Today we’re going to address a $5 part for your toilet that, when not replaced immediately upon failure, can lead to hundreds of dollars of damage to your home’s structure.
Ideally, your toilet should deliver waste water from the toilet bowl to the sewer or septic without any leaks or seepage. Your toilet is sealed to the floor with a wax ring that keeps waste water flowing directly from the toilet into the drain pipe below. Any failure in that wax ring can allow sewage to seep into your sub flooring and leak into your home’s structure below the toilet.
If you have a toilet that shifts or rocks at all when you sit down, you need to have your wax ring replaced immediately.
Well, not your wax ring. The toilet’s wax ring.
As mentioned above, the typical wax ring kit can be purchased for around $5 at your local hardware store. It is something a homeowner with a bit of confidence and YouTube can accomplish on their own. If toilets aren’t your cup of tea (really, it’s so hard to avoid these jokes), a licensed plumber can swap out the wax ring and reset your toilet for around $200.
It is not uncommon when we’re inspecting older homes – especially properties that have been rentals for a while – to discover leaky toilets that have caused significant damage to the bathroom subfloor and the joists and flooring below.
If your home has experienced this degree of seepage, remember that you are dealing with raw sewage, and take precautions when cleaning up.
Warped vinyl flooring or loose tiles should be replaced to ensure the toilet can be reseated on a solid, stable surface. If the leak caused damage to the subflooring, that section of subfloor should be replaced as well. If you do discover damage to this extent, don’t be afraid to reach out to a licensed contractor for repairs.
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