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Why is my toilet leaking at the base?

toilet leaking at baseA common problem among household bathrooms is a toilet leaking at the base.

Homeowners will often ignore the issue, don’t see it as a problem and hope it goes away. Over time, water becomes foul and dirty and will normally collect in the subfloor, leaking through the celling below. At best it will pool around the toilet if left alone. When your toilet leaks at the base, this will lead to water build up and eventually water damage.

A professional technician will be able to assess the leak and locate the source and deal with it appropriately. Depending on the severity of the situation, crafty homeowners can do their own due diligence to find out where and why your toilet is leaking.

How to fix a toilet leaking at base

Our first recommendation on assessing the issue would be to stop using the toilet if at all possible. Stopping the water from putting further damage on your bathroom floor can at least give you a chance at salvaging your property and its fixtures. Remember, this is waste water (Sewage) we are talking about!

The water that is currently being distributed to the base of the toilet will be dirty and odorous and can and will cause damage to the floor, subfloor as well as the ceiling beneath it. Be sure to disinfect the area to clean out any mold build up as well.

Tightening the Toilet Tee Bolts

Often times, your toilet will be jarred loose from its protective seal due to wear and tear, causing the leak. Tightening the tee bolts properly can help when the toilet is leaking at the base. It won’t necessarily fix the issue if the gasket is not sealed properly. The gasket is compressed between the flange and the base of the toilet and while tightening the tee bolts may help, without the gasket being properly sealed, tightening won’t be much help.

When tightening the tee bolts, make sure the toilet is properly positioned on the floor, remove the plastic covers off the tee bolts and use an adjustable wrench until the bolts are secure.

Replacing the Gasket

Once you’ve tightened the bolts properly, test out the leak by flushing the toilet. If the leaking persists, you might need to replace the gasket. When the seal is broken between the bottom of the toilet and the gasket, it must be replaced.

This isn’t a quick fix and should require professional technicians to aid you in your leaky toilet. A series of subsequent procedures should be done to properly replace a toilet gasket:

  • Buy the right gasket for your toilet (depth and thickness are crucial)
  • Carefully remove your toilet from the floor and lay it on its side. Be sure to drain the toilet and shut down before removing – ask for help!
  • Carefully clean the old wax ring or rubber gasket from the toilet’s base
  • Replace and install new tee bolts if rusted as necessary
  • Install the new gasket to the base of the toilet
  • Return the toilet back to its original position
  • Check to see that there’s no more leaking around the toilet’s base once the water is turned back on.

Caulking the toilet base

Caulking is used to keep water from further damaging your bathroom floor but by no means is it a solution to fixing your toilet from leaking! By caulking around the base of the toilet, it prevents more water from getting on the floor. Be sure that the toilet is properly fixed and not leaking before caulking.

In summary, toilets leaking at the base can be caused by a few factors and with professional help can be properly assessed and addressed. When you’re trying to assess and repair your own toilet, be sure to take proper measures and precautions prior to jumping in and fixing yourself!