You may think water on the floor around the base of your toilet is not a big issue, even though the truth is – it can turn your bathroom in an indoor swimming pool in seconds!
This type of leak is not naive, but how to fix a leaky toilet base?
In this article, we will guide you through identifying the cause of the leak and then suggest solutions for different causes.
Sometimes the cause of the toilet tee bolts, other times it is the wax ring.
Seeing water around the base of the toilet is indeed not a good sign.
We suppose you want a reliable toilet, and if so – here is how do you fix a leak at toilet base and prevent more severe water damage in your bathroom.
Detecting the Problem
Toilets usually last for about 40 years and don’t require special care.
It would probably seem impossible at first glance for your toilet to start leaking, but sometimes we should prepare for the unexpected.
Occasionally, you will notice small leaks from under the toilet and on the floor.
Even though you can ignore this for some time, it is better to act on time, as fixing a leaky toilet base is an easy fix in general.
A Quick Tip
Don’t flush water from your toilet during the inspection, or right before it.
You want to reduce the chance of leaking to the minimum now.
Larger amounts of leaking water from your toilet will only cause unpleasant odors in your bathroom.
Further, standing water damages subflooring and flooring.
What is even worse, if your affected bathroom is on the second floor, the water will probably leak through the first-floor ceiling as well.
So, water is pooling around the base of the toilet.
The most common cause of a leaky toilet base is the wax seal that has failed.
However, the problem lies elsewhere in some cases.
The best way to do a quick check is to soak up any water around the base with a sponge, and then dry the area with a towel.
And, now – wait for a couple of minutes. You will notice a new puddle appearing on the floor, and that is when you will find out where the leak is coming from.
There are a couple of possible scenarios here:
.The water seeping out from under the toilet,
• The water coming from a loose supply tube,
• Cracked tank (water pressure will flush the water from the bowl and form a pool around the base),
• Sweaty bowl,
• Faulty shutoff valve.
When the water is seeping out from under the toilet, chances are great that you will fix this issue by tightening the tee bolts.
Their function is to secure the toilet to the floor.
You will need a putty knife or a slotted screwdriver to take off the caps from the bolts.
Next, you will need an open-end or box-end wrench to tighten the bolts, but make sure not to overdo them.
What is more, applying too much pressure can cause cracking of the toilet’s base, which is definitely cost you want to avoid.
With a little bit of luck, the leak will stop.
However, the bad news are – if there is a leak even after you tighten the bolts, you will have to replace the wax gasket, which requires removing the toilet.
On the other hands, the good news is that we will guide you through every step of the way, and teach you how do you fix a leaky toilet base.
Don’t put away that wrench you used just before, as you will need it to disconnect the water supply from the shutoff valve with it. Note that the valve needs to be closed all the way.
Another thing you may detect now is that your toilet is not positioned right on the floor.
The un-level toilet will expose the tee bolts to undue pressure, which will break the seal after a while. In case you notice the bolts are either frozen or spinning freely, you will need to replace them.
In the end, if you figured out there is no severe leaking, and your toilet is in the proper position, the only thing left to blame is condensation.
Heavy condensation tends to drip and create an impression of leaking around the base of your toilet. However, you can combat the moist easily.
- By insulating the tank, you will reduce the risk of condensation. This ensures the water in your tank is always warm.
- Install a drip/a tray. This is an affordable and simple, yet not a permanent solution. However, it will buy you some time before you fix it for real.
- A faulty flapper will lower the temperature of the in-tank water, which further induces condensation. A flapper needs to create a proper seal.
- Sometimes you will need to change some of your habits. We know you love long showers, but you certainly noticed more condensation after taking a warm and long one. Leave fans on and keep bathroom doors open if you are dealing with excessive condensation.
How to Fix a Leaky Toilet Base and Replace a Damaged Wax Ring?
Just as we mentioned above, if you tightened the tee bolts and there is no improvement with the leak, that is the sign of a damaged wax ring.
We will be honest with you – this is not a tough task, but it takes patience and calmness, as you will have to remove the toilet from the floor.
In this section, we will guide you through every step of the way, but, in case you are unsure about performing this repair, it would be better to call a professional.
Here is how you do it:
- Of course, as you are replacing your wax ring, that means you will need a new one. Purchase a new wax ring, but make sure to get the right variety. In case you are not sure which replacement you need, ask a hardware store employee for a piece of advice.
- Shut off the water to your toilet, as you are about to remove it now. There would be some water in the tank and the bowl, so flush the toilet to drain it.
- Now, look for the largest nut closest to the tank bottom. This nut holds the fill valve in place, and you need to unscrew it. It would be great to have a bucket by your side, as otherwise, the water from the tank will threaten to make a flood in your bathroom.
- As you want to make sure everything is dry and clean, use a plunger to dry out the remaining water from the toilet basin.
- Now you want to find the nut that holds the water supply line in place. As the nut is attached to the line itself in most of the cases, you will find it below the toilet tank. The second you lose the nut properly, the water supply will slide out easily.
- Use a box-end or open-end wrench to loosen the tee bolts (just as we mentioned in the previous section). If you are having a hard time turning the bolts, or if they are spinning in place, that means they are corroded. In this case, use a hacksaw to cut them. Rusty or corroded tee bolts have no use, and you will need a new set.
- So, you removed the toilet, and it is time for lifting. Lift it carefully and set it on the side. If necessary, rock it a bit in order to break the seal.
Lifting the toilet by yourself is not a smart idea, and it would be great to have someone help you with this, as you don’t want to get hurt or drop down the toilet.
- You will get access to the old wax ring now, which you want to scrape away. There may be some stuck-on wax. In case you have never removed the old wax ringer before, chances are great you will find a grimy residue down there. Just in case – prepare some trash bags and gloves for removing it.
Here you will also need to clear out the metal ring that sits over the drain.
- Take your new wax ring and place it over the flange. Now, slide the bolts into the keys on the side of the flange.
- Lift the toilet again, but make sure to keep balance, and align the holes on the side with the bolt while setting it down.
- As the reason for the leakage was a loosen seal, you want to create a watertight one now. Press the toilet into the wax with your body weight.
- Tighten the tee bolts, but make sure not to overdo them. Overtightening tee bolts will cause toilet porcelain to crack.
- Reconnect the water line and turn back on the water supply valve before testing the toilet.
- Wait until the tank is full, and flush the toilet only then.
Was this helpful? We tried to explain the most common causes and potential solutions to a leaky toilet base so that you can perform this task without calling a plumber.
The great thing is that this fix won’t cost you much money and it won’t take much of your time.
So, if you were wondering how do you fix a leaky toilet base yourself, we truly hope you got your answer and that you won’t notice any leaks from your toilet in the future.