Recurring Dallas plumbing problem prompts question

I had my bathroom gutted and remodeled about three years ago. Everything has been great with the job, but the toilet has leaked from early on. My contractor had his plumber come out several times to recaulk it, but the problem keeps coming back. He's offered to pay half the cost of replacing the toilet, but I'm wondering if something else could be done?
— Kay Jameson, Dallas Angie's List member

It sounds like the problem is around the base, which means it's probably one of two things: the wax seal or the flange, says David Crow, general manager of the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise based in Arlington, but servicing Johnson and portions of Tarrant and Parker counties in Dallas/Fort Worth.

"The seal is designed so that when you place the toilet on top of it, it smooshes down flat and forms a seal around the base," Crow says. "If you have the wrong thickness, it won't seal, which allows water to discharge around the base.

"We frequently see cases where a plumber or a do-it-yourselfer used a wax seal off the shelf that didn't match the toilet, and the base is constantly wet."

He says caulking it over just hides the problem. "You'll never see the moisture, but you'll still have water getting where it's not supposed to be, causing discolored caulk and a musty, moldy smell," Crow says.

"It could also be a defective flange — one that's cracked, tilted or cockeyed. We'd pull up that toilet and see if one of those things needs to be repaired."

Do you have a service-related question? E-mail us at mailbag@angieslist.com


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