What Are Toilet Wax Rings Made Of?

Toilet systems consist of a maze of pipes bringing water to the toilet and flushing it into the sewer system. An important part of the system is the wax ring covering the toilet and floor. Wax rings prevent leaks when the water goes through the flushing and refilling process.

Wax rings are composed of petrolatum and various other ingredients, which vary according to the manufacturer. Petrolatum is shipped to the factory then stored as a liquid at 170° F until needed. Then, they mix the petrolatum with additional chemicals so that it solidifies at room temperature. The mixture is poured into aluminum molds that contain a coating of a soap compound.

What are toilet wax rings made of

The rings themselves come in three- or four-inch sizes for the toilet. The brand Hercules makes a durable version with an increase in wax but is available in the same standard sizes.

Water cools down the aluminum molds until the wax reaches a solid and sticky state. Then they are turned upside-down, so the rings fall onto a belt. From there, they go to a packaging area for shipping.

Wax rings need replacing if there is any leaking around the toilet base, there is a sewer gas smell, or the toilet ring is deteriorating. Putting in a new one is effortless but can be messy and take time.

To replace a wax ring, homeowners must lift the toilet from the floor (sometimes requiring two people). They must move it far enough away so that they can access the sewer drain.

Applying a new one requires a gentle touch as they are easy to crack or put in the wrong place.

What Kind of Wax is in a Toilet Wax Ring?

Wax rings are composed of vegetable and petrolatum waxes. Polyurethane additives are added to it as well. Felt wax rings are now commonly used for urinals and wall-mounted toilets. These are preferable because they prevent shifting while installing it and afterward.

Can you Melt a Toilet Wax Ring?

Yes, you can melt them. Therefore, experts urge homeowners with radiant heating to refrain from using wax rings on the floor. The radiant flooring can melt the toilet wax causing leaks and a bigger problem if not caught in time.

For this reason, it is recommended to install a wax-free ring in any bathroom with radiant heating for an effective toilet seal.

Are Waxless Toilet Rings Good?

Wax-free toilet rings are a mess-free option. They attach to the toilet by using a strong adhesive compound. People like it because it prevents trying to fit the ring in its proper place. It is also a less complex method of sealing the base of the toilet against leaks.

When deciding which type of wax ring or wax gasket to use, consider the flooring. Using a wax ring on a heated floor may not be the best idea because the wax may melt when heated.

Homeowners doing the job themselves should consider wax-free rings. Wax-free is less messy and has an easier clean-up. There is less chance of making an error as well as the material is more forgiving.

What is a Wax Ring Used For?

A wax toilet seal ring seals the bottom of the toilet to the floor to prevent water from leaking out from the toilet bowl. It also adheres the toilet to the floor so it doesn’t move when in use and prevents odor from the sewer gas.

The benefit of a wax ring is that it forms a tight seal and prevents mold and bacteria from accumulating. The toilet is sealed for years after installation.

How Do You Soften a Toilet Wax Ring?

If you are trying to remove one, wear waterproof cleaning gloves. Scrape the old wax seal off the base of the toilet by using a putty knife.

If the problem is that you are trying to swish the toilet into place and the wax is too hard, you may have to microwave it for a bit to soften it up or use a hairdryer. Ensure that it is softened but not liquified. Otherwise, you may have a sticky mess and a delayed project waiting for it to harden again.

Plumber replacing toilet wax ring

How Long Does a Toilet Wax Ring Last?

Toilet wax rings require no maintenance and last for 30 plus years. However, there are cases where wax rings can crumble, prematurely fail, and dry out.

Toilet ring waxes fail when the toilet becomes loose. If it is not firmly mounted or becomes loose, the wax ring may lose its seal and require replacing.

Homeowners will know when to replace the seal when the following occurs:

  1. There is water around the toilet base
  2. Rotten egg smell or stench coming from the toilet (sewer gas)
  3. Floor or ceiling damage
  4. Toilet leaks that are non-wax related

Toilet wax rings use petrolatum and other manufacturer’s ingredients. While it looks like a honeycomb, the principle is the same, but the ingredients are synthetic.

Generally, they last the lifetime of the toilet. However, if there is any leakage from the base or foul smells, it may require replacing. While this job method is easy, it is time-consuming. Homeowners should be comfortable doing the installation as there can be a high probability of having to move the ring around a lot to get a good fit.

Wax-free toilet rings come in handy as they are handy and forgiving. There is little mess to contend with, and they are easier to work with.

If you have radiant floor heating, using a wax-free ring is advisable since the heat may melt the wax. Wax rings cannot withstand the heat over the long term and will need replacing often.

It can leave a mess behind and cause other damages as well.

If you are unsure as to what type of wax ring to use, consult an expert, and they will be able to advise you as to which system to implement for your bathroom.

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