Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Does the ceiling look weird to you?

Yeah, not a fun realization..... But that's what happened last week when we hung a picture in the entryway to the basement. I looked up and the ceiling looked like it was wet and sort of bubbly. So naturally, Greg grabbed a step ladder and reached to touch it, and went right through the ceiling.

Since it's directly below the toilet of the half-bath, we knew immediately that we had a problem. So after a moment of freaking out, we called our resident plumbing expert {Greg's dad}. He suggested that we cut into the ceiling and just look and see whats leaking.

Greg's dad said it would likely be one of two things- 1) the trap is leaking {not good, we would need a plumber} or 2) the toilet seal was leaking {we can fix}. So of course we were hoping for option 2.
It was still really hard to decide what was leaking, so after some Google searching, we decided to put some green dye in the toilet to see if the leak was coming from there.

Other than an interesting picture, it didn't really help us. But we did eventually decide that the leak was coming from the toilet seal, which meant a simple wax seal replacement, yay! Or so we thought....

Nope, still leaking. After a bunch of trial and error, we figured out that the previous owners had cut off the old flange when installing tile. Then they put down a cast iron flange extender and a plastic flange extender and a bunch of silicone, with 2 wax seals on top of that. So I guess that was their solution for the leaking toilet, and it lasted about 3 years or so.

The left picture is showing what we originally thought was a flange connected to the waste pipe, but then we removed it and found it was just a flange extender and there was another cast iron flange extender attached to the subfloor. In the right picture, you can see essentially two pipes inside each other: the inner pipe is the waste pipe, and the other pipe is what I assume was the original flange that was sawed off, likely when they added/replaced tile in this bathroom.
Note: It's good to stuff a towel in the waste pipe to prevent sewer gas from entering your house. Oh, also, sorry for the gross pictures, plumbing isn't pretty....

So we decided to fix the issue instead of continuing this ridiculous solution. So we bought a 3" diameter Push Tite flange, which easily pushes right down into the waste pipe. Then to raise the height of the flange, we added two 1/4" flange extenders (only because Home Depot didn't have any 1/2" extenders in stock), adding silicone between each extension. We let that dry for 24 hours per the silicone instructions, put the wax seal on, then the toilet and voila! No more leaking toilet!

Now onto patching that hole in the basement ceiling....

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