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Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? #4635954
01/15/18 05:00 PM
01/15/18 05:00 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 453
Indiana
5AcresAndAFool Offline OP
5AcresAndAFool  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 453
Indiana
I have replaced a number of wax rings over the years that have failed in places I have lived or for family or friends and I was wondering if anyone preemptively replaces them? I would think that if a toilet is setting on a firm surface such as concrete and it is seated perfectly, that they would never go bad.

As we know there is rarely a perfect situation though. There is always usually some unnoticed minute movement somewhere when getting up and down off the toilet, over time this "wears" the wax ring or the wax ring simply hardens to the point it is no longer effective.

I installed the toilet I am concerned about 9 years ago and have no issues. The floors in my house are nowhere near the most solid and sometimes when you sit down on the toilet or walk in the right spot on the floor you get a pop or creak, so there obviously is some movement, even if you cant feel it or see it. (I am not talking about a toilet that rocks or a spongy floor, just your typical creaks and pops of an older house)

I am wondering if I should pull the toilet and put a new wax seal down. I really dont want to wait until it becomes an issue and rots the floor out. There is a gap in the caulk behind the toilet to see if any water were to run out, but in my experience a wax ring failure usually starts so small and goes on for so long it is a long time until you discover the damage.

So what is the general lifespan of wax rings in your experiences? I always use Harveys IIRC, and I get the ones with the funnel built in. I have never had one I have replaced fail, but this is the longest I have ever had one in service that I replaced.

10,15,20 years? Research I have seen says on a heavily used toilet that 5 to 10 years could be expected, but in some cases they last indefinitely.I think the one on the toilet in our basement is 40 years old and original, but I have no way of knowing, but that toilet sits on concrete and rarely gets used.

The other thing is that I have seen wax-less seals in the home improvement stores recently. Has anyone ever used one of these? Are they better? Worse? indifferent? I would think they would hold up better to any movement, but who knows.


My thought is just to change it, its easy enough, and cheap enough. If I do change it I am toying with the idea of a wax-less, but might go with what has always worked for me.

Last edited by 5AcresAndAFool; 01/15/18 05:06 PM.
Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635958
01/15/18 05:04 PM
01/15/18 05:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 30,978
NY
demarpaint Offline
demarpaint  Offline
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 30,978
NY
I've got two of them going on 20 years here. In fact in 35 years of home ownership I never had to replace one. I've owned houses with toilets and wax seals a lot older than 20 years.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635962
01/15/18 05:06 PM
01/15/18 05:06 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 12,761
NH
supton Offline
supton  Offline
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 12,761
NH
Can you look up from the basement?

I look up periodically at mine, family of four, and it's been 13 years now without touching. No idea how long it has been untouched. All PVC, new tile floor on a decent substructure, so maybe that matters.

Edit: now furnace parts, those seem to go often. Expansion tank and the valves that let air out. 5-7 years on those parts it seems.

Last edited by supton; 01/15/18 05:06 PM.

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Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635964
01/15/18 05:07 PM
01/15/18 05:07 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,295
Ca
totegoat Offline
totegoat  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,295
Ca
Usually last until the toilet needs replacing.

Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: supton] #4635965
01/15/18 05:08 PM
01/15/18 05:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 453
Indiana
5AcresAndAFool Offline OP
5AcresAndAFool  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 453
Indiana
Originally Posted By: supton
Can you look up from the basement?

I look up periodically at mine, family of four, and it's been 13 years now without touching. No idea how long it has been untouched. All PVC, new tile floor on a decent substructure, so maybe that matters.


No, I left that important detail out... Its on the second floor. I put in retrofit can light a few years ago and seen up in there, but I dont remember if I could see the drain pipe, I thought I could but not sure.

The pipes are 40yo PVC. Toilet sits on the floor nicely.

Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635973
01/15/18 05:16 PM
01/15/18 05:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 6,506
...
PimTac Offline
PimTac  Offline
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 6,506
...
The only time I’ve replaced the wax ring is when I pulled the toilet. Generally they last a lifetime.


Cannot see signatures any longer so it doesn’t matter.
Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635984
01/15/18 05:25 PM
01/15/18 05:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 598
Upstate NY
Wheel Offline
Wheel  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 598
Upstate NY
I just pulled up our 2 johns to install new flooring. They were put down in 1985, both were good. Both my parents have ones older than that that are good still. I think it depends on how much movement there is between the john and the plumbing. I'd love to know why exactly they fail.


