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clevere1
Premium
join:2002-01-06
Vancouver, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Help. Toilet maybe leaking? Not sure

Hello all.... I need some advice from folks with experience with toilet leaks...

We have a couple of bathrooms in our house. All of them have caulking around the base of the toilet. 2 are upstairs, 1 downstairs.

I noticed that the caulking on the first floor bathroom is starting to separate from the toilet. It's still attached to the floor, but not the bottom of the toilet. The caulking is a little discolored, but I figured that was from my son "missing the mark"...

I don't really see water anywhere.. I don't know how to tell if the floor is soft or squishy (it's covered in linoleum)

Ideas, thoughts?
--
Where's th' DAFFY DUCK EXHIBIT??


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL

What does the ceiling below look like ???? If your on a slb, one would think it would be wet around the base through the loose caulk.



clevere1
Premium
join:2002-01-06
Vancouver, WA
kudos:1

This bathroom is on the bottom floor of the house. No ceiling to look at ... just insulation under the house.
--
Where's th' DAFFY DUCK EXHIBIT??



Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
reply to clevere1

Lift the toilet and inspect the floor. Unfortunately its the only way to do it.

While its disgusting, messy and generally gross, the procedure isn't overly difficult.


bmilone2

join:2001-01-26
Mays Landing, NJ
reply to clevere1

Sounds like the caulking is just shrinking. Caulking around the base is just done for appearance, the wax seal keeps the toilet from leaking. If you have concerns remove the caulk and keep a watch for any water on the floor after flushing. Keep in mind that a leaking wax seal does not always show itself by water on the floor. But as said, sounds more like shrinking caulk.


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit
reply to clevere1

So it's on a crawl space ??? If so go down there and see if the plywood is wet. If it's on a slab pout a 5 gallon bucket of water down and if something comes out of the loose caulk, you've got a leak. Otherwise you need to bail as much water out and pull the bowl.

If you end up pulling the bowl, have a wax ring, closet bolts and another water supply handy. Sometimes I've found that the water supply may not fit again after pulling the bowl especially if you remove the tank, especially the chrome type. I have better luck with the plastic ones and if you have the Cadillac of supplies. stainless mesh over plastic tubing they seem to always work.



tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5

Prob caulking shrinking..

Cut some thin strips of paper, 1/2" wide, and slide em under the shitter in a coupla places... use shitter as normal for a day or so, then check strips..

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)


iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to clevere1

As far as I know, caulking around the toilet is not recommended and/or required. However, I have heard someone telling me that some manufacturers so instruct caulking. But for the most part it is not needed.

If the wax seal breaks/leaks and your have caulking, then you have no way of knowing about the leak unless if has done some water damage. So remove the caulking from all toilets through your house (in my opinion).

If you are still looking for an answer/solution, you can have someone use a moisture meter to see if there is water damage or to what extent. OR an IR scan might help too.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

said by iLearn:

If you are still looking for an answer/solution, you can have someone use a moisture meter to see if there is water damage or to what extent.

Or you can just buy a moisture meter for about $30 at Lowes, etc.
Expand your moderator at work

iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada

1 edit
reply to robbin

Re: Help. Toilet maybe leaking? Not sure

said by robbin:

said by iLearn:

If you are still looking for an answer/solution, you can have someone use a moisture meter to see if there is water damage or to what extent.

Or you can just buy a moisture meter for about $30 at Lowes, etc.

You always get what you paid for, and that goes for just about everything in life.

The moisture meter I carry is a $450 meter.

In my opinion, you either invest on a good tool that will give you right results and is good for several materials OR add about $70 to the recommended $30 solution and hire a home inspector who has a good moisture meter and an IR camera and who will give you results 'in writing'. Liability of the results is also one of the reasons why I am recommending a third party help.

We advise - you decide.

Thanks


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to clevere1

said by clevere1:

I don't really see water anywhere.. I don't know how to tell if the floor is soft or squishy (it's covered in linoleum)

Ideas, thoughts?

Put two hands on the toilet and push down, rock it very, very slightly, and see if it moves. Or, straddle it with your feet as close as possible to the base and kinda rock yourself side to side. If it's gotten "squishy", you'll feel it.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to iLearn

said by iLearn:

said by robbin:

said by iLearn:

If you are still looking for an answer/solution, you can have someone use a moisture meter to see if there is water damage or to what extent.

Or you can just buy a moisture meter for about $30 at Lowes, etc.

You always get what you paid for, and that goes for just about everything in life.

The moisture meter I carry is a $450 meter.

In my opinion, you either invest on a good tool that will give you right results and is good for several materials

Nice that you have an expensive meter. The $30 meter does a good job and would be more than adequate for this purpose. It also does several materials including wood, drywall, and concrete. It is easy to use and would certainly give the answer to the the question the OP has asked.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to iLearn

I don't see where the OP would have 'liability' - they already own the house and it looks to be the house they live in (ie: not a rental).

Plenty of valid suggestions without hiring a 3rd party.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA
reply to clevere1

Caulk will shrink and separate normally over time. If there's nothing leaking, I wouldn't worry about it.

You can always disconnect the toilet from the water line and pull it up to make sure the wax ring is good and not leaking. Replace it with a new one (about a dollar) to make sure it's sealed good.


iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to robbin

said by robbin:

Nice that you have an expensive meter. The $30 meter does a good job and would be more than adequate for this purpose. It also does several materials including wood, drywall, and concrete. It is easy to use and would certainly give the answer to the the question the OP has asked.

You did not have to say "Nice that you have an expensive meter". It was not like we are using our real identities here and I was somehow trying to promote my company/services on this message board by mentioning that I have an expensive moisture meter.

Anyways, care to share the link to the $30 moisture meter? How much do you know about moisture meters? Do you know how to use moisture meters in high humid areas and how the you may get incorrect reading from cheap meters?

iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

I don't see where the OP would have 'liability' - they already own the house and it looks to be the house they live in (ie: not a rental).

Plenty of valid suggestions without hiring a 3rd party.

That was not my point.

The OP said that all of his bathrooms have caulking around toilets. So unless, the manufacturer recommended caulking (which I highly doubt), this is a yellow flag for problems. This means that whoever did that did not know what they were doing OR there has been a leakage problem in the past - or some other similar scenario.

The liability factor comes in when you hire a 'professional' who provides you with their findings. You then hire someone to fix the problem, they tear down the ceiling and find out that there was nothing there to begin with. You now have another problem which was caused by incorrectly diagnosing the problematic area by that 'professional'. This is when you can hold that professional responsible. UNLESS - you follow the advice of doing this yourself and then you can hold yourself responsible. Again, we are talking about possible water leakage which we call the 'biggest enemy of the house' and comparing it to a $100 service - not a bad idea.

There is a reason why there is a $30 moisture meter and a $450 moisture meter in the market - dont kid yourself, you are smarter than that.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to iLearn

This is the meter I have. I bought it at Lowes where I think it was about $35 -- their site is currently down so I can't check. If you didn't think it was nice to have a $450 meter perhaps you shouldn't have posted how much yours cost. Personally I don't think the price makes any difference for this application.

I know enough about moisture meters to use the one I have for the purpose I bought it for which was locating plumbing leaks. I have successfully done this in two different houses. In one house the hardwood floor which was laid on sleepers was getting wet. I was able to go across about 25 feet of hardwood floor and then about 10 feet of tile floor (testing the grout lines) to get to the source of the leak. In the other house I was able to locate an under slab leak which was showing up as moisture in both drywall in a closet as well as moisture in the grout lines of a tiled bathroom which included testing both wainscoating as well as the floor. In both cases I was able to locate the source of the leak to an area of about 1 foot which was all I needed. For this usage, accuracy is not as important as relative accuracy between measurements. In other words, whether the moisture is actually 5 or 7% is not an issue. The ability to be able to track a change of moisture from 5% to 8% to 12% to 15% etc is what is important. This meter excels at that and for the price can't be beat.

If I were buying a meter to build and finish fine furniture I would pick a better meter but for what this meter does it should be in every do-it-yourself homeowner's tool collection.


iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada

said by robbin:

Personally I don't think the price makes any difference for this application.

