I get questions sometimes about whether it’s better to use waxless toilet rings or traditional wax rings. It’s  important to understand that the right preparation will always save you money, and the same is true of wax vs. waxless seals.

A wax ring costs about a dollar. But when you get to the big box home improvement store you’re going to see at least a half dozen other choices for toilet to flange sealing options, all promising to be better than just a regular ole plain wax ring. And some of the choices can cost between $15-$20. Are they really better?

Well… no. Sometimes simple is best.

It’s all in the preparation, so let’s see what makes a great seal between your toilet and the flange.

The bottom lip of the toilet flange should sit flush with the finished floor. If the floor is uneven, then no seal is going to work.

Properly Installing A Wax Ring

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This toilet flange is too low. This floor has been redone with new tile and the toilet flange was not raised to the proper height. You want to make sure the flange is at the correct height BEFORE the floor is retiled. The toilet leaked through the ceiling below, I pulled the toilet and found this.

Here’s one where spacers were used to raise the level, but there are two problems here. 1. It’s still too low.2. Leakage WILL and DID occur between the spacers, so they just don’t work. A real plumber would never attempt such a jackleg repair. The original flange has to be cut out and a new flange installed at the correct height in order to guarantee no leaks.

This customer knew their old flange height was going to be wrong when in the process of redoing their floor. They called me and I cut out the old flange, laid two scrap pieces of backer board and two new tiles at the edge of the drain pipe, then glued in the new flange. This flange is at exactly the right height for the new tile floor, so once the tile is complete, the toilet can be reset with no worries of a leak. And guess what? A $1 standard wax ring will seal the toilet to the flange perfectly.

If you take the proper steps in preparation, you don’t need expensive waxless toilet rings.

So what does all this have to do with different types of toilet to flange seals?

I’ll tell you. Manufacturers of fancy toilet flange seals are trying to give you a solution to a flange that is not set at the correct height to begin with. The bottom line is:

  1. Fancy waxless toilet rings are gimmicks, and
  2. Extra thick wax seals are a bandaid, and
  3. Wax seals with a plastic horn on them are unnecessary…

… if the flange is set correctly in the first place.

If the toilet flange is installed at the proper height to begin with, nothing beats a good ole $1 wax ring.

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