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Toilet Lifts from Floor After Heavy Rains

Here's a stumper:

After a period of heavy rains, our toilet actually lifts off the floor. I contacted a local plumbing outfit, and the fellow there assured me that in his many years of experience, he'd never heard of such a thing.

We are in Dallas, TX. Our house is a pier and beam type, built in 1950. It has concrete perimeter grade beams set on piers, and isolated piers supporting wooden beams in the interior. Our soil profile is about 4.5' of black clay (Austin Houston Black), 1' of calcareous clay, then weathered tan limestone for the appreciable remainder.

My theory was that the expansive clay was lifting the soil pipe, and the toilet with it. The total rise approaches 3/8". However, I haven't heard of any neighbors with this problem. It only happens after VERY heavy rains, and it is particularly bad if those rains follow a long dry spell.

Any other hypotheses?

Re: Toilet Lifts from Floor After Heavy Rains

That is a stumper. Never heard of this before. How is the toilet anchored to the floor? Aslo does the toilet rock when it isnt raised? It sounds to me like it just needs to be anchored to the floor a little better and that should solve your problem

Re: Toilet Lifts from Floor After Heavy Rains

My thought is it's exactly as you say. And as MSSP suggests, it's anchored to the flange but not to the floor.

If you remove the toilet, you should be able to fasten the flange on the pipe down to the floor. You'll need to replace the wax ring when you replace the toilet, so be prepared for that.

Hydraulic pressure in soil can be amazingly strong. I wouldn't be surprised if, after you fasten it down, it lifts up again and strips out the screws or bolts you put in to hold it down. If that happens, I'd suggest digging up the drain pipe and bedding it in sand (make sure you dig under the pipe, too!) so that it has some wiggle room when it rains.

Re: Toilet Lifts from Floor After Heavy Rains

Another thought: is the toilet rising, or is the house sinking?

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