Toilet Leaking from Base!

Toilet leaks are very common. Wherever you have plumbing, leaks might happen. Still, having a toilet leaking from base isn’t a pleasant sight. No one loves walking into the bathroom just to end with wet socks – especially if you’re awaiting guests.

Fortunately, a toilet leaking from base is usually an easy fix. You won’t necessarily have to call a plumber. Instead, with just a few steps, you’ll be able to complete this task on your own. This might save you lots of money, and even the time required to wait for a plumber to arrive!

Whether you have your old or new toilet leaking from the base, below are a few DIY steps you can do to fix this:

Causes of Toilet Leaking from Base

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Before you can fix this problem, it’s important to know how to tell if your toilet is leaking at the base and why is this happening.

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to tell that you have a toilet leaking from base. That puddle of water is hard to miss.

The first thing you need to do is to walk around the toilet to make sure you don’t have a leaky pipe or a leak under the bathroom floor. These might indicate that there’s something else wrong with your piping and your toilet.

You should also check the tank lid. It isn’t rare that the water is leaking from the lid all the way to the toilet base. This can cause a puddle next to the toilet base, making it appear as if it is the cause of the issue.

If you’re certain that the base of the toilet is where the water is coming from, it’s time to determine what’s causing this leak. A few possible reasons are:

  • Loose tee bolts.
  • Worn-out wax ring.
  • Loose water supply line.
  • Condensation.

Here’s how you can tell which one is it:

Loose Tee Bolts

Tee bolts (or T bolts) are the bolts that hold the toilet base attached to the floor. They are usually located under a plastic covering, and there should be at least six of them – although some toilets have four or eight tee bolts.

Take a careful look at them. As time passes, tee bolts can become loose. This might make a toilet rocky or simply cause leaks from the base.

Take a putty knife or a screwdriver to remove the coverings that are keeping the tee bolts hidden. Inspect the bolts and see if they are tightened enough.

Tee bolts should make the toilet base stand firmly, but they shouldn’t be too tight. Otherwise, they might lead to cracks. The cracks and loose tee bolts alike can cause the toilet leaking from base. This is why you need to make sure they are tightened in just the right way.

The goal behind the tee bolts is to make sure your toilet stands firmly, but not to break the delicate porcelain bowl.

If you have a toilet leaking from base when flushed, chances are the tee bolts are the problem.

Worn-Out Wax Rings

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The wax ring is used to seal the toilet to the drain pipes. This is the black, rubber ring you can see at the beginning of the drain pipes.

The wax ring has its lifespan, and over time, it will tear and wear out. Once this happens, you will have to replace it. Otherwise, you’re risking great water damage.

Take a close look at the wax ring. If it appears to be worn out, you’ll need to buy a replacement part from the hardware store.

However, to fix this problem, you’ll likely have to remove your entire toilet. While we’ll speak more about this later, it’s important to know that you might have to call a professional to help you out – although you will likely be able to remove the toilet bowl on your own.

This is another common cause of having a toilet leaking from base after you’ve flushed it.

Loose Water Supply Line

The water supply line is the pipe that makes sure your toilet is always having water. This is what allows your toilet to flush, and what makes sure there is always some water in the bowl.

Sometimes, this water supply line can become loose. This usually happens if the nut and rubber seal aren’t properly tightened. If this is what happened, the misalignment of the nut and rubber will lead to water leaking from the connection.

When you have a loose water supply line, you’ll notice your toilet leaking from base not just when you flush it, but rather all the time.

Condensation

Condensation is the process during which the water vapor turns into liquid. Opposite of condensation is evaporation – but we’ll talk about evaporation some other time. [6]

Condensation is quite common in the bathroom, as this is a very humid environment. The vapor will hit the cold porcelain of the toilet bowl and tank, turning back into liquid. This liquid will then drip down from the bowl to the base, creating a puddle of water you might be seeing right now.

How To Stop Toilet from Leaking at Base

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When you want to fix the toilet leaking from base, you need to consider what’s causing the leak. Without understanding what lead to the puddle on the floor, you won’t know how to properly fix it.

