Why is my Toilet Leaking from the Base?
Diagnosing a problem with your toilet isn’t difficult. There is either a concern with your toilet tank, an issue with the water supply line, a potential back up and clog, or a problem in the base of the toilet. If you have water on the floor surrounding your toilet, you have a whole different set of issues. First and foremost, locate the source of the leak. Here are the top 6 reasons why you have water at the base of your toilet.
- The toilet tank has condensation on the outside
- The bolts or seals where the toilet tank connects to the base are loose
- The toilet’s water supply line is leaking
- The fill valve nut where the water line connects is loose
- Water was not mopped/dried up correctly after cleaning the floor
- The bolts or seal between the floor and base of the toilet are damaged or loose
Dry up the water and begin checking for a leak. Condensation can’t really be helped if it’s humid in your bathroom. If water starts to pool where the tank and base connect, then you’ll need to look at the connection point. Water supply lines can be tightened with a wrench. If you’ve checked these first 4 areas, you’ll next need to check the base. If you dry up the water and the area stays dry, you may simply need to caulk the toilet.
To know if the leak is occurring at the base, flush the toilet and check for water around the toilet. A toilet is installed using a wax seal and bolts (called t-bolts). Over time these parts can disintegrate loosening the seal. Water that seeps out after you flush needs immediate attention. This water is contaminated with human waste and carries bacteria that can make you and your household sick.
So how to you fix a leak around the toilet?
Toilet T-Bolts: Tighten or Replace
T-bolts are usually covered with plastic caps which are easily removed. Remove the caps and check to see if the t-bolts are loose. If they are, make sure that the toilet is correctly in place and then, tighten the bolts and replace the cap.
If the bolts are rusted or spin without tightening you should replace the bolts. If they are stuck, you can loosen the bolts with a rust cleaner or WD-40 before tightening. An adjustable wrench works best to loosen the t-bolts. If the bolts won’t turn, you may have to use a hacksaw to cut the bolt in order to remove them and replace.
Once the bolts are secure, flush the toilet. If water continues to leak at the base, move on to checking the wax seal underneath the toilet.
Replace the Wax Ring
The wax ring seals the toilet to the floor in order to prevent dirty water from seeping out. This seal can disintegrate over time or become useless if the t-bolts have been loose for a while. Replacing a wax seal is a bit more involved, though not difficult than the previous issues mentioned. You may need an extra set of hands. For best results, connect with a plumber through Great Pros.
To replace the seal, turn off the water coming into the toilet. Flush the toilet to drain as much as possible and use rags to sop up any water that remains. Unscrew the water line from the tank. Undo the t-bolts and lift the toilet off the floor. Use a scraper to remove the old wax ring from the floor and toilet as well as disinfectant to clean around the area. After the floor and toilet are dry, you can install the new wax ring. Put the toilet back in place and tighten with the t-bolts.
Other Causes of Leaks
Though rare, there could be a crack in the toilet bowl. If you can locate the crack, you can use a sealant to repair the crack. Turn off the water supply and drain the bowl. Dry the area and apply a special sealant used for sinks and bathtubs. If the leak continues, you may have to replace the toilet.
Caulk the Base of the Toilet
Applying caulk around the base of the toilet is not a necessity. However, if water from cleaning seeps under the toilet and is not dried properly, it will cause mold growth that could affect your flooring and subflooring. Before you do anything, wait a few days after drying the area to make sure the leak is not from the wax seal. Once you are sure that there isn’t something else causing the puddle of water, you can simply use a caulking tool and caulk to apply a seal around the base.
With a little elbow grease, you can fix your leaky toilet and avoid more costly problems down the road. Prompt attention to a leak will reduce your water bill, prevent illness from bacteria, and avoid mold and moisture issues.
Dealing with a leak is not as easy as some people expect. If you need any assistance with your leaky toile or any home project, connect with professionals with Great Pros. We have many local professionals in your area who are ready to assist you.