We have a toilet in a spare bathroom which was added onto the house (converted from a pantry, we suspect) by the previous owners, and not really done very well. In particular, the floor was probably just wood under tile (ie, no vapor barrier), though we haven't de-tiled to verify. However, looking at the toilet's drain lets us see it.

The toilet leaks around the O-Ring about every four to six months; we've replaced it 5 or 6 times since we moved in (3 years ago). We're getting a bit tired of doing that. We suspect it is because we can't get the toilet to sit perfectly still - even with shims, the toilet still moves a small amount over time.

Short of replacing the floor, which we could do but would obviously be a rather large and expensive project, is there a better solution that will last longer? We likely will replace the floor within about 2-3 years, but at the moment would prefer to put that off if there is a good solution (we have a couple of toddlers who are potty trained/potty training and losing access to the first floor bathroom for weeks would put a crimp in that).

I did see this question, and wonder if that is a possible solution. How could I tell if the height of the flange is the problem?

Edit: My toilet is an American Standard Cadet 3, with the elongated bowl; here are the installation instructions. It doesn't seem to require any particular height of the flange from the floor (which makes sense when I see the picture). The bolts themselves are plenty high, I can screw them down with no problem.

  • There should be a spec for the toilet at how much reveal of the flange is required. I suspect this may be pretty standard, but I'm not a plumber by trade. Sep 14, 2015 at 17:41
  • hardware/ supply stores sell extensions for toilet flanges. Depending on the type they install fairly easily.
    – ojait
    Sep 14, 2015 at 21:05
  • You might try installing and immediately pulling a wax ring, and then inspecting to see if you have full contact around the top and bottom of the ring. You might also try a different type of seal, e.g. one of the more complex ones that allows adjustment. Sep 15, 2015 at 0:38
  • Have you checked for a crack or leak in the toilet itself?
    – Duane
    Dec 19, 2018 at 16:13

3 Answers 3


Get something like this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KHSLV2G or this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BQUJEA (there are other types, those just came up first when I searched).

In case the links break: They are wax ring alternatives that are made of flexible plastic instead of wax, so they can take some movement without leaking. There are a bunch of different types with lots of different designs. I have never used them so I can't recommend any particular one.

  • This is actually what we did (I don't think it was either of those products, but a similar concept). We've been leak-free for four months so far.
    – Joe
    Jan 13, 2016 at 15:04
  • I have used fernco on a problem toilet it lasted several years , may still be in there but sold the house so I don't know.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 18, 2018 at 20:09

Somme times a simple trick can work. Here is what I did to tackle exactly the problem. My master bed bathroom tiolet will leak around the flange every 6/8 months. I reset the toilet bowl twice with new wax seal once using extra depth seal. Nothing helped and the leak will appear on the sealing of my living room sending my other half screaming.

So I came across this suggestion from a contractor on line. It advised to check the bolts on the toilet which attaches it to to flange. Guess what one bolts was loose enough that I had to give 6/7 complete turns to tighten it. Voila the leak has stopped. Tightening did pull the flange up thereby sealing the little gap between wax ring and flange.

Yours may not be the case but do check this out.

  • Thanks, I'll take a look next time I have to replace that wax ring. No problems since the 1/16 fix, but we're probably getting the whole bathroom replumbed on the drain side due to slowly corroding 100-yr-old pipes, so will have a chance to look then I suspect.
    – Joe
    Jan 18, 2018 at 17:38
  • I did tighten the bolts and my toilet stopped leaking. Let’s see for how long. Dec 13, 2022 at 22:48

the toilets floor flange should be set so as to be slightly higher than the finished floor. This will allow the opening (horn) at the bottom of the toilet to almost connect snug enough to the floor flange or closet flange. The wax ring seals any gaps that would allow water and gas from exiting the system. Usually a toilet will move because: 1) the bolts have become unsecured from the closet flange. If you see the bolt turning while the nut is being tightened, you need to pull the toilet and start again. Try pushing thin plastic washers (sometimes included with a new wax ring) onto the bolts to prevent them from moving.,2) the flange is too low . You may be able to circumvent this issue by adding another wax ring or installing a thicker one.3) the flange is to high. The only way to repair this issue, short of replacing the closet bend, is to install a platform for the toilet base to sit on (spare tile, plastic cutting boards, etc.). I think it is very strange that the wax rings are replaced at the rate you described. There must be another factor that is not being noticed. What does the wax ring look like when you replace it? is it flattened uniformly? Make sure there are no space heaters or heating ducts close by. They can warm the porcelain so the heat is absorbed by the wax ring and melts or softens.

  • No, no heating ducts or similar right there (and it happens in the winter and summer). There is a heating vent opposite the toilet, but I doubt it heats the toilet excessively. The wax ring is ... normal looking, really; it's not obvious from looking at it that there's a leak. If I didn't see it on the floor and/or in the basement, I wouldn't know the ring was bad. We're not talking a huge flow of water here - maybe 2 ounces or less on the floor each flush. We do use the "Extra thick" wax rings.
    – Joe
    Sep 14, 2015 at 21:07
  • so the leak is around the base when the toilet is flushed? Sometimes water will leak from the tank/ seat connection. Or the supply line/ valve connection.
    – ojait
    Sep 14, 2015 at 22:16
  • No, definitely used toilet water from the bowl. Have to clean it to avoid smells... But yes, from the base when the toilet is flushed.
    – Joe
    Sep 14, 2015 at 22:17
  • Are the floor tile level? floor flange about 1/2 inch (+/-) above floor? Flange bolts holding in there slots? (this happens often when tightening bolts).
    – ojait
    Sep 14, 2015 at 22:25
  • We suspect the floor isn't perfectly level - the tiles themselves are fine, but the subfloor is probably not. That's the long term fix - the question is about whether there is a shorter term fix. The flange bolts are holding fine I think (not 100% sure what this is asking); they're not moving around much anyway.
    – Joe
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:12

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