Of course, as you’ve got to this point, we assume you’ve already determined what caused the leak. Based on that, you can make the next step.

Here’s what you can do:

Tightening Tee Bolts

If the tee bolts are not tight enough, this will create a passage for the water to leak from the toilet base. Fortunately, this is an easy fix and you don’t have to call a plumber.

Here are a few steps you need to follow:

  • The first step you need to take is to remove the plastic bolt caps that hide the tee bolts. You might have already done this when checking whether this is the cause. In case you didn’t – use a nail file or a screwdriver to detach the plastic. Sometimes, though, it might be enough to just squeeze it.
  • See if your toilet wiggles when you push it. If it does, then you need to tighten the tee bolt nuts. Take the pliers to grip the nuts, then turn the bolt clockwise. Don’t go overboard.
  • Do the same on the other side.
  • Try to wiggle the toilet. If it doesn’t wiggle, you’ve done a good job. If it still wiggles, tighten the nuts once again.

Sometimes, one of the tee bolts might be broken. You’ll recognize this if you’ve tightened the bolts, but the toilet still wiggles. If this is the case, you need to learn how to replace bolts on toilet base.

Your best option would be to remove the broken bolt, then go to the nearest hardware store and ask them for the same bolt type and size.

Most of the time, you’ll be able to replace the tee bolt the same way you would replace any other bolt. Use pliers to ensure you have a tight grip.

Keep in mind that it might be smart to replace all the bolts at the same time. This way, you’ll know the age of these parts, and you’ll reduce the chance of future breakages.

Once again, you mustn’t overtighten the tee bolts. This can create cracks in the porcelain. No, we’re not talking about mere hairline cracks you might see on the inside of the toilet bowl.

These cracks can be much more severe, resulting in leaks or even huge damage. If this occurs, you might have to replace the entire toilet bowl. You might be able to fix some minor cracks with epoxy for toilet tank repair, but this is only a temporary solution.

Replace the Wax Seal

If you have a worn-out wax seal, you need to replace it. This part cannot be fixed. Your only solution is to buy a replacement one at the local hardware store.

Here is how you can fix a faulty toilet wax seal:

  • The first thing you need to do is to turn the water supply off. As long as the water supply line has water, you’re risking significant water damage.
  • Flush the toilet to ensure all the water is drained. Then, unscrew the water supply line entirely. Use an old towel to soak up the water that’s left at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Next, you’ll need to remove the tee nuts. Once again, you can do this by using the pliers.
  • Wiggle the toilet bowl slightly to loosen it, then lift it straight up. You might need a helping hand for this, as the toilet bowl can be rather heavy.
  • Remove the old wax ring. You might have to scrape it off with a putty knife. Make sure all of it is removed.
  • Next, apply a new ring. Make sure it’s centered around the drain hole. You can use a silicone ring instead of the wax one. Just make sure it’s mounted on the top of the floor closet flange.
  • Now it’s time to return the toilet back to its place. You might need to get new tee bolts if the old ones are no longer fitting. Tighten everything with the pliers.
  • Finally, reattach the water supply line and turn the water on. Wait until the tank is full, then flush. If you have a toilet leaking from base after replacing wax ring, then there’s something else causing the issue.

Repair the Water Supply Line

If the water supply line is loose, then you’d need to repair it. This might be a case that requires professional help, but don’t devastate just yet. There are a few things you can do.

First off, check what’s the exact cause of the leak. In the case of the supply line, the issue can lie in:

  • The fill valve nut.
  • The supply line nut.
  • Waterline connection.
  • Shut-off valve.

The fill valve nut is what holds the supply line in place. You can tighten this nut with hands or pliers. Once again, you mustn’t overtighten things or you’re risking damage.

There is another nut on the supply line itself. It keeps it attached to the valve. This is another nut that might be loose. Just be careful – unlike the fill valve nut, this one is very fragile. You must be very gentle. If it does break, you might have to replace the entire supply line, but fortunately, this isn’t too expensive.

