Hi Everyone,

I live in a two story house on a slab. Recently, I had a problem in my downstairs bathroom. The smell of sewer gases was coming in the bathroom even though the P-Trap in the sink and the trap in the toilet were full of water. After calling the city to check my sewer line for a back up or clog (which was clear at the curb side clean out) I called a plumber. The plumber removed the downstairs toilet and ran a camera through the drain to the curb side clean out. The drain was clear and flowing and the plumber told me that there was no problem. He said the smell must have been coming from a dead animal in the wall. $ 285.00 later, the plumber is gone and I still have a toilet to re-install.

I looked real close at the wax rings on the bottom of the toilet and the closet flange. The first thing that I noticed is there is no wax on the closet flange (not even in the toilet bolt slots) and the bottom of the lower wax (there are 2 wax rings stacked together) is perfectly smooth, like it came out of the box. The only place I saw signs of contact on the wax rings is on their sides, which are kind of oval shaped with jagged edges.

The next thing I noticed is that the top of the closet flange is about 1” below floor level. There is about ¾” of cement like leveling compound poured above the flange and then the vinyl flooring. When looking down into the floor opening, the opening is not round, it’s jagged and oval shaped. I can’t see the edges of closet flange. It looks to me like the closet flange was installed when the slab was poured. Then, 3/4” of leveling compound was poured and then the vinyl flooring was installed. Only enough leveling compound and flooring was removed to uncover the toilet bolt slots and the drain.

I went to a home improvement center and talked with the guys in plumbing. They recommended either using 2 wax rings or using closet flange spacers. I asked them how to install the closet flange spacers and they recommended that I use a Silicone Adhesive/Caulk to “glue” the spacers to the closet flange and each other. Since I have a gap of about 1”, I need to use 4 spacers.

There are a couple of problems with the spacer idea. The first problem is that there are 8 tapered bolt holes in each spacer. It would seem that bolts would work better than Silicone since they would securely fasten all of the spacers to the closet flange and they would also keep the stack of spacers aligned and keep them from shifting around. The problem is, other than the toilet bolt slots, there are no holes in the closet flange. The second problem is that the floor opening is not round and it is smaller in diameter than the closet flange spacers. The hole would have to be opened up to match the diameter of the spacers.

So, the question is, how do I fix the problem? Do I use 2 wax rings or do I use the closet flange spacers? Either way, I figure I have to fix the size and shape of the floor opening. If I go the closet flange spacer route, how should I properly install them in my situation?