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Flawed toilet install demonstration on national TV......

user-1116010's picture

I was very surprised by the methods used during the airing of a toilet install by a prominent home repair guru this past weekend. The show host's expert plumber, stacked two wax gaskets while setting the bowl, to make up for a closet flange that was installed well below the level of the tiled floor. 

Stacked wax gaskets will not provide a long lasting odor proof, or water tight seal. Stacked waxes are prone to failure by probing closet augers, shrinkage, and rodent gnawing. The poor quality of the install was compounded when the plumber failed to caulk the toilet bowl where it met the floor; just one overflow of that bowl will allow soiled water to wick under it, and that water will end up in the depression left by the low flange.

l've removed hundreds of toilets that were set with two or more waxes, and most of those installs resulted in loose tile, rotted subflooring and adjacent framing, and worst of all, a festering stew of some of the nastiest germs on the planet. I'm sure that using two or more gaskets when installing a toilet does not qualify as good workmanship as required by code, and I think all trade skill demonstrations should exhibit the best standard practices.

A plumbers main responsibilty is to provide sanitation; I'm amazed at how often this duty is overlooked - MikeL

Some single-thickness wax (post #207352, reply #1 of 7)

Some single-thickness wax rings are as thick as two of the thin ones--could you see which type(s) he was using?

BTW, this is not to undermine your primary point about responsible plumbing practices. It has often and truly been said that good plumbing has saved far more lives than good doctoring ever did.

I do agree with you, (post #207352, reply #2 of 7)

I do agree with you, but........

What do you do when confronted by that situation and the customer refuses or can't afford the price of a proper repair? Sometimnes in spite of your desires to do the right thng you just can't and have to settle for second best.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 40 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

holey s_it ! recent major (post #207352, reply #3 of 7)

holey s_it !

recent major news show recently was going to demo a collapsible hose - turned on hose bib outside NY studion bldg, could not get it shut off!!  Too bad they only showed the guys bending over trying to shut it off, would have liked to see some of the anchor babes with short dresses trying <G>

PS: cannot those east coast guys buy one of the abs flange extenders there, even with CI , would work better than 2 rings of beeswax....

Whether two stacked gaskets (post #207352, reply #4 of 7)

Whether two stacked gaskets would work or not depends on how low the flange is and what sort fo gaskets are used.  It's a reasonable approach in many cases (and was, until maybe 20 years ago, the only option available).

And caulking the toilet to the floor is a double-edged sword. It can conceal leaks as much as cause them.

The most critical thing, in my book, is to make sure that the toilet doesn't rock, not even the tiniest bit.  More gasket failures are due to the toilet rocking than all other causes combined, and it makes for an unpleasant "toilet experience" to boot.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Opinions & options (post #207352, reply #5 of 7)

I guess I expect too much, but if I were a national  home repair celebrity, I would make sure that I was demonstrating the best possible solutions, and then leave it up to the diy'ers to decide if they have the desire, skill, or finances to follow through. 

I have removed many hundreds of toilets that had served for decades, undisturbed and not leaking. Many were caulked at the base, and all were connected to the flange with a single standard gasket. 

Rocking toilets are easy to fix using sheet rubber as a shim, and good caulk or grout, but any toilet repair or install should always start with a properly prepared floor and flange.

I'm shocked! (post #207352, reply #6 of 7)

Not really.

I, like you, have seen a lot of sorry work by licensed plumbers.  Most of the time it is because they don't have the correct fixit part on the truck.  In this case it would have been an adapter ring flang that sits on top of the to low original.  Made for just that very situation. The ring has a seal on the bottm edge that compresses when new and longer mounting screws are installed.  It means the plumber would have needed to make a run to the supply house and come back to the job.  Not billable time if he had already looked at the job or possibly bid it without including the cost of the flang.


Another solution would have been to make an inside cut of the waste pipe and install and inside drop in flang with a longer throat.  Same scenario though as the first case.  Bad planning and an unwillingness to take the time to go get the correct parts to do it right.

Of course the made for tv shows also want the simple solution to make it look like any HO can fix anything.

Shrinkage???? Rodents?????? (post #207352, reply #7 of 7)



No caulk??????

Two thin seals equal one thick one.  Is it better to have the flange on top of the floor?  Yes, but it's not the end of the world. 

The toilet rocks?  Isn't a shim the same as two seals.  The floor ain't level, make it level. Same arguement.