Why is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Why is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Is water pooling on the bathroom floor around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem! If the toilet is leaking from the base, this water has come from the toilet bowl and is not sanitary. The dirty water may even have a sewer smell to it. If left untreated, your toilet will continue to leak a little with each flush, resulting in water damage to the flooring, subfloor, and possibly the ceiling of the floor below.

Here’s a look at why your toilet is leaking at the base and how to fix it.

Test the Leaky Toilet
This type of leak usually occurs when you flush the toilet. To make sure the “leak” isn’t merely condensation on the toilet bowl, soak up the water with paper towels and flush the toilet again. A pool may also form on the bathroom floor if you have a loose water supply line or faulty shut-off valve. Examine the hoses behind the toilet to rule out this possibility.

Tighten the Toilet Tee Bolts
If the toilet continues to leak at the base when flushed, it might not be bolted tightly to the floor. Look at the base of the toilet, and you’ll see two tee bolts, which might be covered with caps. If the wax ring under these bolts doesn’t form a water-tight seal, the toilet will leak from the base when you flush it.

To fix this problem, simply tighten the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. You may need a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to pry off the caps. Tighten the bolts a little at a time, alternating from the left bolt to the right one. Be careful not to over-tighten, or the
toilet base could crack. If the bolts just spin when you attempt to tighten them, you might need new ones.

Replace the Wax Ring
Test the repair by flushing the toilet. If water still pools around the base, this means a failing wax ring is causing the leak. Fortunately, wax rings are inexpensive and relatively straightforward to replace, though you’ll need to remove the toilet to get the job done. This job can take a few hours to complete and may require two people. If you don’t feel up to it, call a plumber for help. Otherwise, follow these DIY instructions:

  • Purchase a replacement wax ring at a home improvement store.
  • Turn off the water supply behind the toilet and flush it to empty the tank. Mop up any leftover water in the tank and bowl with an old towel.
  • Unscrew the tee bolts, remove the toilet from the floor, and lay it on its side.
  • Clean away the deteriorated wax ring from the toilet base and flange and install the new one. If the toilet tee bolts are corroded, replace them as well.
  • Reinstall the toilet in its original position. Tighten the tee bolts little by little on alternating sides until they’re secure.
  • Turn the water supply back on and flush the toilet to test for leaks.
  • Wait a few days to ensure the problem is solved. Then, install caulk around the base of the toilet to prevent mop water and spills from seeping under the toilet, which could cause mold or unpleasant odors.

Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Help Fixing a Toilet Leaking from the Base

Hopefully, your efforts to repair your leaky toilet were successful. If not, Mr. Rooter is here to help! We’ll carefully diagnose the problem and restore your toilet to its leak-free state. To schedule services from one of our courteous plumbers, please contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing today!

This blog is made available by Mr. Rooter LLC, for educational purposes only to give the reader general information and a general understanding on the specific subject above. The blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed plumbing professional in your state or region. Check with city and state laws before performing any household project.
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