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Thread: Flange diameter too wide / Wax ring problem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    Default Flange diameter too wide / Wax ring problem

    I have tried to replace the wax ring probably three times in the basement bathroom (concrete floor), but have found that it is leaking. I just assumed that I was installing the wax ring wrong, so I bought more wax rings (wax ring with rubber flange w/ 40% more wax).

    While I was about to install another wax ring I noticed after I removed the toilet this time, that the wax ring/rubber was actually nestled into the flange, and so it wasn't really sealing the the toilet because it was never quite "mushing" against the toilet and flange. (see picture below). I am guessing this is what my problem has been and why the toilet has had water coming out the front of the toilet (but I could be wrong).

    Any advice on what to do if the wax ring actually fits into the inner lip of flange? Should I do two wax rings? Is there a better option/alternative?

    Thank you for the help. Much appreciated.
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What is the relative height of the flange verses the finished floor? Flanges are designed to fit on top of the finished floor. If it is too low, then you need to accommodate that fact. Get two wax rings: one with a funnel, one without. Stack them together with the one with the funnel on top. That will help to keep the wax from the lower one from squishing into the throat of the drain. But, first, set the toilet down without the wax, check that it sets flat without rocking. If it rocks, it will open up the seal...it would need shims to keep it from rocking. Locate where those need to be, then set the wax and put the toilet on it. You should feel the wax squish as you push it down and it must be stable once it is all the way down.
    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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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    Jadnashua: The flange is on top of the finished floor, which is good (tough to see that in the picture). With the wax rings, would you have the one with the funnel be the first one inside the flange, and the second to just sit on top of that? Also, would you put it on the toilet before installing, or would you put it on the flange, and then carefully put the toilet on top? I will check again to make sure toilet is flush with the floor, but think it is.

    Is there anything else besides wax rings that might be an option? I've seen the "Fernco wax-free toilet seal" but not sure if that would do the trick or not. I would be placing it on an older toilet if I did, so not sure if that effects the adhesive... Have you ever used this? Also saw something that Fluidmaster had out there with an adjustable height, but wasn't sure if it would work.


    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    What is the relative height of the flange verses the finished floor? Flanges are designed to fit on top of the finished floor. If it is too low, then you need to accommodate that fact. Get two wax rings: one with a funnel, one without. Stack them together with the one with the funnel on top. That will help to keep the wax from the lower one from squishing into the throat of the drain. But, first, set the toilet down without the wax, check that it sets flat without rocking. If it rocks, it will open up the seal...it would need shims to keep it from rocking. Locate where those need to be, then set the wax and put the toilet on it. You should feel the wax squish as you push it down and it must be stable once it is all the way down.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I think I answered your question...the one with the funnel goes on top, should you use two rings. But, you shouldn't need two if the flange is above the tile (it should be resting ON the tile, but with CI, it's normally strong enough regardless). While the instructions may say to put them on the toilet, most plumbers place them on the flange, then set the toilet on it(them). If you don't feel resistance of the wax getting compressed to make the seal, it's not working!

    I've not used the Fernco waxless, but have used the Fluidmaster one. They both should work IF you can get the inside of the pipe clean and smooth since they use a rubber gasket pushed against the sides to seal things. The Fluidmaster one comes with two different gaskets to work on a 3" or a 4" pipe...I think the Fluidmaster one must be bought for the size pipe you have. Wax is much cheaper, and should work.
    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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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    I see. I will have to use two, because when I tried to use one, it would just get pushed down into that "lip (picture 1)" of the flange as shown in the second picture. It's almost as if the wax ring/rubber is not big enough so it just gets pushed down in there.

    The pipe looks pretty rusty and nasty, so not sure if the waxless would be the way to go.

    Thank you for the help and suggestions. I think I will try the two wax rings.

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Wow! Obviously not all wax rings are created equal. Toilet flange mounting bolts are a standard spacing so one can establish a scale reference with them. I have never seen such a small wax ring before. That must be an economy version. Get one that has more wax.


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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Your problem is that the pipe is not extended to the floor level so the wax seals "fall into" the opening. You need to insert a short section of 4" pipe so it is flush with the flange top, then seal around the pipe. A plumber would use a cast iron pipe and lead it in place, but you can use ABS or PVC and a "lead joint" substitute to hole it in place and seal around it. Once that is done, a conventional wax ring will be all you need. WIthout doing it, NOTHING will seal the toilet.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    HJ: Thank you for your reply.

    What would you use to "seal" around it? Also, could you link to a picture of the "lead joint" substitute?

    Thank you again for taking time.

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Your problem is that the pipe is not extended to the floor level so the wax seals "fall into" the opening. You need to insert a short section of 4" pipe so it is flush with the flange top, then seal around the pipe. A plumber would use a cast iron pipe and lead it in place, but you can use ABS or PVC and a "lead joint" substitute to hole it in place and seal around it. Once that is done, a conventional wax ring will be all you need. WIthout doing it, NOTHING will seal the toilet.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There are "plastic/epoxy" pastes that are advertised as "lead joint" replacements, but since the entire joint you are making is inside the system, almost anything, even silicone caulking would seal it and keep it centered under the toilet and inside the wax seal.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    HJ: So you would use the "plastic/epoxy" paste to join the lead pipe/pvc and ALSO to seal around the pipe? Sorry, I am a DIYer and nervous about this stuff. Just want to get it right

    Also, another plumber has suggested buying two #1 wax rings, cutting them, and combining them so they have a bigger diameter and would lay on the flange, and the bolts would just go through them (see picture below). Any thoughts on whether this would work?

    I promise, these are last questions.

    Thanks again

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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    Just wanted to update this post with my solution just in case someone has a similar problem.
    I ended up buying two #1 wax rings, cutting one, extending it around the flange as much as I could, then cutting a piece off the other ring and finishing the circle, placing the bolts through the wax. I then placed the toilet on top and it seemed to fix the problem for now (time will tell I suppose). I'm sure this is unorthodox and not the "proper" way to fix this, but it was a cheap diy solution.

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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    Just wanted to update this post with my solution just in case someone has a similar problem.
    I ended up buying two #1 wax rings, cutting one, extending it around the flange as much as I could, then cutting a piece off the other ring and finishing the circle, placing the bolts through the wax. I then placed the toilet on top and it seemed to fix the problem for now (time will tell I suppose). I'm sure this is unorthodox and not the "proper" way to fix this, but it was a cheap diy solution.
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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    A cheaper DIY solution would have just been to have followed HJ's solution, to put a piece of pipe in the gap and seal around it with anything, including caulk. Then you would have had a flat surface, as you should have had, on which to lay a normal ring or two. And you would have had a seal. I am concerned that when you mount the toilet, the interior surfaces of the toilet won't form a proper seal with what you have. But maybe it will work...

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    DIY Junior Member dtravis2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    A cheaper DIY solution would have just been to have followed HJ's solution, to put a piece of pipe in the gap and seal around it with anything, including caulk. Then you would have had a flat surface, as you should have had, on which to lay a normal ring or two. And you would have had a seal. I am concerned that when you mount the toilet, the interior surfaces of the toilet won't form a proper seal with what you have. But maybe it will work...
    Well, update on my update. I have had no leaking issues (but have yet to give it the "ultimate test"), but now it smells in the room, and I am guessing sewer gasses are leaking out somehow.. May have to try HJ's solution.
    I've done a search for

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    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    Take a look at a product called Sani Seal, as a wax substitute.

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