When it’s time to install a new toilet or replace an old toilet seal, one of the most important decisions is choosing between a Sani Seal toilet gasket or a traditional wax toilet seal ring. Both options create a tight seal between the toilet and the floor flange to prevent leaks, but they have some key differences.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the pros and cons of Sani Seal vs. wax rings so you can make an informed decision on the best toilet seal for your needs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Feature||Sani Seal Rubber Gasket||Wax Ring|
|Durability||20-30 years or longer||5 years average lifespan|
|Sealing Ability||Superior watertight seal||Prone to cracks and leaks|
|Toilet Stability||Stabilizes toilet base||No stabilization|
|Height Range||1/4″ – 1-1/4″ flange height||Standard flange height only|
|Chemical Resistance||Excellent – unaffected by cleaners||Wax can be damaged over time|
|Reusability||Can be reused if toilet is replaced||Wax must be scraped away and replaced|
|Eco-Friendliness||Reusable rubber||Disposable wax|
|Skill Level||Easy to install||Easy to install|
What Is A Toilet Seal And Why Is It Important?
The toilet seal is a critical component that creates a watertight connection between the toilet base and the drain pipe flange on the floor.
This seal prevents water from leaking as the toilet is flushed. Leaks from a faulty toilet seal can cause significant water damage over time.
There are two main types of toilet seals – wax rings and rubber gaskets.
The most common is the wax ring, which has been used for decades. Modern rubber gasket seals like Sani Seal are a newer alternative that offer some advantages over wax.
When installing a new toilet or replacing an old, cracked seal, choosing the right seal type and proper installation is key to preventing leaks and avoiding the need for costly repairs down the road.
Wax Ring Toilet Seals
Wax ring seals have been the go-to choice for toilet installations for many years. A wax ring is a simple circular wax seal that sits between the horn of the toilet base and the floor flange.
How wax rings work:
- The wax ring is compressed and conforms to create a tight seal as the toilet is bolted down. The wax fills any small gaps or voids.
- The wax is pliable, so it can adapt as the toilet settles. The seal remains intact.
- When wax gets old, it can simply be removed and replaced with a new ring.
Key benefits of wax ring toilet seals:
- Proven technology – Wax rings have been used for toilet installations for decades. The sealing technology is tried and tested.
- Low cost – Wax rings are widely available and very affordable, often $5 or less per seal.
- Easy to install – Wax rings are simple to install for DIYers or plumbers. Just set the wax ring on the flange and compress while setting the toilet.
- Familiar to plumbers – Most plumbers are very experienced installing wax ring seals.
- Adaptable seal – The pliable wax conforms and adapts as the toilet settles over time.
- Easy replacement – Old wax can be scraped away and replaced with a new ring if the seal becomes compromised.
Sani Seal Toilet Gaskets
Sani Seal is a newer type of toilet seal that uses a rubber gasket design rather than wax. These flexible rubber gaskets create a tight compression seal between the toilet and floor flange.
How Sani Seal gaskets work:
- The bolts compress the thick rubber gasket between the toilet horn and flange for a water tight seal.
- The rubber maintains a tight seal even as the toilet shifts or settles slightly over time.
- The gasket is flexible to adapt to any toilet model and flange height.
Key benefits of Sani Seal toilet gaskets:
- Superior seal – The thick rubber creates a reliable, watertight seal that won’t dry out or crack over time.
- Ease of installation – Sani Seal gaskets slide easily around the toilet bolts onto the flange. No sealing needed.
- Toilet stability – The rubber seal helps stabilize the toilet and prevent rocking or shifting.
- Adjustable height – Sani Seal gaskets work with flange heights from 1/4″ to 1-1/4″ for a custom fit.
- Chemical resistant – The rubber material resists damage from chemical cleaners.
- Reusable – The gasket seal can be removed and reused if the toilet is replaced.
Key Differences Between Wax Ring And Sani Seal Gasket
Now that we’ve reviewed how wax rings and Sani Seal gaskets work, let’s compare some of the key differences between the two toilet seal options:
- Wax rings work adequately for sealing most toilets. However, the wax can crack or dry out over time, causing leaks.