When it comes to the waterline connection, it comes in two types: threaded nut and plastic compression nut. A plastic connection nut is fairly easy to tighten, as all you need to do is use a wrench.

However, if you have a threaded connection, you’ll need to remove the water supply line. Before this, you’ll need to shut off the water supply. Once you tighten the nut, you’ll need to return the supply line and turn the water back on. You might need to repeat this a few times.

Finally, if the shut-off valve is the problem, you’ll need to tighten the nut located under the handle. Use the pliers to hold the valve in place, then stabilize the nut with a wrench. Tighten it until the water stops leaking, or until the nut is tight.

If none of this seems to work, you probably need to install a new washer, which will require removing the valve. You can try to do this on your own, but it might be wiser to call a professional instead.

Prevent Condensation

If condensation is the cause of the leak, you’ll need to limit or control it. There are a few things you can do to achieve this.

  • Your first step would be to install a bathroom exhaust fan if you don’t have any. If you do have an exhaust fan but it isn’t moving enough air, install one with a higher capacity. Also, make sure the fan is on whenever you’re using the bathroom.
  • Condensation builds up when there’s a change in temperatures – for example, when showering with hot water in a cold bathroom. This will lead to condensation building on cold materials, such as porcelain. To keep this from happening, make sure you’re equalizing the temperatures. Use a heater to warm up your bathroom, and use warm water instead of hot.
  • Buy a toilet tank drip tray – a waterproof plastic tray you can fit between the toilet tank and the toilet bowl. This way, the tray will collect the condensation, keeping it from creating a puddle on the floor.
  • Another item you can buy is a tank condensation liner. This is a thin foam roll that you can install on the inside of your toilet tank, and it helps regulate the water temperature – all the while reducing the noise! To install a tank condensation liner, you’ll have to turn off the water supply and lift the lid to allow the tank to dry out completely. Then, cut the adequate size of the liner and stick it to the inside of the tank before replacing the lid.

Can A Wall-Mounted Toilet Leak from the Base?

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Just because they are not fixed on the floor doesn’t mean that wall-mounted toilets cannot experience leaks and othe problems. However, as their base isn’t touching the floor, the leak might be easier to locate. You’ll probably see the water dripping from the tank or the base all the way to the tiles below.

A wall-mounted toilet can leak for the same reasons as a standard toilet. Even the best wall-mounted toilets aren’t safe from leaks. However, they are more likely to cause damage to the walls instead of the floor.

As wall-mounted toilets use modern solutions, they might be a bit more challenging to repair – although most will come with amazing warranties and customer service. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber if you aren’t certain what’s causing the leak.

Can A Leaky Toilet Cause Water Damage?

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When you see a toilet leaking from base, you might think that this isn’t a big deal. You can just wipe the water and the toilet will be clean. However, this isn’t the point. A single toilet can waste up to the 22 gallons of water. [5]

Yearly, in the U.S. households 8,000 gallons of water per year is wasted. Even the smallest leak will add to this waste.

Not just that, but these leaks can lead to significant structural damage. If you let them be, they’ll only get worse. You’re not only looking at the increased damage but at the higher repair costs, as well.

Many people don’t call the plumber on time because they don’t feel like paying a high price for a small repair. However, if you allow this damage to persist, you’ll end up with repairs that you certainly won’t be able to deal with on your own, and this can be ten times more expensive than the initial repair would be.

Toilet Leaking from Base – the Final Word

Having a toilet leaking from base isn’t a pleasant thing. Fortunately, this isn’t the worst kind of damage that can happen, and chances are you can fix this on your own.

Even though this might not be a huge issue, it’s important not to wait and to deal with it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the larger the damage and the higher the repair cost. Dealing with it on time will help with both the expenses and the damage.

Knowing how to deal with a leaky toilet can help save you not just money but the embarrassment when your guests arrive and flush the toilet, just to end up with wet socks. Not to mention how slippery a wet tile floor can be!

We hope the tips we’ve given you can help you deal with the damage and that your toilet will work as new as soon as possible.

If all else fails – don’t hesitate to call a professional to help you.

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