This is a very interesting thread. I will be pulling my master toilet today. It is located upstairs. Two days ago I noticed a water spot on the ceiling of the downstairs bedroom. The spot is in the corner of the room right at the seam where the top of the wall meets the ceiling. We stopped using the upstairs toilet as we figured from the location that the water spot is pretty much right under the toilet. The toilet is heavily caulked so we haven't noticed any water around the base of the toilet. I'm praying that damage to the subfloor under the toilet is minimal. I built houses all through college, so I'm certainly no dummy when it comes to home repair, but plumbing is one of my weakest points. I've installed a few toilets in new houses (not the plumbing, just the toilet), but I've never had to pull an old one up. I also hope, with the floor being tiled, that the installers sat the flange on top of the tile instead of having it recessed and trying to use a typical number 3 wax ring instead of a taller ring. The current ring has lasted 13 years, though, so I suspect the setup is good. If the plastic flange is broken, can you not just replace it, or is it connected to the pipe below it? I was under the impression that the flange "sat" inside of the pipe, and that you could unscrew it, remove it and put a new one in. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I will definitely, as someone suggested, leave a bit of an opening in the caulk at the back of the toilet so that I will notice leaks sooner.
Well, I'm off to pull the toilet