No, price does matter and you are dead wrong. Look at the datasheet for this product and compare it with a high end meter. I am not going to do this for you. If you believe a $30 product is as good as a $450 product then good for you.

ah, also - your meter has pins, most high end meters are pin less. Tell me how do you check for moisture intrusion on ceramic tiles? Grout lines? If you come to my house and start poking into my grout lines then I will make you re-grout the area for me and yes - I will leave a bad review for you on the web as well (if you have a website).

Anyways, you always get what you paid for - and I am sticking with that.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I never said that the cheap meter was equivalent to your $450 meter. I said the $30 meter was adequate for the job at hand. If you would have read my post then you would already know I checked the moisture of the grout joints. I wouldn't be coming to your house to poke anything as I was giving the homeowner a way to do the job without hiring anyone. But if I would have come to your house you would have no reason to make me do anything because the pins are NOT destructive to the grout. I am a tilesetter and will state that emphatically as a professional.


iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada

said by robbin:

I said the $30 meter was adequate for the job at hand.

No, it is not. The OP has a problem in the bathroom. Bathroom (normally) has tiles and your pins can not penetrate through tiles. And no, using your moisture meter (with pins) on grout only does not serve the purpose.

Moisture meters with pins come with limitations which is why they are worth $30...and I am not even talking about comparing the specs yet.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I have used it for the exact purpose described and it does in fact serve the purpose.



EGeezer
zichrona livracha
Premium
join:2002-08-04
Midwest
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to robbin

I personally like tp0d See Profile's suggestion to slip a couple of pieces of paper under the caulking to see if they get damp.

Also Hall See Profile's test is a good second test. If the commode is loose or rocks, it will soon leak if it doesn't already.

Before you pull the commode, follow kherr See Profile's advice and have on hand the replacement supplies he listed in his post. quality parts and stainless mess over plastic feeds aren't that expensive relative to the time and trouble you spend installing the stuff.
--
Buckle Up. It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to iLearn

quote:
That was not my point.

The OP said that all of his bathrooms have caulking around toilets. So unless, the manufacturer recommended caulking (which I highly doubt), this is a yellow flag for problems. This means that whoever did that did not know what they were doing OR there has been a leakage problem in the past - or some other similar scenario.
Plenty of folks here use caulking around the toilet - I don't but many do. Though those that do leave part of the toilet not caulked (usually the back part). There seems to be no consensus among professionals either on the need or no need for caulking.

I never said the point of your entire post was a liability issue. I am just saying - there is no liability issue with the OP from their posts. Diagnosing a water issue is not rocket science and should not need a 3rd party. If they choose, they can get a 3rd party opinion and likely it will be a good diagnosis for any remotely closely professional person. That professional need not be a home inspector - not sure why they would be the one to contact - a plumber would be far more appropriate - imho.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to clevere1

robbin and iLearn: How are you helping the OP with your pissing contest about moisture meters ? Maybe your own thread about this device would be more appropriate....


iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

That professional need not be a home inspector - not sure why they would be the one to contact - a plumber would be far more appropriate - imho.

That is true.

iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to robbin

said by robbin:

I have used it for the exact purpose described and it does in fact serve the purpose.

You probably got lucky - moving on.

thanks

iLearn

join:2013-01-16
canada
reply to Hall

said by Hall:

robbin and iLearn: How are you helping the OP with your pissing contest about moisture meters ? Maybe your own thread about this device would be more appropriate....

Relax. We are just discussing - whats wrong with that?

Its a web forum, people talk, discuss, sometime go off topic. Its not the end of the world. Its not that all of a sudden I started talking about Geo politics or something.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

said by iLearn:

said by Hall:

robbin and iLearn: How are you helping the OP with your pissing contest about moisture meters ? Maybe your own thread about this device would be more appropriate....

Relax. We are just discussing - whats wrong with that?

Its a web forum, people talk, discuss, sometime go off topic. Its not the end of the world. Its not that all of a sudden I started talking about Geo politics or something.

I guess you're charmed. I get zapped by the mods when I do it. I agree with Hall. That pissing match has nothing to do with the OP original post.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

The original post asked how to see if the OP had a leaking toilet. The pin type moisture meter I linked would give a definitive answer although it may be necessary to probe the bottom of the subfloor from under the house.