons down the pipe in succession and there is no blockage. I can see down into the pipe where the shower drain comes in and there is no blockage to that point. The shower drains great, so I can only conclude that there is no blockage (far more water than from the toilet, I would say.) I am considering going with a no wax seal as my next step. I would like to avoid tearing out the ceiling to observe the leak if at all possible. The damage is not such that it has to be repaired. The water came through a crack in the drywall.

I would welcome any help. Please.....


Oh yeah, I have pictures of both the wax ring when I pulled the toilet up and the crack in the seat, if someone experienced would be kind enough to accept 2 pics via email.

11-04-2004, 08:33 PM
toilet seats don't leak water. Have you checked your tank to bowl gasket? Did you screw your flange down to the floor? You should not have any rocking. What is your drain pipe made of? If it's before plastic you may have lead piping that needs replaced. You can pull up the toilet and pour water in the drain and see what happens. That will help separate the drain from toilet as the cause.
I don't like the no seep bowl waxes because I feel the insert allows paper to hang up on occasion causing the next use to be unsuccessful. Most plumbers are not agreeing with me and feel they use the inserts without problems. When I'm the third plumber on a job that hasn't been solved I feel I have solved it by replaced the wax with a regular one. However they may have just called the fourth plumber.

11-04-2004, 08:56 PM
I didn't check the seat to tank gasket, but I did check the toilet for wetness and the floor as well, when I saw the dripping. I believe the drain pipe is plastic. The flange is screwed to the floor. I've poored water in the drain without any ill effects. Here are some pics of my situation. Does the wax look wrong after I pulled up the toilet? Does the connection of the flange look right? I am concerned that it may be the seal between the flange and the pipe itself.

11-05-2004, 02:21 AM
We call the bottom of the toilet the bowl and the top the tank. Symptom 3. It's not clear to me that this hole opens into the trap way. It looks more like it's getting outside the interior drain passageway. Look up from the bottom and you may be able to gain more info. Your wax looks okay. You are certainly getting compression. I presume some is left on the bottom of the toilet. I can't tell what your drain pipe is with that wax on top of the flange and the insert inside the pipe. However the light in picture 4 makes it look like cast iron pipe with a leaded connection to the cast iron flange. Surly not. It would have to be a 50 year old house at least. Clear the wax and take another picture.
A leaking tank to bowl connection is common after someone has pulled and reset a toilet. You must pick the toilet up by the bowl, not the tank.

11-05-2004, 04:52 AM
From the appearance of the wax ring, your flange is either still too high or the bowl has a very shallow area under it, because the wax ring is being completely compressed and squeezed out of the gap between the two. If you were to use a wax ring with the "funnel" on it the problem would become worse. If the toilet can rock, without also moving the flange, then any wax seal will be broken, especially one as thin as yours is. A waxless seal might be better, but I would install it onto the toilet and then put it in place rather than try to instll it in the pipe and then place the toilet over it as the installation directions indicate.

11-05-2004, 08:02 AM
Pictures are a great help. Lonny and HJ have pretty well summarized the issues. On the wax, from the vertical view I couldn't decide if the wax had not been squeezed at all, or had been completely squeezed out. Either way is bad. I do also agree that if you had used a ring with the sleeve insert ( and I do use these also) in this cas, I would try plain wax of the proper thickness. When you set the toilet, you must definitely "feel" the toilet "land" on the wax and settle down to the floor as you put your weight on it. If not, your wax is too thin. Any movement of the toilet after settling into the wax is bad, and could break the seal.

re: crack. Putting a heavy dose of food coloring into the tank, then several flusshes, will help you see if water is getting through some crack in the porcelain. Also, ANY crack in a porcelain vessel is bad. If could last forever, or you could find youself sitting on the floor with prcelain slivers in your butt!

We admire your persistence, and this problem will be solved. It may require a new toilet due to the crack. But we do need to ultimately resolve whether the leak involves the flange.

11-05-2004, 03:03 PM
So, here's the deal now. I got a no-wax seal and installed it. That went very well. I used shims because there was a very little bit of movement of the bowl afterward. I had to replace the flush valve, so i replaced the gasket while I was at it. Now, I have the bathroom and room downstairs covered in toilet paper to watch for leaks. No leaks from the upstairs anymore, BUT... I have a leak from the gasket between the tank and bowl. I have used two different gaskets, one by the flush valve company and a generic one. One of them is real fat and tall and lasted longer before it leaked (30 minutes) and the other was shorter (about 30 sec to leak). I used the Fluidmaster valve. Any idea if there is a very specific gasket to use for this?

11-06-2004, 10:03 AM
You get better shim location and need identification by setting the bowl over the flange without the wax first. Tank to Bowl bolt tensions are one of the harder lessons to learn in plumbing. Many don't get them tight enough. You don't tighten down after the tank china meets the bowl china. While newer flush valves have a uniform gasket the older toilets do not. The same style as the one that was on your toilet is probably the correct one. When you get leaks, identify if it's all the time and coming from the bolt holes or only when you flush, meaning from the gasket.

11-06-2004, 12:03 PM
Are you sure the leak is from the gaskey? If so, are you sure you installed all the components properly? When you put the bolts through the tank did you put metal washers on top of the rubber gaskets or are the gaskets right under the bolt heads? Is the beveled gasket on the flush unit inside the tank with the flat edge under the flusher unit? It should not leak, so since it does leak the normal cause would be an improper installation, rather than bad parts.