(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22

Thread: Wax ring question

  1. #1
    DIY Member LBrandt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    46

    Default Wax ring question

    Hello,
    I’m new to this forum, so this is my first post. I’m trying to help a neighbor who has a leak at the base of his toilet. His American Standard toilet is about thirty years old, but there are no cracks, etc. Other than the slight leak at the base, everything in it works fine.
    Some time ago, I replaced the wax ring at the base of one of my toilets, and I was completely successful in stopping its leak. I also recently installed a new toilet in my other bathroom, and of course, I installed a new wax ring for that toilet at that time. For both of my own wax ring jobs, I used NO plumber’s putty, and NO caulk at the base of the bowl, and everything works perfectly.
    But, after I replaced the wax ring on my neighbor‘s toilet, the leak continued. I must add that my neighbor bought the wax ring almost two years ago, so it had been sitting unused for two years. I know that the leak is at the base of the bowl and nowhere else.

    So my questions are:
    Did I make a mistake in not using plumber’s putty and/or caulk around the base? Is this a recommended procedure that I failed to follow?
    Could the wax ring, being two years old, have lost its ability to function properly?

    I intend to try the repair again, but I first want to make sure that I have the advice of the members of this forum.
    Thanks,
    Louis

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Posts
    2,943

    Default

    Using a wax ring was perfectly fine. If you used a horned ring THAT might be the reason it is leaking.

    Also, the neighbor could of plunged the toilet and not make you aware of the situation. This can blow a wax ring out if the clog is beyond the trapway of the toilet.

    Post pictures when you pull the toilet; the condition of the wax ring tells the story; if you used a horned ring then it most likely will pull up with the toilet.

    Getting the visual on how far that ring compressed if it went too far will tell you what caused the leak.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  3. #3
    DIY Member LBrandt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Hello again,
    Thanks for the reply. First, the toilet isn't clogged. It flushes fine. Second, I don't know what a "horned" ring is. Can you explain? The wax ring that I used has a black plastic inner ring that sits inside the wax circle. Is there more than one type of wax ring?
    Louis

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Posts
    2,943

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LBrandt
    Hello again,
    Thanks for the reply. First, the toilet isn't clogged. It flushes fine. Second, I don't know what a "horned" ring is. Can you explain? The wax ring that I used has a black plastic inner ring that sits inside the wax circle. Is there more than one type of wax ring?
    Louis

    When I stated the clog issue, I'm talking "at one time" since the install but I reread your post so you stated it's been leaking from the go.....dictating improper install.


    You pretty much explained what a horned ring is; pull the toilet and use a regular wax ring, those horned assemblies are notorious for causing leaks if not properly installed because they divide the thickness of the wax to begin with.

    I use those mostly on "questionable" lead bends where the brass flange has visible deterioration between the lead and brass. I shim them up well if the flange is setting too high.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  5. #5
    DIY Member LBrandt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Hello again,
    So are you saying that if the wax ring has a black plastic tapered piece in the center of the ring, that it's a "horn" type? Every wax ring that I've ever used looks just like this one. I didn't realize that there was more than one type. And my other question concerned the use of plumber's putty or caulk. Should I consider using either of these around the base of the bowl when I install a new ring, or should this not be necessary?
    Louis

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Yakima WA
    Posts
    7,246

    Default

    That black plastic is the horn. What you want is just a donut of wax. Plumbers putty is used for setting sink drains, not toilets. Some codes require caulking around the front and sides of the toilet, leaving the back open so that if/when there is a leak it will not be trapped under the toilet unseen. Personally, if I have a good level floor so the toilet sets perfectly flat all the way around, I leave it alone.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Posts
    2,943

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LBrandt
    Hello again,
    So are you saying that if the wax ring has a black plastic tapered piece in the center of the ring, that it's a "horn" type? Every wax ring that I've ever used looks just like this one. I didn't realize that there was more than one type. And my other question concerned the use of plumber's putty or caulk. Should I consider using either of these around the base of the bowl when I install a new ring, or should this not be necessary?
    Louis

    Yes

    Nothing wrong with that if has been working for you

    There isn't

    Shouldn't be necessary, the wax ring is designed to do it all

    Caulk is for sanitary reasons for spillover and cleaning ease
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,399

    Default

    Check whether there is any movement of the toilet. If it rocks even a small amount, you will break the wax seal and it can leak.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Posts
    2,474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LBrandt
    I’m trying to help a neighbor who has a leak at the base of his toilet ... about thirty years old, but there are no cracks, etc. ... after I replaced the wax ring on my neighbor‘s toilet, the leak continued.
    Do you know how long it has been leaking? I would wonder whether there might be a hairline crack that has developed somewhere and is not easily visible. If you think that might be a possibility, set the toilet up on some blocks at each end (front and back) and fill the bowl until just a little water comes out at the bottom, then dry the bottom well and let it set for a few hours to see whether anything anywhere gets wet.

  10. #10
    DIY Member LBrandt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Hello again,
    According to my neighbor, it has been leaking for several weeks, and of course as I indicated, it still leaks after I replaced the wax ring. I'm going to replace it again, but this time I'll try to follow everyone's suggestions, and hopefully, it won't leak again. I did "rock" the bowl back and forth a bit as I was trying to seat it, so that may have caused the ring to break. I'll be more careful this time.
    Louis

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,399

    Default

    That isn't the best technique! My comment, though, was about the toilet being able to rock once PROPERLY installed. When setting the toilet, set it down as straight as you can, then push straight down. Use the bolts, turned a little bit on each side, keeping the toilet level to help get it down to the floor if you can't press it down easily yourself.

    If it does rock once down, you'll need to shim the toilet. Doing this after the fact doesn't help, you must do it so thatwhen you install it the first time, it sits stable on the floor.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12
    DIY Member LBrandt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Hello again,
    Thanks for the reply, but now I'm a little confused. What would I shim it with?
    Louis

  13. #13
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Posts
    2,474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LBrandt
    According to my neighbor, it has been leaking for several weeks, and of course as I indicated, it still leaks after I replaced the wax ring.
    That is why I would take the time to block it up and look for any kind of seepage. A 30-year-old toilet that had been fine for a long time had to have some reason or circumstance to begin leaking.

  14. #14

    Default

    If the toilet leaks all the time, then you have a different issue. If it only leaks when you flush it, it is probably the wax ring that is not sealed properly. Does the leak go away if no one flushes the toilet for a long time? This is very important in diagnosing the problem.

    Assuming it's the wax ring, your choice of a flanged (horned) ring is just fine. Did you feel the wax squishing down when you first seated the base of the toilet? If not, you may need to use a thicker wax ring or two wax rings. If the wax does squish down, but the toilet rocks, you will need to shim the base of the toilet. I prefer standard wood shims that you can break off once you've successfully shimmed it. Then use caulk around the base but only after you've determined it is no longer leaking or else you will not see the leak until you've ruined your floor or the ceiling underneath.
    Good luck!

  15. #15
    DIY Member LBrandt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Hello again,
    Since it's my neighbor's toilet, I can't be absolutely certain whether it leaks all of the time or only when it's flushed, but my guess is that it leaks only when it's flushed. I don't want to get into shimming it, since it's sitting on linoleum on top of concrete. I will try it again, this time with a thicker wax ring.
    Louis

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •