View Full Version : Can't get a good seal on a Rivers Edge Whitehall Lane toilet bowl

09-30-2012, 02:14 PM
Hello all. I'm a DYI'er and new here.

I am having a heck of time trying to get my toilet to seal at the flange.

First issue, the closet flange sits about 1/2" below the finished floor.
Second, the collar on the toilet has two grooves where the "p trap" is, recessing upward toward the tank.
In other words, it is not completely flat where the wax ring sits.

Has anyone else had this problem with a toilet?

The original problem was that there was a small amount of water leaking from underneath the base. The baseboard(mdf) was swollen from water damage. It has been replaced.

I tried the following;
1. Two wax rings. Still leaked
2. Flowmaster wax free. Still leaked
3. Two 1/4" spacers with wax free. Still leaked
4. Two spacers and xl wax ring. Still leaked.

My next try is to fill the two grooves in the bottom of the toilet with some left over wax then use two wax rings along with the two spacers. What to you all think? I have examined the heck out of the toilet for cracks and cannot find one.

Maybe thinking for trying the fernco wax free, but don't think it will work because if the two grooves.

If none of this works I may just buy a new toilet and try that. I don't really want to since the toilet is only 4 years old. Plus I have three more of these toilets in the house. The other two rock and move. So I will be replacing those rings too. The toilet is called "rivers edge".

Any help would be great.



09-30-2012, 02:50 PM
The pros will doubtless have a better insight than I, but my first reaction is that if your drainage pipe is clear and functioning properly, you shouldn't get enough water "leakage" from flushing into it to damage the baseboard over the relatively-short time period that you are talking about. Also, if you are using enough wax, if I understand your description correctly, I don't see why the wax wouldn't just compress into the ridges that you are talking about and provide a sufficient seal. Do you have any specific reason to believe that the leakage is coming through the seal between the toilet and the flange? Could it be coming out from somewhere under the flange (i.e. cracked drain pipe) or above (cracked toilet, as you mention)? Have you tried putting some dye in the bowl and seeing whether it propagates through a bowl crack anywhere?

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

PS Which rivers edge model do you have? There are photos at the manufacturer's web site which you can find with a search engine.

09-30-2012, 03:12 PM
It is a Whitehall lane elongated toilet. I will try to take a pic of it later.

After each of my four attempts, I slide a piece of paper under the toilet flushed a few times and pulled it back out. It is all wet. I made sure the area was dry before set the toilet.
There is no damage to the cealing below the toilet so I think the drain pipe is ok.
I'm sure there is some small amount of damage to the subfloor, as well as the cement board. But I don't think it warrants me to rip the floor up.

I was cretain the two wax rings would have worked because I compressed about 1 1/2" of wax but it didn't.

I didn't try the dye. I will on my next attempt.

I put paper on both sides and in the front. The piece seems to get wet but not the sides. Maybe there is a hairline crack.

If I do get a new toilet I'm thinking the Toto Drake.

Really hope I don't need to shell out another $200 for a new toilet.

Thank you.

09-30-2012, 03:15 PM
Is it okay to use food coloring as a dye test?

Gary Swart
09-30-2012, 05:06 PM
Let state right up front, I'm not a plumber, so there are many things I am not familiar with. That said, I have never heard of a Whitehall Lane toilet and I have been on this forum for years. I suspect that may be part of your problem. Second thing, a half inch recess is a lot to compensate for. Not saying it can't be done, just a lot. If it was mine, I redo the flange and get it on top of the finished floor. Third. If your other toilets rock and roll, their seals are also broken, just not showing a leak. Any Toto would be a wise choice. The Drake is a favorite because it is less expensive than many of the other models and it work extremely well, but at least examine the other choices for their appearance and consider redoing the flange.

09-30-2012, 05:19 PM
Yep. Food coloring is what a lot of the manufacturer's web sites recommend, in fact.

I see that you actually did try raising the flange with spacers and then an extra-large wax ring on top of that. I don't see how that could fail to compress the wax. But we'll see, I guess.

