Toilet seals create an airtight and watertight seal between the base of the toilet and the floor. It prevents leakage and spread of water and foul air from the toilet bowl. When installing a new toilet or fixing a leak, there are two types toilet seals to choose from; wax vs waxless toilet seal.
Wax seals have existed for a long time, and it has been the only option for plumbers. Recently they introduced waxless seals to fix the shortcomings of wax seals. Fixing a leaking toilet is an easy task, but choosing the best seal between the wax and waxless seal can be daunting.
The choice you make narrows down to your preference, but the big question is, should you go for wax or waxless toilet seals?
Both wax and waxless toilet seals can prevent water leakage from the toilet. The best seal depends on the seal features, personal preference, and the condition of the toilet. For the best choice, consult a plumber because they have the experience and expertise to recommend the best seal for your home.
How Wax Toilet Seal Works
A wax toilet seal is a ring made of sticky wax placed between the bottom of the toilet bowl and the opening of the sewer pipe. The weight of the toilet compresses the wax to form an airtight and watertight seal to prevent water and gas leakage from the toilet.
Manufacturers use varying ingredients to make the wax, including beeswax, petroleum, or other ingredients.
Installing a new toilet or replacing the wax ring is not difficult, but getting the heavy toilet in the correct position can be daunting. Expect to ruin several rings before getting it right.
- They have been used for a long time; hence they are tried and tested for effectiveness.
- Wax ring seals can adjust in shape to fit any toilet
- The seal can last for many years
- Offer better resistance to molds and bacteria
- They start to leak over time
- They are messy
- Melt under heat hence not suitable for heated floors
- They are not reusable
How Waxless Toilet Seals Works
Waxless toilet seals are made of rubber or foam in place of the wax. Waxless seals hold the toilet in place and prevent leakage using a strong adhesive. What’s more, they address all the problems of wax seals.
- They can be reused
- They can withstand heat hence suitable for heated bathroom floors
- They are reusable
- They can be stacked for a better fitting
- They are more expensive than wax seals
Also Read: Are Waxless Toilet Rings Good?
5 Instances When To Replace A Toilet Seal
Toilet seals can last for many years as long they are installed correctly. However, for various reasons, sometimes these seals do not work as expected, hence the need for replacement.
Below are signs that your toilet wax or waxless seal is not functioning as it should:
1. Water Pool Around The Toilet Base
A collection of water at the base of the toilet is an indication that the toilet seal is broken or leaking. Some water leaks out through the seal when you flush the toilet instead of going down the drain.
However, you should not be quick to replace the seal because sometimes the pool can result from a leaking tank or pipe. It is safe to consult with a plumber for the correct diagnosis.
Besides preventing water leakages, toilet seals are supposed to avoid the leakage of sewage odors. Therefore, if your bathroom is smelling like sewer or rotten eggs, it means that there is gas leaking out from the drain pipes.
The only way to get rid of the awful smell is to replace the seals immediately. What’s more, ensure that the toilet bowl has enough water and no clogs because the smell could also be coming from the toilet bowl.
Also read: Can Hair Clog a Toilet?
3. Wobbly Toilet
If your toilet is rocking from side to side, the flange is highly likely to be broken. To make your toilet firm again, the flange must be replaced and, therefore, the seal.
Note that any time you move the toilet or the bowl, the integrity of the seal is compromised and must be replaced. Wax seals cannot be reused, so; you must purchase new ones.
On the other hand, waxless seals can be reused, but they must be in good condition.
4. Floor Replacement
If you are changing the bathroom’s flooring, it means that you will have to remove the toilet. As mentioned above, any time you move the toilet for whatever reason, the seals must be replaced.
5. Leakage From The Ceiling
If you ever notice leakage on the floor-ceiling below a toilet, there is a high possibility that the toilet is leaking. Sometimes the leaking water penetrates the floor, causing dampness or leakage on the ceiling below.
When you see a leakage on your ceiling, find out the water source immediately; otherwise, you might have to replace the whole ceiling. What’s more, the dampness makes the house very cold and leads to the growth of mold.
