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Thread: Too much water damage?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Stomp949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Too much water damage?

    Hi all - first post. I was in my downstairs bathroom on Monday night when I heard a "drip....drip....drip..." but didn't see anything coming out of the faucet. Then the drip caught my eye - it was coming from the recessed light above the sink.

    Now a brief step back in time. Siitting directly above that recessed light is a toilet in the master bath that I had to reinstall about July 2008 when we put in new tile in the bathroom. What we replaced was a cheap (and thin) linoleum floor. Well by putting in the new tile and mortar the flange was nowhere near as tall as before (duh!), but as a new homeowner I just pressed forward with my new wax ring, bolts, etc.

    Getting back to the present - being the super sleuth that I am - I quickly determined there must be a leak. Is it the pipe? Is it the wax ring? I wasn't sure, but decided I'd take down the recessed light and see if I could get a look at how bad things were. Well a quick tug on the tabs of the recessed light and the drywall started to come down. It was wet - very wet. I think I've cut out most of the wet stuff - here is my hole:

    A quick test flush after opening up the ceiling revealed water is literally pouring out of the flange. I don't know how long my wax ring has been blown out and/or ineffective, but by the looks of the beam that the drywall was screwed on it has been quite some time....

    I've got a new Drake II on the way and it should arrive on Monday (I actually ordered that before I found the leak - I was planning to replace the toilet anyways). I'm hoping to install sometime after Wednesday, and my plan is to use either the Fernco or Fluidmaster Waxless seal to help with the sunken flange (wish I had found this website before I originally reinstalled my toilet).

    My question is whether it appears from the photos that my water damage is something I need to address. My gut tells me no since the tiles/grout upstairs haven't cracked, and the water had plenty of room to drop down (so it didn't necessarily pool on the wood under the toilet), but I figured I'd ask the pros. Any other opinions or thoughts? BTW, most of that grey residue you see is from decades of dryer vent overflow (I'm blaming that on the previous owner).

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    just let it dry out, maybe point a fan up into the flooring to increase air flow. Then when it has dryed out replace the ceiling.

  3. #3
    Plumber jay_wat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Skagit Valley


    id spray a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water on the area's that were wet before placing a fan up there,,let the solution have ample dwell time before you turn on the fan. before my plumbing career,,i did water/fire damage restoration work for many years.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    The question is whether you used the RIGHT wax ring the first time to compensate for the new tile, or if you just assumed ANY wax ring was good enough. I am not a fan of waxless rings, even though they have been improved from the original designs.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Take an ice pick and poke the wood to see if it has started to rot. If it is solid, then let it dry out; if you can easily go right through it, you need to tear things out and replace the rotten subflooring. Ideally, when you added the tile, you would have moved the flange to where it was supposed to be, on top of the finished floor. Often, you may need a jumbo or two wax rings if the flange isn't where it is supposed to be. It is quite possible there is NO blowout, the original wax ring may never have filled the gap in the first place.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014


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