In floor heat & toilets [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-20-2011, 07:33 AM
Just some advice from an old timer plumber ,,

Be careful to keep your in floor radiant heating materials a good way away from the toilet flanges .

What we are servicing ALOT in the winters is the in floor heat that is too close to toilets is actually melting /softening the wax rings under the toilets causing leaks .

Might suggest 10" - 12" away from the flange during rough in or setting of the in floor heating .

My .02

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02-20-2011, 07:35 AM
Not the first time I've heard that, but its some good info for those who don't know!

02-20-2011, 08:14 AM
Thanks for the good word Cal ! As I recall from memory the heat I use the most, Easy Heat, has a min 6" from the flange.

So, when you repair the leak, do you replace with a rubber gasket ?

02-20-2011, 08:27 AM
Or keep it 10-12 inches away and use a rubber gasket in the first place.

John Bridge
02-20-2011, 08:42 AM
I think all of the manufacturers that I'm aware of specify the wires or mat not go under the toilet at all -- or under any other fixture or cabinets. So it seems that if a guy or gal just followed directions all would be fine.

Oh, wait a minute. That would be okay for gals, but real men don't read or need directions. I forgot for a moment. ;)

02-20-2011, 11:31 AM
I'm not trying to be difficult here or challenging your skill but, How do know for sure it's the floor heat? If the toilet isn't secured tight enough and rocks, it leaks. Do you test to see if the toilet is secure first? Has anyone ever put a wax ring on top of a tiled floor heat install to see if it does melt?

Like most have said here, All floor companies already say "stay away from the flange."


02-20-2011, 02:55 PM
After I posted this comment I decided to do the experiment myself. I have floor
heat my master bath and I turned it up to it's max and put a wax ring on clear plastic right over the heating element. I will leave it for a couple of days and post the results. Until I see it, I still think that the cold water in the bowl and trap of the china bowls of the toilets would not allow the floor heat to heat up the wax ring enough to just melt it. Plumbers, correct me if I'm wrong.


02-20-2011, 03:01 PM
Hi Phil, one of the jobs I did last year had gypcrete with hydro heat in it. When the plumber came to install the toilets he used a special wax ring that was a ruberish gasket. When I asked him what it was he explained that the heat from the floor will soften the wax ring causing it to leak. I had no idea till he splained to me. And like the others said, when installing electric heat, none of the cables are suppose to be under the toilet or vanity. :)

02-20-2011, 04:34 PM
Phil and others ,,, I've seen this several times in the winters . The wax gets very soft and will not hold it's seal . Regardless if the toilet was set properly in the first place ,,, if the wax fails due to heat or rocking or broken flange ,,, it's still leaks .

I would go back with good ole putty ! In this situation a ring made of putty is going to be un affected by what ever heat is being produced .

02-20-2011, 04:38 PM
You talkin' regular ol' plumber's putty there, Cal? Like just rolling up a big rope of it and using it like a wax ring?

Gotta admit I ain't never heard that one.

02-20-2011, 04:44 PM
Oh ,, ABSOLUTELY Sir !!! Good ole putty . That's all we had for years and it always worked ( works ) well !

Square pusher
02-20-2011, 04:55 PM
Now you have me worried.
I've installed a lot of in-floor heating, (Mainly Laticrete or Nuheat) with at least 6-7 inches as per instructions.

No call backs yet though.

I'm thinking 12" is pushing it though. I wouldn't want a cold spot right in front of the toilet.

02-20-2011, 05:01 PM
Well, I guess I just don't go back far enough, Cal. I ain't never pulled a terlit had putty 'steada wax. Must need to be really old, like Dave Taylor or such, to have seen those. :rolleyes:

When you reckon we changed from putty to wax rings?

And you got any clue why that was done?

02-20-2011, 05:02 PM
Don't worry Peter ,, it was in tended for future work . I can't say how close the heat is on the ones that leak . Can't see it ,,,

Maybe so everyone doesn't FREAK OUT ,,,, we'll say 8" ,,,, ok ?

02-20-2011, 05:46 PM
Personally I don't see an issue with the wire heat if it is out in front of the toilet. One would think the tiles around the ones that are heated would stay somewhat cool. I have alot of jobs with wire heat in them. If the wax ring melted and the toilet leaked I was never called. :shrug:

02-20-2011, 06:14 PM
my understanding is it of course can happen, but the wire needs to be pretty close. some manufacturers say 6-9inches and I always shoot for the higher,

Keep in mind electric radiant has always had an issue with striping if the wires are too far apart. Generally the mesh set ones are 3" apart so they are concerened that the wires must be close enough to heat evenly. Any farther and people could discern the spottiness. So maybe it's 6" away minimum as in the last instruction I used to lose all heating effect, but 9" can't hurt and doesn't really affect the layout area areas I do want to heat.

02-20-2011, 06:17 PM
Personally I don't see an issue with the wire heat if it is out in front of the toilet.

You're in Wiscaaaansin, fer cryin' out loud, MMike. :rolleyes:

Inna middle of summer them radiant heated tiles gets up to what, maybe sixty degrees or so? :D

02-20-2011, 06:24 PM
Naw only like 50. Inna winter they only git to 32. :D

02-20-2011, 06:26 PM
I use fluidmaster wax free bowl gasket.

Square pusher
02-20-2011, 06:42 PM
Maybe so everyone doesn't FREAK OUT ,,,, we'll say 8" ,,,, ok ?

Sounds good.