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Thread: Toilet Repair - How to Proceed

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    DIY Junior Member edjerum's Avatar
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    Question Toilet Repair - How to Proceed

    Our guest bedroom toilet is leaking and I'm not sure how to proceed with a fix.

    As you can see from the photos water has seeped under the vinyl floor. I have examined the flooring from the crawl space and no water penetrated and the osb is solid. It looks like only the top layer of the the osb subfloor is damaged. I removed the screws holding the flange and they did not have a good hold in the subfloor so I know I have to do something to make this more secure before installing a new wax seal on the toilet.

    If I was ready to replace the vinyl I would tear it all out and do a good patch of the subfloor, if needed, reinstall the flange, and then install either tile or vinyl plank. But I've got other house remodel projects going on that I need to complete first, so I'm looking for a decent temporary fix. My idea is to lift up the vinyl and let the floor dry out for a few days and then get some long screws to hold the flange steady and then install a new wax ring and secure the toilet down.

    Is this a reasonable approach? I have zero experience repairing toilets though I've watched a number videos showing how it's done, so please feel free to offer up any advice. Thank you.

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    Last edited by Terry; 11-29-2013 at 05:19 PM. Reason: corrections

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Drying it out and resetting should get you by for a while.
    I would double wax it. The existing flange is lower than the finished flooring.
    The wax seals go down on the flange, and then the bowl is dropped onto them.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I don't see any screws in the flange, so that would be the first issue. Make sure to clean the old wax off the toilet and get the plastic funnel out of there, too. Sheet vinal is pretty thin, but the flange is designed to fit on top of the finished floor. If the new wax ring smushes when you set it, one, or maybe a jumbo should work. If it were sitting with tile built up around it, a normal wax ring probably wouldn't seal.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member edjerum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    I don't see any screws in the flange, so that would be the first issue. Make sure to clean the old wax off the toilet and get the plastic funnel out of there, too. Sheet vinal is pretty thin, but the flange is designed to fit on top of the finished floor. If the new wax ring smushes when you set it, one, or maybe a jumbo should work. If it were sitting with tile built up around it, a normal wax ring probably wouldn't seal.
    I've removed the screws and plan on replacing with longer screws once the floor is dried out.

    By "get the plastic funnel out of there" are you referring to the black plastic piece on the bottom of the toilet? Do I trash it or does it get reused? Thanks.

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    DIY Junior Member edjerum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Drying it out and resetting should get you by for a while.
    I would double wax it. The existing flange is lower than the finished flooring.
    The wax seals go down on the flange, and then the bowl is dropped onto them.
    Thanks. "Double wax" means use two wax seals?

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    That plastic funnel is part of some wax rings. In general, they tend to cause more trouble than they're worth. If you have a recessed flange, and need two wax rings, then it can help keep them aligned, but with some flanges, their diameter actually is too big, and they get squished closed, causing a blockage.

    A jumbo wax ring is about the thickness of two. If you need to stack two regular ones, it's better to make one with a funnel and the second without...put the one with the funnel on the top. If needed, that extra height is usually more than enough to get it from squishing into the flange, and it helps keep the second, lower one from extruding into the flange opening.

    FOr what you have, a single wax ring is probably enough...you should feel it squishing when you set the toilet..if you don't, you need more wax.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 11-29-2013 at 08:10 PM.
    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 Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    The black plastic thing isn't part of the toilet; as Jim says it's contained in some wax rings. Throw out the one that's there when you scrape off all the wax.

    I'm thinking that when you screw that flange down properly to the subfloor, it's going to be even lower than it is now, so I would go with a Jumbo #10 wax ring. Or you can stack two as Jim says, but never stack two with that plastic thing in them; either two no-plastic wax rings or one without and one with, the one with to go on top.

    As Terry explains, regardless of what the manufacturer says, you put the ring(s) on the flange first -- not on the toilet -- and then put the toilet straight down on the wax. It should float a bit above the floor, then you smush it slowly straight down onto the wax without rocking the toilet. If some extrudes through the bolt holes, no worries!

    Good luck!

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