LESLIE: Jeff in Iowa has got a question about the bath. What’s going on?
JEFF: Yeah, I have some tile that is cracking; like right around the toilet. And the grout around the tile is like flaking and there’s caulk around the bathtub to keep it from expanding (inaudible at 0:04:09.6). So I don’t know how it could be cracking.
TOM: Well, underneath the toilet there is a wax seal and that makes the seal between the toilet and the drain. And if the wax seal is starting to break down, which happens from moving and shifting of the toilet over the years, you could be leaking some water out there and if you leak the water out, the floor is going to start to decay and it’s going to get softer and that could cause shifting and the tile to crack. So the first thing I would do is I would very carefully place my foot against the side bowl of the toilet and press very gingerly around there to see if there’s any sponginess in the floor.
JEFF: Yeah, there definitely is.
TOM: Ah, OK. Well now you have a bigger problem because now what you’re going to have to do is pull that toilet up and you’re going to have to pull the tile out and you’re probably going to have some floor decay in there; and that’s, unfortunately, fairly common.
TOM: You’re going to have to repair the floor, put the tile back, replace the wax seal and set it back in place. It sounds like that’s a pretty common wear-and-tear pattern that you’re experiencing there, Jeff, around the toilet and if you don’t fix it, it’s going to get worse a lot quicker.
JEFF: Well, that would explain, probably, why there’s water leaking through the ceiling downstairs then.
TOM: Now that’s a clue. You see that? (all laugh)
Jeff, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JEFF: (overlapping voices) OK. Thank you.