Replacing a toilet wax ring is a relatively easy task, but it’s one that many homeowners put off for far too long. One of the main questions that most beginners have on their minds is how long do toilet wax rings last?
The average lifespan of toilet wax rings is somewhere between 25 to 30 years, depending on various factors. It may last even longer, but sometimes it’s necessary to replace it much sooner.
One of the biggest factors determining how long your wax ring will last is how often the toilet is used and how well it’s maintained. A toilet that’s used infrequently will last much longer than one that’s used daily.
Toilets that use a lot are also more likely to develop leaks. Leaks can cause the wax ring to deteriorate and will need to be replaced much sooner.
However, there’s much more to learn when it comes to knowing how long toilet wax rings last.
Continue reading this in-depth guide if you are interested in finding out everything there is to know about toilet wax rings.
Why Do Toilet Wax Rings Fail?
As already mentioned, the longest duration for which a toilet wax ring can survive is 30 years. However, several factors can affect the wax ring’s performance and cause it to fail much sooner.
One of the most common reasons for toilet wax ring failure is improper installation. If the wax ring isn’t installed correctly, then it won’t be able to form a tight seal around the drain pipe, and this will allow water to seep through and cause the wax ring to deteriorate much faster.
Another common reason for wax ring failure is a shifting or settling foundation. This can cause the flange to become misaligned and no longer sit level with the floor. When this happens, it places extra stress on the wax ring and can cause it to leak.
Wax rings can also fail if they’re not the right size for the flange. If the wax ring is too small, then it won’t be able to form a proper seal. Conversely, if the wax ring is too large, it will be difficult to install and leak.
How Do I Know if My Wax Ring is Bad?
There are a few key signs that you need to watch out for that indicate it’s time to replace your toilet wax ring.
One of the most common signs is a slow or constant drip coming from your toilet. This is usually caused by a small hole in the wax ring that’s allowing water to seep through.
If you notice water on the floor around your toilet, then this is another sign that you need to replace the wax ring. This is usually caused by a large leak in the wax ring that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Another sign that you need to replace your toilet wax ring is if your toilet starts rocking or wobbling. This is usually caused by an improper installation or a shifting foundation, and if left unaddressed, this can cause serious damage to your toilet.
How Often Should You Replace The Wax Ring On A Toilet?
Now that you know how long toilet wax rings last and what causes them to fail, you’re probably wondering how often you should replace the wax ring on your toilet.
The general rule of thumb is to replace the wax ring every 25 to 30 years. However, if you notice any of the signs that we mentioned earlier, then it’s best to replace the wax ring as soon as possible.
Doing this will help save your time, money, and effort in the long run. Apart from that, it will also reduce the damage caused due to the leakage of water.
How to Replace a Toilet Wax Ring
If you’ve determined that it’s time to replace your toilet wax ring, then follow these simple steps to do it yourself.
- Turn off the water supply to your toilet and flush the toilet to empty the bowl.
- Remove the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor and lift the toilet off of the flange.
- Scrape away any old wax from the flange and clean it with a cloth.
- Place the new wax ring around the flange making sure it’s the correct size.
- Lower the toilet onto the wax ring and press down to form a tight seal.
- Replace the bolts and tighten them until the toilet is secure.
- Turn on the water supply and flush the toilet to test the seal.
If you notice any leaks, then you may need to adjust the bolts or replace the wax ring with a different size.
That’s it! You’ve successfully replaced your toilet wax ring.
Are Rubber Toilet Rings Better Than Wax Rings?
Now that you know how to replace a toilet wax ring, you may be wondering if there are any alternatives. One popular alternative is a rubber toilet ring.
Rubber toilet rings are made of durable rubber and are designed to form a tight seal around the drain pipe. They’re also much easier to install than wax rings and don’t require any special tools.
The main downside of rubber toilet rings is that they’re not as effective at sealing around a misaligned flange. If your flange is shifted or out of level, then it’s best to use a wax ring.
Another downside of rubber toilet rings is that they’re not as effective at sealing around a drain pipe that’s larger than 3 inches. If your drainpipe is larger than 3 inches, it’s best to use a wax ring.
Wax rings are still the preferred choice for most people because they’re more effective at forming a tight seal. However, rubber toilet rings are a viable alternative if you’re looking for something that’s easier to install.
Can Plunging a Toilet Damage the Wax Ring?
One of the most common questions that most people ask is whether or not plunging into a toilet can damage the wax ring.
The answer is yes, it’s possible for plunging a toilet to damage the wax ring. This is usually caused by the plunger slipping and hitting the wax ring.
If you do accidentally hit the wax ring with the plunger, then it’s best to replace it as soon as possible.
While it’s possible that you might damage the wax ring while plunging a toilet, it’s not likely. Most people who have damaged their wax ring by plunging probably used excessive force.
As long as you apply a modest force when plunging, you shouldn’t have to worry about damaging the wax ring.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.