Why is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Toilet leaking at the base

Is water pooling on the bathroom floor around your toilet? Don’t ignore this problem! Water from a toilet that is leaking from the base is not sanitary. The dirty water comes from the toilet bowl and may even contain trace amounts of sewage. 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 room below.

A toilet leaking at the base usually indicates a problem with the wax ring that forms a seal between the toilet base and the drain pipe under the toilet. There are a few simple steps you can take to try to stop the leak.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why your toilet is leaking at the base and how to fix it:

  • Test the Leaky Toilet
  • Tighten the Toilet Tee Bolts
  • Replace the Wax Ring

Test the Leaky Toilet

A leak near the base of the toilet usually occurs when you flush, but there are numerous causes for these kinds of leaks. 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 to see if more water appears. Other reasons a pool might form on the bathroom floor are either a loose water supply line or a faulty shut-off valve. Examine the hoses behind the toilet to rule out these possibilities.

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. At the base of the toilet, there are two tee bolts, which may be covered by 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 loose tee bolts, 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 first. 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 and force you to install a new toilet altogether. 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, 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, find one of our nearby locations and contact a plumber for help. Otherwise, follow these DIY instructions to fix your leaky toilet:

  1. Purchase a replacement wax ring at a home improvement store.
  2. Put on gloves to avoid touching contaminated water.
  3. Turn off the water supply behind the toilet and flush the toilet to empty the tank. Mop up any leftover water in the tank and bowl with an old towel.
  4. Unscrew the tee bolts, remove the toilet from the floor, and move it aside.
  5. Clean away the deteriorated wax ring from the toilet base, remove the toilet flange, and install the new parts. If the toilet tee bolts are corroded, replace them as well. For more information, check out our article on how to install a toilet flange.
  6. Reinstall the toilet in its original position. Tighten the tee bolts little by little on alternating sides until they’re secure.
  7. Turn the water supply back on and flush the toilet to test for leaks.
  8. Wait a few days to ensure the problem is solved. Then, install a 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 with a Leaky 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. Call us. To schedule services from one of our courteous plumbers online, contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing today!