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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I have been trying to find the source of a second floor leak that has ruined the ceiling in my dining room. I figured it had something to do with the toilet but could not figure out why it was leaking all time unless I had a supply line leak.

Well I finally cut a hole in the wet sheet rock and pulled the toilet off the flange and find out that the wax seal was leaking. The way the flange was placed was the problem. It was sitting on top of the sub floor and flush with the top sheathing. So any leaks you funnel water between the sheathing and the sub floor. The wax seal did not extrude into the funnel of the flange face so as soon as something shifted and it will shift you have a leak. The flange is only being held in by nails (stupid) and there was no sealant between it and the sub floor. It would have been easier for them to mount the flange on top of the floor with screws and put RTV under it. This would keep leaks away from the ceiling and make it apparent I had a problem before $1000 worth of damage was done to my house.

So should I take the time to cut out the flange and replace the elbow and the flange and seal it properly so it is flush with the floor and not the sub floor. This will require me remove more sheet rock or should I just get a fatter wax gasket and call it good and hope I don't have any more leaks. I could also get one of the foam rubber gaskets and RTV it to the flange and the toilet. I know this is against convention but I don't think it would ever leak again.

The biggest issue is repairing my popcorn ceiling in the dining room and making it match with the rest of it. I have done this before and it is a royal pain. I used one of those spray cans. I was not aware at the time that the entire contents of the can come out in about 3 seconds.

I really don’t want this to happen again because of the time involved to repair the ceiling not to mention the mess of sheet rock dust throughout the entire house.

Any Suggestions

Perry
 

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Sealing the floor---making it completely water proof is not standard practice.

Also not needed if the flange is firmly attached and the wax ring is installed correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well personally I think things should be built with more than a 20 yr lifetime and seal failure should not lead to ceiling repair but ,of course, this is not good for job security. The floor was not even remotely water proof. A leak should be between the toilet and the floor especially when dealing with second floor bath rooms. A house that is 20 yrs old should not require an entire gut and remodel because it was not done right in the first place.

Perry
 

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Well personally I think things should be built with more than a 20 yr lifetime and seal failure should not lead to ceiling repair but ,of course, this is not good for job security. The floor was not even remotely water proof. A leak should be between the toilet and the floor especially when dealing with second floor bath rooms. A house that is 20 yrs old should not require an entire gut and remodel because it was not done right in the first place.

Perry
Nobody is going to build you a house and give you a lifetime guarantee on anything in it. Reason being is they can't tell what you've done with it and then covered it back up after they left. As stated before it isn't normal to put any kind of sealer on the subfloor, nor is it required to seal the closet flange to the subfloor. If the toilet itself wasn't properly supported (IE movement in the floor system?) that could cause the wax seal to break free and then cause problems. I have seen this many times in budget building. Max out the span on the floor joists, and minimum thickness subfloor, you get a little bounce. Everything moves, wax seal is gone.

Could be even a broken seal from someone PLOPPING down onto the seat. Eventually that is going to cause some toilet wobble, and when the toilet moves independently of the flange you are going to get a leak. So you had to gut the whole place? What other problems are you having?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did not have to gut the whole place but this is not the only plumbing problem I have had. I have had problems with copper pipe getting pin holes in it in less than 20 yrs of use. The manufacture Cerro blamed it on acid flux which has been used since copper pipe was invented. I don't buy this. I blame it on bad copper alloys and pipe that is too thin. My folks have a house in FL and it was built in 1946 with copper pipe and they have never had a corrosion related pipe failure. Eventually, I will have to replace all the copper in my house with CPVC. My point is that common practice is not always good practice. The flange could have been installed and sealed properly with very little effort during initial installation and this problem would not have happened. My point is do it right and do it once. I am trying not to repeat mistakes. I don't want to deal with this problem EVER AGAIN.
 

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Point well take---do it right the first time----

The copper should be type L---blue stripe---type M is for hydronic heating.

Some water will destroy copper---there are counties in Arkansas where the copper pipes were failing within 4 years--those counties no longer allow copper at all.