- Sani Seal’s thick rubber gasket forms a more reliable, watertight seal that is less prone to leaking.
- Wax rings are less durable. The wax seal may need to be replaced every few years.
- Sani Seal gaskets are extremely durable. The rubber lasts for decades without leaks.
- Wax does not help stabilize the toilet, which can lead to rocking and shifting over time.
- The Sani Seal gasket seals and stabilizes the toilet base to prevent movement.
- Wax rings only work with standard flange heights.
- Sani Seal gaskets can accommodate flange heights ranging from 1/4″ to 1-1/4″.
- Wax can be damaged by aggressive cleaning chemicals over time.
- Sani Seal’s rubber material is unaffected by chemical cleaners.
- Old wax rings must be scraped away and replaced with new wax.
- Sani Seal gaskets can be removed and reused if the toilet is replaced.
- Wax rings are disposable and create more waste.
- Sani Seal is reusable and more eco-friendly.
Which Is Better?
Based on the key differences, Sani Seal rubber gasket seals have some clear advantages over traditional wax rings in terms of sealing capability, durability, adjustability, and eco-friendliness.
However, wax rings have the benefit of being a proven technology that many plumbers are accustomed to using.
They are also widely available and very inexpensive.
Here are some guidelines on when to choose Sani Seal vs. wax rings:
Sani Seal Recommended For:
- New toilet installations – creates a superior seal from the start.
- Any instances where leaks could cause lots of damage – provides reliable sealing.
- Adjustable flange height – works with 1/4″ to 1-1/4″ heights.
- Toilets that rock or shift – stabilizes toilet base.
Wax Ring Recommended For:
- Replacing an existing wax ring seal – uses existing proven sealing method.
- Budget installations – wax is inexpensive.
- Standard flange heights – wax rings work for common heights.
- Temporary installations – wax is easy to replace.
So in summary, Sani Seal toilet gaskets are generally the preferred choice for their durability and reliability. But wax rings still work fine for basic installations or replacements if you’re on a tight budget.
Installing Toilet Seals Correctly
Whichever toilet seal you choose, it’s critical that you install it correctly to avoid potential leaks:
- Clean the flange thoroughly and ensure it is level and stable.
- Apply weight evenly when setting the toilet to get a good uniform compression of the seal. Don’t shift the toilet after setting.
- Alternate tightening toilet bolts to compress the seal evenly on all sides.
- Avoid over-tightening bolts or cracking the porcelain.
- For Sani Seal, make sure the rubber gasket faces upwards and slides easily into place around bolts.
- Use new toilet bolts and washers to maximize sealing.
- Seal the base of the toilet to the floor with silicone caulk for added leak protection.
FAQ on Toilet Seals
Overall, rubber seals like Sani Seal are superior to wax rings. The rubber material is more durable, provides a reliable watertight seal, and can be reused. Wax works fine for basic installations but is more prone to leaking over time.
For a new toilet installation, a rubber gasket seal like Sani Seal is highly recommended. It creates a superior seal and stabilizes the toilet base. Sani Seal works for any flange height and lasts for decades without leaks.
Wax rings have been traditionally used for toilets, but modern rubber gaskets like Sani Seal are better in most cases. Wax is generally only preferable if you need an inexpensive temporary fix or are replacing an existing wax seal.
A wax ring toilet seal typically lasts around 5 years before drying out and potentially failing. Wax may need to be replaced more frequently with heavy use. A rubber gasket like Sani Seal can last 20-30 years or longer without leaking.
Replacing your toilet seal with either a wax ring or Sani Seal gasket will prevent leaks and damage. But Sani Seal’s rubber material offers a longer-lasting, more reliable seal compared to wax.
It adjusts to any flange height, secures the toilet base, and can be reused.
While wax rings are effective for basic toilet installations, Sani Seal gaskets are worth the extra cost for critical bathrooms where leaks could be disastrous. With either toilet seal, proper installation is key.
Follow best practices and inspect your toilet seal annually. Replace wax every few years or switch to a Sani Seal for superior, long-term leakage protection.