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Thread: Toilet leaking under vinyl floor

  1. #1

    Default Toilet leaking under vinyl floor

    This question isn't about toilets, but I'm hoping that someone will be able to answer my question.

    This morning I discovered that a toilet on the 2nd floor of my home has been leaking (bad wax ring) and seeping under the vinyl floor. My question is will the subfloor need to be ripped out and replaced now?

    The house is just over 2 years old and we had the same problem in another bathroom this summer (which the builder repaired under warranty). The builder only replaced the wax ring in the first situation because they said that there was no damage to the floor in the bath, or the ceiling in the room below. But the floor in the master bath now has raised areas around the toilet, which is how I figured out that there was a problem.

    Any info that you could give would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    DIY Member RRW's Avatar
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    Not a plumber here - but I would think the vinyl is going to have to come up at least so things can dry out. If it was me I would strongly consider one of the rubber coupleings that replace the wax ring. They will not leak and will allow some movement. Good Luck, RW

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have either partical board or luan plywood under that vinal that has either swollen up or delaminated because of the extended moisture it sustained from the leaking seal. You will never get the floor flat again unless you tear that out and replace it. My unprofessional opinion.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4

    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by RRW
    .......I would strongly consider one of the rubber coupleings that replace the wax ring. They will not leak and will allow some movement. Good Luck, RW
    Just a quick question..... (I'm learning here) Does this mean that a regular wax ring will be more apt to leak than the rubber boot??

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Wax rings have been around for a very loooong time and are very reliable if installed correctly. Any situation which causes a ring to leak should probably be fixed.

    If water has gotten under the vinyl, you must remove the whole floor. In my experience, you could never know how far the water got, and it is almost impossible to reglue the stuff because the backing is gone. Also, as mentioned it is imperative to dry out the floor, and if the subfloor is particle board, it may have swelled up and need to be repaired.

    While the toilet is off, ensure that the flange is at the proper height and not damaged.

  6. #6
    DIY Member RRW's Avatar
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    The rubber boots are much more tolerant of suboptimal and problematic installations than the wax rings. Look back for Terry's comments on his use of the rubber for toilets which he changes often. I do figure that in a hundred years the wax would still be going if installed perfectly but the rubber may have cracked and deteriorated.

  7. #7
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default toilets

    Too bad that they don't make toilets with a horn that when the toilet was set it extended into the flange and was below floor level. Manufacturers all used to make toilets that way. I think they said that it was too costly. It was almost unheard of to have to reset toilets. It's been a boon for wax rings. That's why the try to sell you a seal with a horn or plastic extension. Only problem is that the wax seal with a horn leaks on the top side and the plastic just sits there......

  8. #8
    DIY Member RRW's Avatar
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    Wise words Plumber1, in fact it seems to me that the horn may be pinch point for a stoppage and the ring is where the water finds its way out. I have at least learned to never use a horn type ring again.

  9. #9

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    Just an update:

    We ripped up the vinyl and discovered that the seepage extended about 2-3 feet around the toilet. We have had fans running 24 hours in there to dry everything out, but the plywood is still warped in several areas and reeks something awful. Although the wood doesn't have any rot, it looks as if we need to rip it out and replace it just because of the horrible smell.

    Since the builder will not even come out to look at the damage (this was covered under the 2-year workmanship part of our warranty, which expired 2 weeks ago) we will have to do the repairs ourselves.

    Many thanks to all that responded with advice.

  10. #10
    DIY Member RRW's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear it went out that far. FYI, you can usually kill smell by painting on bleach after it dries some, then put some flood lamps on it (at a safe distance, please) and continue with the fans. If it is swelled up it will never be completely flat again. Good Luck, RW

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