2009 Subaru Legacy (N/A)
Castrol Edge and Subie (Fram) filter
Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635986
01/15/18 05:27 PM
01/15/18 05:27 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,941
Texas
Bud Offline
Bud  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,941
Texas
I had to pull one of my toilets about three years ago and went with a waxless ring. Much prefer it over a wax ring.


2016 Honda Pilot EX-L with NAVI.....Mobil 1 0w20 AFE and Honda OEM Filter
Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635987
01/15/18 05:31 PM
01/15/18 05:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,220
Port Orange, Florida
Panzerman Offline
Panzerman  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,220
Port Orange, Florida
I am remodeling the bathrooms now. The one toilet is over 40 years old. No leaks ever.
I always assumed they last a lifetime.



2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Hemi 4x4
2016 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack
Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4635989
01/15/18 05:31 PM
01/15/18 05:31 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,515
Wet side WA
JohnnyJohnson Offline
JohnnyJohnson  Offline
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,515
Wet side WA
Just about totally dependent on how well (level) they are installed. I've had the last form ten minutes to a lifetime.


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Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4636000
01/15/18 05:47 PM
01/15/18 05:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 27
PA
wha232 Offline
wha232  Offline
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 27
PA
I just saw a "this old House" episode where they used a foam/rubber ring.

Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: wha232] #4636005
01/15/18 05:52 PM
01/15/18 05:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 366
NJ
JLawrence08648 Offline
JLawrence08648  Offline
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 366
NJ
Originally Posted By: wha232
I just saw a "this old House" episode where they used a foam/rubber ring.


I saw the same episode! Never knew they existed. My local plumbing supply says plumbers never ask for them. I use the wax rings with the black funnel. Wax rings also come in two thicknesses. Without removal or movement, they last forever.

Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: JLawrence08648] #4636020
01/15/18 06:09 PM
01/15/18 06:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,447
Fort Worth, Texas
clinebarger Offline
clinebarger  Offline
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,447
Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: JLawrence08648
Originally Posted By: wha232
I just saw a "this old House" episode where they used a foam/rubber ring.


I saw the same episode! Never knew they existed. My local plumbing supply says plumbers never ask for them. I use the wax rings with the black funnel. Wax rings also come in two thicknesses. Without removal or movement, they last forever.


Bingo! The toilet has the be secured to the floor!!! Though my brother weighs over 350# & is constantly having wax ring issues because of the stress he puts on the base, He has problems with a lot of things because his weight.


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
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2000 Toyota Avalon 1MZ-FE/A541E
Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4636035
01/15/18 06:17 PM
01/15/18 06:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,113
British Columbia, Canada
ecotourist Offline
ecotourist  Offline
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,113
British Columbia, Canada
It might also depend on the installation. In my recent renovations I had a toilet pulled for replacement. There were 3 stacked wax rings under it and it had leaked at some time in the past leaving a bit of rot. The plumber said he'd never seen 3 seals used before. After repairing the floor and raising the flange, we decided we'd better check the others.

A second toilet had 2 stacked seals but had not leaked. Another flange to raise.

The third toilet (on the second floor) had only one seal and hadn't leaked.

When you renovate you always have a few surprises. Usually expensive ones. But I think these wax seals are good now!

I've only ever had one other seal leak. That was in my last house when it was about 10 years old. It presented as discoloration of the lino around the toilet. I pulled out the toilet in anticipation of putting in ceramic tiles and found it pretty damp under there. I let it dry for several days and again did a bit of plywood repair.


2000 BMW 528i 5MT
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Re: Wax Rings on Toilets, how long do they last? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4636045
01/15/18 06:33 PM
01/15/18 06:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 6,506
...
PimTac Offline
PimTac  Offline
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 6,506
...
I’m wondering if the rubber seals are made for certain circumstances like very overweight people or commercial use? The toilet won’t move if it’s bolted down correctly. That starts with the flange being installed correctly too. I saw one installation where the flange was nailed into the plywood subfloor. Ten years later it leaked and I helped this friend fix it.

Also, builders who use chipboard in bathrooms don’t care about the future. Any water that hits it weakens the stuff and the toilet starts to wiggle thus another leak. I’ve seen that as well.


Cannot see signatures any longer so it doesn’t matter.
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