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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first time replacing a toilet. Removal of old one went fine. Lowered the new toilet onto the flange bolts and ran into two issues:

1. The toilet went readily right to the floor. I had expected it to sit on the wax ring, and thought I'd have to push down to get it flush to the floor. But I didn't feel any resistance on the way down so I'm worried that the ring didn't seal properly. Maybe I need a double ring? I'm confident that the toilet aligned properly on the discharge hole (judging by bolt placement). Should I have felt some resistance due to having to push down the wax ring, or is it normal that the toilet would easily settle to floor level?

2. The toilet isn't level -- it slants side-to-side by almost a half inch. The culprit is the floor, which I now see is slanted by that amount. I could shim one side of the toilet, but I'm afraid if I lift it up I'll break the wax seal (if there is a good seal). Also it would look lousy to shim one side that much (it's the visible side that's lower). Will a half-inch off level cause a problem with the flush? Maybe I could shim a quarter inch as a compromise? (Would lifting the toilet 1/4" break the wax seal?)

Thanks for any help.
 

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The old toilet sat on the same flooring. Did it or the water level in the bowl look odd? You can shim it if need be. Once a wax seal is "set", it will break the seal if you lift the toilet. Since you felt no resistance, I am guessing the wax seal was too thin. They do sell thicker seals. Using two seals is possible but, be careful that the top one does not slide when you sit the toilet on them. Was the closet flange below the floor level? If so, you need a flange extender to bring it up to at least the surface of the floor.
 

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If the toilet went straight down to the floor when you set it, I would guess that you need one of the thicker wax rings available at the hardware store, or double up on the rings which is something I use to do quite often to get a good seal.

In regards to the 5/16 slant, if it was never a problem before I wouldn't worry about it to much now. However, it can cause a toilet to wobble or become loose, so the safest bet would be to just go ahead and shim that side to level it out. Might as well take a minute to do that now rather than have to pull and reset the toilet later down the road.
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Do you need help with a clogged toilet? How about some tips for first time home buyers? I am always happy to help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I pulled up the toilet and the wax ring was completely intact -- it hadn't compressed at all, so wasn't thick enough. I bought an "extra-thick" wax ring today -- it has 40% more wax and seals from 1/4 to 1 inch higher so that should do it.

The flange was just barely above floor level, maybe 1/8".

I never noticed a slanting problem with the old toilet, but we did do some flooring work so I can't be sure it's exactly the same as before.

I also bought a pack of plastic shims and will put the toilet in place without the wax ring. If it looks like the appearance will be acceptable (after it's caulked) then I'll pull it up and install it for real. If it seems like it might be too much of a gap then that'll mean re-doing the floor.
 

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One hint. If you caulk around the base, leave the back side open. This way, if you have a leak, you will be able to see the water instead of trapping it until it ruins the flooring.
 

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One hint. If you caulk around the base, leave the back side open. This way, if you have a leak, you will be able to see the water instead of trapping it until it ruins the flooring.
:thumbup:Dragon glad to see someone that agrees with me on leaving a section uncaulk in the back. I am not a fan of caulking on second floors because of this reason.So many times I have walked into house where the floor has rotted away becasue they caulked all around the base of the toilet and the water had no way of coming out. I have tried to explain this to many plumbers but they still insist on caulking all the way around. Lower level floors caluk away .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Outcome

We finally resolved this and I learned something interesting: don't count on the toilet to be level.

When we set the toilet in place it was 5/16" off level. I assumed that was due to the new floor we installed being unlevel by that amount. We pulled up the toilet and put a level on the floor -- it was only off by 1/8". The rest of the problem was that the toilet slanted down from right to left by 3/16" in the front and 5/16" in the back. (Unfortunately the toilet slanted in the same plane as the floor or it they would have offset.)

This was a Kohler Highline toilet, not a cheapie. We returned the toilet and got another one, with assurances from the sales guy that the first was an abberation and we'd be happy with the new one. Got it home, put a level on it (on a level floor) and it was WORSE than the first one.

We took that one back and, armed with a level, made them open the two remaining Highlines they had in stock -- they were both slanted by about the same amount as the last one. All were slanted in the same direction, and all were worse in the back than in the front.

Went to another store and on the third try found one that was almost level. We bought that, took it home and installed it. We used a thin sheet rubber toilet shim (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=31446-143-PP25546&lpage=none) to make it perfect. We preferred the rubber shim to plastic because it was easier to cut and could be cut to curve with the base; also we didn't need much thickness. The shim was so thin that we didn't even need to caulk.

FWIW, the unlevel toilets we looked at were manufactured in different batches almost a year apart, so it's not like they had one bad run. We bought the toilets at Lowes and they were great about the returns and also helping us look for a level one. I think one guy thought we were crazy at first but he changed his mind after we showed him how far off level the toilets were.

It was quite a hassle but we're very happy with the results.
 

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Wow... thanks for this... I'm in the finishing stages of a bathroom remodel with the new toilet in a box currently... when I get home, first thing I'm going to do is check it with a level... would have never thunk it!
 

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We finally resolved this and I learned something interesting: don't count on the toilet to be level.

When we set the toilet in place it was 5/16" off level. I assumed that was due to the new floor we installed being unlevel by that amount. We pulled up the toilet and put a level on the floor -- it was only off by 1/8". The rest of the problem was that the toilet slanted down from right to left by 3/16" in the front and 5/16" in the back. (Unfortunately the toilet slanted in the same plane as the floor or it they would have offset.)

This was a Kohler Highline toilet, not a cheapie. We returned the toilet and got another one, with assurances from the sales guy that the first was an abberation and we'd be happy with the new one. Got it home, put a level on it (on a level floor) and it was WORSE than the first one.

We took that one back and, armed with a level, made them open the two remaining Highlines they had in stock -- they were both slanted by about the same amount as the last one. All were slanted in the same direction, and all were worse in the back than in the front.

Went to another store and on the third try found one that was almost level. We bought that, took it home and installed it. We used a thin sheet rubber toilet shim (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=31446-143-PP25546&lpage=none) to make it perfect. We preferred the rubber shim to plastic because it was easier to cut and could be cut to curve with the base; also we didn't need much thickness. The shim was so thin that we didn't even need to caulk.

FWIW, the unlevel toilets we looked at were manufactured in different batches almost a year apart, so it's not like they had one bad run. We bought the toilets at Lowes and they were great about the returns and also helping us look for a level one. I think one guy thought we were crazy at first but he changed his mind after we showed him how far off level the toilets were.

It was quite a hassle but we're very happy with the results.

Not a big fan of kohler products, They make a simple job difficult.
 

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Toilets are not level and floors are not level. When you set a new toilet try putting 4 plastic wedges on the floor before you set the toilet. Start your closet bolts and check level after firmly seating the commode. Keep sliding out the shims as needed until it is level. You should get at least one shim out completely. Doing this insures the wax seal stays intact. Caulk, let cure and you should be in good shape. I like Majakdragon's suggestion about leaving the back open as a leak indicator.

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