If the water is coming from the toilet, replace the seal as soon as the same today to avoid more damage.
How To Replace A Toilet Seal In 7 Steps
Toilet rings are available in most hardware stores, and you can do the replacement on your own. However, you must have average DIY skills for a successful toilet seal replacement.
In addition to the DIY skills, you should have the following tools:
- A bucket
- Heavy cloth rag
- Wet/dry shop vacuum
After gathering all the tools above, follow the simple steps below to replace the toilet seal:
1. Disconnect Water Supply
The first step to replacing a toilet is cutting off the water supply to the tank. Locate the valve on the pipe bringing in water to the toilet tank, and turn it off. If you have not moved the valve since installing the toilet, do not be surprised if it is sticky.
2. Drain The Toilet
Flushing the toilet is the easiest way to drain the tank, but all the water will not go away. To dry the tank completely, use the wet/dry vacuum cleaner or a heavy cloth rag to wipe it dry. What’s more, disconnect the pipe under the toilet tank to remove residue water. Catch the water with a bucket to avoid wetting the floor.
3. Remove The Toilet
Carefully remove the caps covering the bolts to access the bolts. Using the adjustable wrench remove the bolts and washers on the toilet’s base and store them safely in a container.
Rock and twist the toilet gently to crumble the old wax ring. Once it’s all loose, take a proper lifting posture and remove the toilet from its position. If it is too heavy for you, call for help or separate the tank and the bowl and move them separately.
4. Remove The Old Wax
To install a new seal, whether a wax or waxless ring, you must get rid of the old wax. For this step, put on your disposable gloves and use the putty knife to scratch away the wax from the flange and the bottom of the toilet.
If the wax is too sticky, use a hairdryer to melt it and use a cloth rag to wipe it away.
Check the flange for any damages or dents and in case of anything unusual, call a plumber for assessment. Also, you can cover the opening of the flange with a cloth to prevent the escape of foul smells from the drain as you get ready to replace the seal.
5. Place The New Ring
Before replacing the seal, ensure that it is the right size for the flange. Also, refer to the installation guide from the manufacturer. After you center the seal correctly, carefully and gently lower the toilet onto the flange.
The replacement is successful if the bolt holes on the toilet are directly aligned with the holes on the bathroom floor.
6. Close The Toilet And Sit
Your body weight will push the seal down and align the toilet correctly. By the end of this step, the toilet base should be lined up with the floor.
7. Replace The Bolts
The last step to keep the toilet in place is replacing the bolts and the covers. After that, replace the water supply lines and open the valve. Before cleaning up the area, flush the toilet severally to ensure that there are no leaks.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Waxless Toilet Seals Better Than Wax Seals?
Wax-free toilet seals are not messy, and you do have to make many attempts to position the toilet correctly. What’s more, they are reusable, unlike wax ring seals, where you should purchase a new seal for every replacement.
2. Are Waxless Toilet Rings Good?
Waxless toilet seals are easy to install, non-messy, can be stacked, and are reusable. The stacking ensures that the toilet does not leak irrespective of the people’s weight using the toilet. However, they are more expensive than wax seals.
3. Why Do Toilet Wax Seals Fail?
Wax toilet seal fails if they are not mounted correctly, if the toilet gets loose, or installed on heated floors. For effectiveness, wax toilet seals should be firmly compressed to get the toilet base at the floor level during installation.
4. How Do I Choose A Toilet Seal Ring?
To purchase the right toilet seal, measure the width of the bottom of your toilet and buy a seal of that width. For wax rings, you can only use one seal, but waxless seals can be stacked to accommodate any weight on the toilet.
Conclusion: Wax vs Waxless Toilet Seal
If you have been looking for a wax vs waxless toilet seal comparison, I hope you have the answers by now. Both wax and waxless toilet seals prevent air and water from leaking between the base and flange. But waxless seals perform the job without a lot of mess. The best seal for your toilet depends on preferences from previous experience, features of the seal, and the condition of the bathroom.