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Leaking Toilet Wax Seal

An interesting thing was happening to the laminate flooring in my son’s bathroom, I noticed there was some buckling in the laminate floor approximately two feet from the toilet. Hoping it wasn’t a slab leak, I decided to investigate. Running my moisture meter over the area, I found a high moisture reading in the buckling area, but NOT around the base of the toilet. Hmm…

Spencer replacing the wax seal the first time.

Spencer replacing the same wax seal a second time.

Instinctively I summed up that is was more than likely the wax ring under the toilet that was failing. Time to pull up the toilet, with my curious son’s help, to have a look.

My assumption was correct, the wax ring was leaking and had spread under the laminate. But the cause of the failure of the wax ring was a mystery. We had just replaced it several years ago, so I felt I needed to do a little investigating and confirmed that plunging the toilet often and aggressively can cause small leaks that may not be apparent for years, as in our own home. This particular toilet has had many things flushed down it over the years since it is my twelve year old son’s toilet. Paper towels, super-hero figurines, candy wrappers, this toilet has seen many plunges.

So if you are seeing moisture or a change in your bathroom floor in areas or around the toilet, this may be the problem and a quick call to your plumber can hopefully solve it sooner than later. Because what appears to be a minor issue may be just the tip of the iceberg, as in our case. However, if you must plunge your toilet, follow these steps:

  1. Place the plunger into the toilet with the water covering the lip of the plunger.

  2. Gently push down the plunger to remove all of the air.

  3. Jerk up the plunger quickly.

  4. Repeat until the toilet drains.

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