09-30-2012, 05:33 PM
Yeah, I don't know what the heck is going on. I looked closer at my other rivers edge toilets and they rock, and one sits off of the floor in the back. It also shows sings of slight water damage on the baseboard. Seems the plumber may not have been consistent with setting the closet flanges.

I highly frustrated. This shouldn't be this hard.

09-30-2012, 05:37 PM
Yeah, I think it is a local company. A family friend sold them to me from his plumbing supply company.

It seems that the distance from the flange to the elbow is very short.
Is there a way to redo the flange without ripping up the floor?

Gary Swart
09-30-2012, 10:08 PM
A plumber could likely do it without damaging the floor. I doubt if you could DIY and if you did work on it and damage the floor, the floor repair would cost more than you "saved" by not hiring a plumber.

Gary Swart
09-30-2012, 10:16 PM
I just did a Google search for Whitehall lane toilets and came up with zero. There are Whitehall lane vanities, but nothing for toilets. Maybe you should check the tank lids for brand and model #, but I suspect you have cheapo builder grade toilets.

09-30-2012, 11:30 PM
Gary, The brand is river's edge. They have a web site with 3 different models, one of which is the whitehall. Our site won't let you post the link. The part that goes between www and com is riversedge p l b g. It goes all together, but our site won't even let you put those 4 letters together with the name, or even separate from the name, hence the spaces between the letters in this post. There are spec sheets there with photos. Trapway looks primitive. Toilets are priced high for what they appear to be.

Tad: I'm not sure how the distance you are referencing is important; it doesn't seem uncommon for the closet bend to be right there. (There's a minimum and maximum distance from the center of the flange to the inner edge of the vent -- the water closet trap arm length -- but the bend doesn't need to be far down from the flange.)

10-01-2012, 06:50 AM
I was thinking if the distance is to small it would be hard to use an inside pipe cutter to attach a new closet flange.

What would be a non-primitive trapway?

It sucks because I have three of these toilets and don't want to spend $600-$700 for three new toilets.

10-01-2012, 08:51 AM
First, as was mentioned, but you may have missed it, if a toilet rocks, the seal will break. Wax isn't resilient...once compressed, it doesn't spring back, so, you must ensure that the toilet is shimmed, if necessary, so that it is rock solid once smushed onto the floor. And, when you set it and compress the wax, try to do it fairly evenly IOW, don't push it down all the way on one side, then the other, either both at the same time, or a little back and forth. The wax shouldn't care if there are small ridges on the horn of the toilet - it should mold itself to that and seal, but if it rocks, all bets are off. The waxless seal may have had problems with those, but wax won't.

So, the best procedure is to set the toilet down without wax. Figure out where you need shims to keep is rock solid, then lift up again, set the wax, then set the toilet back down onto the shims so that when it is fully down, it won't move. If that fails, the toilet may be defective with a leak, or if it is a two-piece, you may have a leak between the tank and the bowl, or the fill valve seal may be leaking.

If you shut the water off, does the tank empty after sitting for awhile, or does it stay full? If it stays full, it's not leaking (obviously!). But could when you flush if the seal between the tank and the bowl is either not tight enough, or defective.

10-01-2012, 08:57 AM
Any bowl will leak it it rocks.

Pick up some shims at the hardware store.
Check to see how the bowl fits without wax; does it rock?
Next install with two wax rings set on the floor. Shim the back to keep the front of the bowl tight to the floor. When the bowl is stable, then you can snug the nuts down.
Finish by caulking almost all the way around the bowl.
A bowl that moves will always leak.

Gary Swart
10-01-2012, 11:37 AM
WJ: Thanks for clearing up the brand name. Of course, I still haven't heard of it so my remark about "El Cheapo" still applies.

Gary Swart
10-01-2012, 11:41 AM
Yet another Google using the River's edge name, and still nothing pertaining to a toilet of any kind. I'll not waste more forum time or my time on this topic.

10-01-2012, 12:08 PM
This toilet I am working on now never rocked. The other two in the house do, but that will be a different day because this is the worst one.

It was always solid to the floor and didn't move. Also, I was very careful to push the wax down evenly. Some places say rock it back and forth till it hit the floor but I didn't do that I pushed it down even.

