Toilet leaking into ceiling

This week one of my regular Lee’s Summit plumbing customers complained of a water leak in their ceiling from a toilet. They were upset not only because of the possible damage to their ceiling. But also because they’d had another company reset the toilet just last year.

I asked if they had a new tile floor installed in the bathroom. They said they had. It was done last year. They had the remodeler reset the toilet.

I told them that this is a common problem. The remodeler had installed tile that was thicker than the old flooring tile. This raised the top of the floor above the toilet flange. This creates a gap between the bottom of the toilet & the toilet flange to which it connects.

Toilet leaking into ceiling
Toilet flange below flooring

This gap can create leaks when the toilet is flushed. The wax seal between the bottom of the toilet and toilet flange is compromised.

Most remodelers & inexperienced plumbers will install two toilet wax rings to fill the gap. But this is only a temporary solution. The wax will sag & begin to leak after one to three years. This creates a gap in the wax seal and the toilet begins to leak.

Unfortunately this amount of time is beyond the average warranty. So the remodeler or plumber never hears of the mistake. And they can’t learn from it. They continue the poor practice and the customer calls me.

Toilet flange riser
Toilet flange extension

A toilet flange should be just slightly above the bathroom flooring. To fix their problem I pulled the toilet. I installed a toilet flange extension on top of the toilet flange and reset the the toilet.

I apologized to my customer for the inconvenience created by the remodelers mistake. And I explained to them that even experienced plumbers are convinced stacking wax rings is a correct method.

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