Why is my toilet leaking at the base?

29 June 2021


Is there standing water on the bathroom floor by the toilet? Don’t dismiss this problem! This water has come from the toilet bowl and is unsanitary if the toilet is leaking from the foundation. It’s possible that the filthy water smells like a drain. If left unattended, the toilet will begin to leak a little with each flush, causing water damage to the flooring, subfloor, and probably the room’s ceiling.

A leaking toilet at the base normally suggests an issue with the wax ring that seals the toilet base to the drainpipe underneath the toilet. In this article, we explore some of the reasons why your toilet may be leaking and how to fix it.

How do you know if your toilet is leaking?

Finding a pool of water at the base of your toilet does not always mean that your toilet is leaking. It could just be condensation, especially if your bathroom has a toilet and a shower or bath in it. However, common signs that your toilet is leaking are a damp or stained floor around the toilet, a leak from the bottom of the tank, a smell of sewage or a noise coming from the toilet.

Why is my toilet leaking through the floor?

A toilet leak is almost always the result of a crack or defect in the wax ring that connects the toilet to the floor. You may not have noticed, but any time you flushed the toilet, water might have seeped through the bathroom floor and through your basement ceiling.

Causes of a leaking toilet

Bowl Damage

Your toilet’s bowl damage may be the source of your leak. Since the bowl is built to retain water, if there is a gap, it will most likely drain straight into your bathroom floor. You risk pouring unhealthy wastewater on your floor if a crack in heavily used porcelain or ceramic ware is not completely sealed with putty or glue. It is best to repair the entire toilet if any structural portion of it is broken and leaking.

Cracked Supply Line

A cold-water supply line feeds water into the toilet tank. The line is a closed system when it is operating properly, stopping air from getting in and water from getting out. The supply line, however, can crack over time or under high water pressure. You can find water on the floor around your toilet if this is the case. To mitigate damage to your house, repairing a cracked supply line also requires the immediate assistance of a plumber.

Rusted Fill Valve

If your tank overflows and the float isn’t to blame, the fill valve can be corroded or damaged. When combined with the float, the valve regulates the amount of water flow into the tank, ensuring that the tank is filled to the expected number of gallons at a time.

It is not difficult to replace the valve, but it is normally more difficult than replacing the float. The fill valve is made up of several parts, each of which must be tested to see whether it is still functional or whether the entire fill valve unit needs to be replaced.

What tools do I need to fix a toilet leak?

If you notice water leaking from the base of your toilet, it’s likely that certain plumbing connections aren’t completely tightened. If you want to fix your toilet leak yourself, here are the tools you’ll need:

  • For this job, you’ll need a lot of cleaning cloths. Microfiber and terry cloth are useful.
  • When assembling the toilet parts later in the project, a putty knife is easier to deal with than a utility knife.
  • You’ll also need parts from a toilet repair kit in addition to a hammer, hacksaw, and screwdriver. Make sure you have assorted washers or gaskets, toilet bolts, and a toilet wax ring, in particular.
  • Some sections of the project might be easier to complete if you enlist the help of a second person, particularly if you need to replace the wax ring. Toilets are both heavy and bulky, making them difficult to navigate alone.
  • Make sure you have some bathroom cleaner on hand after the repair is completed. To ensure a thorough clean, use antibacterial or bleach-based cleaners.


How to fix a leaking toilet

1. Tighten the Toilet Tee Bolts

It’s possible that the toilet isn’t secured to the floor if it starts to leak at the base when flushed. Two tee bolts can be found at the base of the toilet, which could be sealed with caps. When you flush the toilet, if the wax ring under these bolts does not create a water-tight seal, the toilet can leak from the foundation.

Simply tighten the bolts that tie the toilet to the floor to solve the problem. To pry off the caps, you may need a putty knife or a flathead screwdriver. Tighten the bolts one at a time, switching between the left and right bolts. If you overtighten the bolts, the toilet base will break. If you try to tighten the bolts and they just spin, you might need new ones.

2. Replace the Wax Ring

Flush the toilet to see if the fix is working. If water is still pooling around the foundation, the leak is likely caused by a failing wax ring and therefore you must seal the toilet ring to fix the issue. Fortunately, wax rings are inexpensive and simple to repair, but you may need to remove the toilet to complete the task. This job may take a few hours and can require two people to complete. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it by yourself, hire a plumber.

Otherwise, use these directions to repair your leaking toilet:

  • Purchase a new wax ring for your toilet. Take a photo of the toilet’s base if you can and ask a store employee to help you locate a comparable substitute.
  • Start by turning off the water supply to your toilet by turning off the water valve behind the toilet. After that, flush the toilet to get rid of as much standing water as possible. Remove any remaining water by unscrewing the nut that holds the fill valve in place and catch it in a small bucket. Finally, plunging the toilet for a few seconds will drain any remaining water from the foundation.
  • Remove the Toilet and the Old Wax Ring. Remove the tee bolts from the floor and unscrew the water supply line from the toilet. The toilet should now be able to be raised and relocated away from its original location. Place the toilet on its side and gently remove the old wax ring. Before you add the new wax ring, make sure you remove any dried-on wax and residue.
  • Install the New Wax Ring. Put your freshly purchased wax ring over the flange and secure it with the tee bolts. Reposition your toilet in its original location after installing the new wax ring.
  • Reinstall your toilet. Make sure it’s in the right place, then force it into the wax ring with your body weight to create a new seal. Screw the tee bolts into position (do not overtighten) while bearing in mind that the toilet must be properly centred and levelled. Reconnect your water pipe, switch on the valve, and flush the toilet. Examine your toilet for any water leakage caused by the new seal.


3. Contact a professional plumber

Leaky toilets can seem like a minor issue but the repair costs can go up quickly if the issue is not addressed promptly. At best, they can boost your water bill and at worst, they can ruin your bathroom’s tile and subfloor. If a plumbing issue occurs, you should call a plumber to avoid any further damage.

Trust the team of experts at Plomberie Pro-Drain to provide you with the highest quality and value for your money. Here are the plumbing services we provide:

Residential Services

The water source in your home is important for both comfort and health reasons. Our licenced plumbers will make sure that the plumbing systems in your home are up to code and legal. If you need to unclog a toilet or a shower drain, or if you require extensive plumbing work for a construction or renovation project, Pro-Drain will assist you.

Our team of experts has the necessary resources, equipment, personnel, and, most importantly, expertise to ensure that all of your installations are stable, clean, and in compliance with all applicable codes and regulations.

Commercial Services

We have 20 years of experience in the industry, so you can trust our knowledge of commercial and industrial building codes and specifications. To ensure that your installations last as long as possible, work can be done quickly.

We also offer the following services:

Our plumbers provide timely, courteous, and personalised service in the greater Montreal area and its environs, whether you’re on the south or north shore. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to have more information regarding our services!

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