What could be causing marble tile to turn gray around toilet?

marcoloSeptember 25, 2012

I'll upload pics later due to unrelated craziness in the house.

Here's the story.

Two years ago we gut reno'd our upstairs bath. The tile is a Calacatta harlequin. About a week ago, I got out of the shower, looked down and noticed that all of the tile around the toilet had turned gray--the way marble looks when it's wet. I had seen this happen maybe once before, but the grayness seemed to subside. It is clearly not the result of anybody making a mess, and the center of the circle is definitely the drain stack. The gray area extends about a foot in every direction from there.

A plumber stopped by and suggested before he pulls and re-seats the toilet, we check to see if it's condensation. The temps did suddenly drop around here last week and the water coming in is noticeably colder. We creatively taped plastic wrap around some parts of the toilet and floor to check for condensation, but didn't really seem to find any.


-- The toilet is still very firmly seated.

-- No ceiling stains in the room below.

-- No water of any kind visible

-- The tile stays gray--normally, this marble whitens again if it gets wet and dries out

-- We now almost never use this toilet until it's fixed, yet as I said, the marble stays gray

The soonest the plumber can come back is Thursday or Friday, and I've decided to play it safe and just have him pull the toilet and put in a new wax ring.

Of course it's very easy to spill a little water when moving the toilet, so we may not be able to tell what's going for sure.

If it's not a broken wax ring (in a two year old toilet!) what could it be?

And why is the marble remaining gray? It's a very even gray, nothing suggesting a nasty stain.

Do you think a poultice will improve the look?

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Sounds to me like there is some marginal leakage around the wax ring.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:39AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Moisture is the culprit. The source, well, that's why you're pulling the toilet.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Well, it turns out the the contractor who renovated the bathroom put the flange at the subfloor level, rather than the tile level. So the original wax ring was not getting compressed. There was minor leakage around part of the ring.

The new plumber installed a spacer, a new wax ring and re-seated the toilet.

Issue is, the gray tile isn't going anywhere. I obviously cannot lift the toilet up on a daily basis to check for leaks. Am I wrong to expect the tile to whiten up again? It has a sealer on it, so I imagine that impedes evaporation a bit.

I don't mind making a poultice to take up any stain--I know how to do that and it usually works. My concern is whether the continuing gray patch means a continuing leak, or if it's just a leftover from the original leak.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:54AM
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It takes a LONG time or water to completely dry out of your tile, grout, substrate and floor - could be months. Additionally, the minor leakage wasn't clean water, so you may have some permanent staining.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Did moisture soak into the subfloor? Is there moisture trapped below the tile that is keeping the tile moist? You could try putting fans and heaters around the toilet to try to dry things out. When I had some water damage, the cleanup company needed things to dry out, so we cranked the heat, put portable heaters in the room and several fans and left it heating/drying for almost a week.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:22PM
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How about sticking a dehumidifier in the room, close the door. Maybe that will help.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:06PM
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