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Thread: Wax Free Toilet Seals - will they work with tapered lead soil pipe?

  1. #1

    Default Wax Free Toilet Seals - will they work with tapered lead soil pipe?

    Would ideally like to use wax-free toilet seals (from Fluidmaster, Fernco, etc).

    Fluidmaster seal, ready to drop the toilet into the flange.

    However, have a lead (Pb) soil pipe/riser (approx 7"L, with cast iron flange, it connects to copper 90 deg. elbow). Has a 4" diam. opening at the top and looks like it starts to taper about 1/2 way down the length where it eventually necks to 3" diam at the elbow. Walls of lead pipe seem substantially thick, so assume they would not expand over time???

    Some of the mfg's warn against using these wax-free seals with lead pipe. However, the pipe walls are substantial. Can't imagine them expanding/leaking. Has anyone had any experience using the wax-free inserts with this type of soil downpipe? Will the taper in the pipe internals prevent o-rings from sealing properly? Have attached 2 photos (closet flange, looking down into pipe; and picture of lead downpipe from below in basement). Assume this is typical closet plumbing from the late '60's?
    Comments/Experience? Thank you.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by Terry; 08-11-2005 at 09:21 PM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    The seal is between the toilet and the flange. The pipe below the flange is not involved. I see no reason to make any changes in you flange or soil pipe. They look sound and are functioning well. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

  3. #3

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    Thanks Gary -

    However, it appears from looking at these wax-free inserts that there is indeed a thick o-ring that makes a seal between the OD of the insert and the ID of the downpipe. There is also a thin membrane seal that makes a seal between the horn on the bottom of the toilet and the top of the insert.
    It is the heavy o-ring I am worried about. Since the ID of the pipe is tapered toward the bottom, as it necks to 3", I am worried the seal will not make proper contact (3" is too small, 4" may(?) get squeezed too much)? Unfortunately, I don't have a 4" unit on hand (only a 3" which is too small). Hoped that someone would have already tried to fit one of these to this type of pipe and knew how they performed long-term.

    Toilet was leaking and now putting in a new floor. Perfect opportunity to seat/seal flange properly. Obviously don't want to replace flange/pipe if I don't have to. But, would like to get away from using messy wax rings. I will probably replace the toilet in next year or so also, so like the re-usability of the wax-free inserts (and I don't have to deal with cleaning/resetting a wax ring again)!

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking use the wax

    maybe the new one works and maybe it wont.....


    why not get what you KNOW will do the job
    for probably less that a dollar and not risk all the trouble....


    That looks to be a 4 inch flange , so just buy 2 seals
    and mold fit them down into the form you want....

    you cant go wrong with what you know will and always has
    worked

  5. #5

    Smile

    Would ideally like to use wax-free toilet seals (from Fluidmaster, Fernco, etc).
    Quick question. I'd like to know just why you do not want to use the wax seal??? Thanks, Tom

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Am planning on replacing this toilet in the next year or so, so will need to lift off/reset in the near future. Which means cleaning off messy wax rings, replacing them with new ones, etc, etc. (you know the drill)! Like the re-useabiliy of the wax-free inserts (and I don't have to deal with cleaning/resetting a wax ring again).

    My personal opinion, is that the wax ring is a pretty archaic solution that works most of the time. However, they can be tempermental and are a mess to replace when needed. Sometimes leak (obviously, not if everything is done perfectly). However, if you need to install/reset a 2nd time, it eliminates a time consuming job of cleanup and resetting of the rings.
    ** Would have thought in the last 100 years someone would have come up with a better solution than the wax ring (and it appears the current wax-free inserts are at least an attempt at this). Just because "everyone" does it this way and has always done it that way, does not make it the "best" solution. I think the construction industry needs to be open to more innovation, esp. when it makes installations easier, or provides better service life, etc. I know wax rings are only $1, but think don't think it's outrageous to pay $4-6 for something that saves me some grief down the road.
    . . .Only my opinion, for what it's worth.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    A $3 or $4 dollar savings doesn't sound like much, but if you're installing ten toilets that day, that would buy dinner out.

    The Fluidmaster does work well on most toilets and with plastic plumbing.
    I haven't used them on lead bends.

    Since I replace toilets every few weeks, it's what I've been using at home.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default bend

    The problem with a lead bend is that there is no way to ensure that it is perfectly round so that the seal makes complete contact. The waxless seal is not "strong" enought to force a lead bend into a perfect circle.

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    DIY Senior Member MG's Avatar
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    I used one of those waxless seals awhile back. It worked, but it was a real pain to get the toilet to set evenly with the floor. Wax is easier.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry


    A $3 or $4 dollar savings doesn't sound like much, but if you're installing ten toilets that day, that would buy dinner out.

    The Fluidmaster does work well on most toilets and with plastic plumbing.
    I haven't used them on lead bends.

    Since I replace toilets every few weeks, it's what I've been using at home.
    Another question: does the RED rubber seal at the top of the Fluidmaster grip the "horn" that extends from the bottom of the toilet?? Is that it??

  11. #11
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Yes,

    Just push the fluidmaster on the horn of the toilet and it sticks right there.

    Whether you use wax, or a waxless seal, you will still need to shim the toilet if the floor is not level.

    If you're not installing a Toto toilet, you may need to shim even on a level floor.

    Wax does not shim a toilet. Shims do that.
    Wax is that stuff that will squish and move and wiggle around.
    It does not provide firm support for toilets.
    If it was firm, you wouldn't use it to seal a toilet.
    Seals need to conform, not resist.

    Wax works
    Waxless works

    Hmmmmm......................I guess that means it's whatever you decide to do with it.
    They're both right.
    Last edited by Terry; 08-14-2005 at 01:14 AM.

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    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default set the toilet

    I guess i'm too old and or set in my ways, but wax works well if the floor is flat and in good condition. A lot of todays toilets come with a warped base so you need to shim and grout to keep the wobble out. I've seen a lot of gadgets before and this looks like one. You have a good brass flange and a good floor so just screw the flange to the floor and affix your wax ring.
    How messy can it be to scrape a little wax and use another seal?

  13. #13
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member MG's Avatar
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    I recently installed a Toto Drake and there was no warping that I could tell. It was a really easy install.

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