Do some research on PEX piping----if it's allowed in your area that might be a fine choice when replacing your pipes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
My copper is the Red stripe which is probably the wrong stuff. I talked to the water plant and everything they were telling me sounded like they were keeping the PH around 7.0 which is pretty neutral. It would probably be less corrosive if the PH were a little higher than that. The problem I had was the hot water supply line leaking. I figured the heat was accelerating any corrosion that was going on. I replaced as much as I could with CPVC. I will replace the rest as I remodel.

That new stuff are you talking the Polyethylene stuff that you have to swage the ends on to? The problem there is you have to have special tools to use and repair it. It may become a good alternative but I want for it to get some time under it first.

Perry
 

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PEX is a tried and true product---It has been in use for many years for hydronic heating and for water in recent years, Do check it out---No fittings except at the beginning and end of a run and the most forgiving of all when frozen.

That red stripe piping is type M---wrong stuff.---Mike---
 

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If you don't ever want to have this problem again, then cut out the old flange and closet bend and install new fittings properly such that the flange sits on top of the finished flooring. Skip all the goop (silicone, ATV etc).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The funny thing is that if you do a search online you can either put the flange on top or flush with the floor. I agree with you though that the flange should be mounted on top of the flooring.

Perry
 

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sir, look real good at your floor flange. sometimes right where the commode bolts are placed the flange cracks. (if it is plastic especially) it cracks usually on the thin outside edge right outside where the bolts go. an untrained eye might not notice this. if it is cracked, no matter how hard you tighten it the commode will rock and leak. about the flooring issue and how the flange is placed i sympathize with you because i have fought framers, ceramic tile guys, and floor people for years. no matter how it is placed you should be able to use two regular seals or one jumbo or any combination to get the job done. and no, do not use the foam seal. it is tough as heck to tighten down and WILL cause the floor flange to crack by being to hard to get a seal. if the seal is cracked, get back with me and i will show you a quick fix that can save you hundreds of dollars. as for your ceiling, you can scrap the ceiling down, buy a hopper if you have a compressor, and spray it yourself cheaper than you can pay to have it done and you will have the hopper for the future or sell it and recoup some of your money back. you might even do the leg work and hire a sheetrock man to come in and spray it and be gone in less than an hour and you do the clean up. budro
 

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We are allowed to use type M here in oregon as long as it is aboveground and in a building.

:huh::huh:
Sorry,Alen---I work in an area with the strictest codes in the nation.

I spoke to soon.---Mike---
 

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Always check your local codes before you waste a lot of money an have to tear things out.

Codes are the minimum acceptable standards---you can exceed the codes if you wish.

Please everybody----add your location when asking questions ----it does help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There is not a lot of money involved in replacing the pipe it is all labor so that just adds another straw to my back.

On the toilet I got a Stainless steel repair flange to fix the broken mounting slot. PVC is not strong enough to keep a 30-40lb toilet from shifting with a 250lb person on top of it. It will break. The stainless repair flange will bolt through the existing PVC flange into the sub floor. The cup that holds the was seal is fine.

The leak was cause by a 20 yr old wax gasket leaking. This gasket did not have a rubber funnel on the bottom of it to help prevent leaks. It was obvious that the leak was between the flange and the wax gasket judging from the amount of mildew on the bottom of the wax ring. They should have used a thicker gasket especially considering the flange was level with the floor. It looks like there is about an inch of space between the bottom of the toilet and the part where the gasket sits. The regular wax gaskets are not much thicker than an inch so I don't think there was enough compression there in the first place. Which comes back to always put the flange on top of the floor it at all possible. I may try to raise mine by putting plywood semicircles under the flange to get it back to floor height.

Perry
 

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Stainless steel is pretty soft metal . . . . . :eek:

I have not yet seen a broken PVC or ABS flange due to age anyway. . . .

Seen them broken during construction, however, and if somebody doesn't say something, and the installer doesn't notice (usually they are filthy by the time we set the toilet on it) then the H.O. is stuck with a broken flange.

I don't think I could break one without the use of a hammer, to be honest with ya. :huh:
 
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