The tank does not leak it is under the bowl. I stick a piece of paper under the bowl after a few flushes it is wet.

If the toilet is el cheapo do you really think two of three would fail after 4 years?

Like I said, it is just a local company. Not a nationwide toilet manufacturer.

Any suggestions on a good toilet I can buy at Home Depot?
Or just go with the toto?

10-01-2012, 12:24 PM
Well, I think you have a couple of issues. First, these may not be great toilets, but unless it's defective or broken, I'm not sure that you need to replace it unless you want to. And we haven't figured out whether it's the toilet or something else that is the problem. Those ridges aren't the problem, because if you use enough wax, it's going to extrude into there, at least as I read your description. If this isn't rocking and is solid, you shouldn't be getting water in there with a couple of flushes.

Where are you putting the paper again?

Have you tried dye to see if there is a crack?

You can have a Toto Drake (the regular Drake CST744E or CST744S) for what you would pay at a big box -- around $200, give or take -- just look at Terry's current price list for the regular Drake and you'll see he's in that range. Hondle with your local supplier and you should be able to get it for that range, regardless of what the list price is. But it would truly suck if you got your new Toto in and discovered that there's a crack in the pipe or a backup that's running out under the flange or something that I'm just guessing at because I can't look at your setup. You would love the Toto, but it wouldn't solve your problem.

10-01-2012, 03:43 PM
Putting the paper between the bowl and the floor in the front as far back as I can push it. That one gets wet. Then two other pieces by the flange bolts in the back on both side. They don't appear wet.

I am going to try the dye test tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks again.

10-01-2012, 05:24 PM
Happy to help. Thanks for the explanation, because it's a little easier to visualize. Good luck, and keep us informed.

10-01-2012, 07:15 PM
Clean the flange off well, and then check to make sure that it isn't cracked. While a pain, have you flipped the toilet on its side to check and see anything? Some people have reported casting defects that were filled (poorly), and they either fell out or never were made properly in the first place.

10-01-2012, 08:03 PM
Yes, I looked at the bottom of the toilet thoroughly. I have not seen any moisture on the underside of the bowl part.

The flange is not cracked. There are however burs on the flange, but they are below where the wax would sit.

10-03-2012, 10:51 AM


So I found the problem. El cheapo is correct.

There is a hole I am pointing to with my screwdriver.

I contacted the company and the toilet is out of warranty.

What do you all think if I plug that hole up with a big wad of wax? I am sure that will stop the leak for a while, but definitely is not the correct way to do it.


Gary Swart
10-03-2012, 11:53 AM
I'm going back on my vow to leave this thread alone, but the best solution to this problem is an 8 lb sledge hammer. Then get a Toto Drake and live happily ever after. Wax plug? Maybe as a very temporary stop gap measure.

10-03-2012, 12:23 PM
You might try some Silicone on that. It seems a little odd that water is leaking there, but then I've seen water leaking out of the front of a bowl on the outside, kinda near that location. That was on a brand new bowl installation. Your leak, being on the inside was harder to find.

10-03-2012, 02:35 PM
Thanks Terry for posting the picture and the reply. Do you think silicone will hold up better than wax?

I hate to have three different types of toilets in the house. My other toilet is a Mansfield Barrett, which I like a lot but hard to find locally.

10-03-2012, 03:23 PM
Frankly, I've never tried to seal a hole like that. Thinking about it, maybe epoxy would be better.

10-04-2012, 10:29 AM
Ok, I'm gonna try JB weld - Waterweld. Heard good things. It's worth a try, although it isn't very professional!

10-04-2012, 05:19 PM
If it works, you have saved yourself $200. If not, Gary's sledgehammer idea would probably at least be kind of fun given how much work you put into finding that hole. I take it that the orange-ish moisture near the hole is food coloring. It's amazing how much the dye test helps because if I saw that hole without the dye near it I would probably just assume that it was part of the casting and in a location that it wasn't likely to be the problem.

If you do need a new toilet, the original Drake is now a very good buy in that price range, given the quality of the build and the effectiveness of the flush.