My Wax Ring Story

About 4 years ago I bought a rental property in Brodhead.  As I liked to do at the time, I spent January and February most years fixing up a home, then leasing it out in the spring or early summer.  This particular rehab was going to be easy though.  So I thought…

This home was a small 750 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1 bath slab-on-grade home.  No basement, small kitchen and bathroom, decent sized living room and a laundry/utility room.  It needed a lot of cleaning, one couldn’t walk in there without their eyes watering.  I believe the scent of the day was cat urine.  Anyway, not to get off track.  It sat on a corner lot and had an over-sized 2.5 car garage.  Which was one of the reasons I wanted it.

On almost all of my rentals I re-paint all interior walls, replace all of the flooring and (most of the time) refurbish the bathrooms.  This one was a little different in the fact that the floor was furred up one inch over the concrete slab, followed by the sub-flooring, then finished floor.  I had to replace many sections of sub-floor so I insulated in between the furring strips.  When I got to the bathroom and laundry rooms I realized that is where they ran the water supply piping.  Which made sense but wasn’t the best solution.

As I tore apart the bathroom the floor was soaked beneath the sub-flooring, Now I’m thinking, great, more sh…  stuff to fix.  That’s when the wax ring leak revealed itself.  As I moved along further in the demo, the more damage I found.  In the common wall with the kitchen the studs were completely rotted off at the floor, there was no wood left for about 8 inches.  They were basically just hanging from the ceiling.  So this little $3 part actually caused about $3000 worth of damage.  It would have been much more expensive but I work pretty cheap.

So, if your toilet rocks, or you can make it twist when you apply pressure with your leg, it is best to just replace the wax seal.  Constant moisture damage over time can damage much more than just your vinyl floor and sub-flooring. Plus the part is only 3 bucks!

I call that house my half-price house.  It was on the market for a long time and was the ugliest thing in that neighborhood.  After I fixed it up it made a nice home for a single person or a young family.  Plus there is ample garage space!

I hope this post was informative. As always, if you have any home related questions, please send them to me via the email address below.  I will always help as much as I can.



Aaron M. Zuehlke is the owner and inspector at Zuehlke Inspection Service, LLC, a full-service home inspection company serving Southern Wisconsin. Specializing in Home inspection, Radon Testing, Mold Testing/inspection and Residential Thermal Imaging.  He also manages several rental properties through Zuehlke Properties, LLC. He can be reached by email at or by calling the office at 608-931-7485.

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