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Easy Fixes for A Toilet Leaking At Base (Homeowners Guide)

April 15, 2022

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Dealing with a leaking toilet is not only an unpleasant experience, but it can also lead to water accumulating on your bathroom floor. Luckily, if you see your toilet leaking at the base area, it can be fixed quite easily. In this post, we'll go over the potential causes of these leaks, what tools you need and the steps on how to fix toilet leaking at the base.

Causes of Toilet Leaks

When you have a toilet clogged and leaking at the base, it’s a sign that there are underlying problems with the plumbing connections. It would be best if you get to the root cause of the problem to fix the leak completely.

Here are some of the potential causes of a leak at the base of your toilet:

  1. Water condensation. Humidity can cause condensation to form on the tank or bowl. The water drips down and accumulates, causing pooling at the base.
  2. Water supply lines are getting loose. Another common cause of moisture around the base of toilet systems is loose water supply lines. When this happens, you'll have water on the toilet floor at all times, and not just when you flush.
  3. Broken wax ring. The wax ring of your toilet can get worn out after years of use. It can also get damaged when the toilet gets loose. In addition, the seal on the wax ring may no longer be intact, thus causing water to leak out.
  4. Loose tee bolts. With RV toilets, this is often the cause. Sometimes an RV toilet leaking at the base is caused by the tee bolts loosening when the toilet gets rocked around during travel. Loose bolts cause the toilet to move around and break the wax ring seal. If this happens, drain water will seep out of the base each time someone flushes the toilet. This can also occur in toilets in the home, especially when using an old unit.
  5. Cracks on plastic bowls. This is another potential cause when you find your RV toilet leaking at the base. Many RVs have plastic bowls which can crack due to winterization. If this is the case, you will need to get a replacement bowl.
  6. Leaking flange. In some instances, the leak may be coming from the floor instead of the actual toilet base. It's significantly noticeable when you flush the toilet. In such cases, you will need to have the flange replaced to stop the leak.

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The Tools You'll Need To Fix A Toilet Leaking At The Base

Fixing a toilet leak will require a complete set of DIY plumbing tools. Depending on the severity of the problem, you will need some of the following items:

  • Wrench
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Screwdriver
  • Washers
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Toilet bolts
  • Gaskets
  • Putty knife
  • Toilet wax ring
  • Hacksaw
  • Cordless drill
  • Caulk
  • Rubber gloves

Some of the tools and equipment mentioned above are essential for fixing toilet leaks, like gloves and wrenches. You may not have to use a hacksaw for every toilet problem, but it may be useful for cutting down rusted toilet bolts

Easy Fixes For A Toilet Leaking At the Base

Now that you know the potential causes and the tools you'll need, here are some easy fixes for a toilet clogged and leaking at the base. Choose the solution depending on the potential cause you have spotted. 

We have arranged the solutions below in a step-by-step fashion. It means you can go over one fix after the other. Follow the steps below on how to fix a toilet leaking at the base.

Get Rid Of The Condensation

This is the easiest fix on our list. If you suspect condensation, you should insulate your water tank or install a tray to gather the condensation. You should also check for a faulty flapper inside the tank and tighten loose water supply lines if you find any. 

Check The Tee Bolts

Remove the plastic covering of the tee bolts located at the base of the toilet bowl. You can use a screwdriver or putty knife to remove the cover and tighten the screws with a wrench. Next, flush the toilet to check for a leak. If this doesn't fix the problem, the wax ring may need to be replaced.

Removing the Toilet

Now you're moving into the more nitty-gritty part of getting rid of moisture around the base of toilet fixtures. Shut off the water first before attempting to remove the toilet. You'll find the shutoff valve near the water supply tube on the left side of the toilet.

Follow the steps below to remove it:

  1. Drain all the water in the tank by flushing the toilet.
  2. Unscrew the mounting nuts on the supply tube. This tube is attached to the fill valve.
  3. Remove the nuts on the tee bolts using a wrench. If the bolts are already rusted, use a hacksaw to remove them.
  4. You may need some help with this next step as it requires heavy lifting: lift the toilet off the floor and set it aside.

If you're installing a replacement toilet, the next step is to get the new one and set it in place of the old one. Then, follow the steps in the next section that describe how to reinstall the toilet.

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Replace the Wax Ring

Use your putty knife to remove the old worn-out wax ring and make sure you get all the wax. Next, install the new wax ring with the plastic cone facing downward into the drain. Finally, inspect the flange for leaks. If it's leaking, you will need to call for professional help. But if the flange is okay, just make sure that all the tee bolts are positioned correctly before reinstalling the toilet.

Reinstalling the Toilet

These are also the steps you'll use to install a new replacement toilet. First, lift the toilet carefully – have someone help you if the toilet is too heavy. Then, place it over the drain. Ensure that all the tee bolts go through the holes properly at the base.

Press the toilet down on the wax ring to create a tight seal. Use your wrench to tighten the nuts and tee bolts. Be sure not to make it too tight, or else the porcelain will crack.

Reconnect the Water Supply Lines

Reconnect the supply lines to the valve. Turn the water on and do a test flush. Inspect the base of the toilet for leaks.

Adding Some Caulking

Apply some caulking at the base of the toilet. This step helps to prevent further leaks, and it also creates a seal to prevent any odors coming from under the toilet.

Never Worry About Toilets Leaking At The Base Again

If you still have a leaking toilet at the base after following all the fixes mentioned above, then it's time to call for professional help. Sometimes diagnosing the underlying problem without the necessary skills and expertise can be complicated. 

Alliance Service Pros has professionally trained plumbers who can fix all types of toilet leaks, clogs and other plumbing issues quickly and considerately. In addition, we provide preventative maintenance tips to ensure you don’t deal with leaking toilets in the future. You can rely on our years of expertise and highly trained plumbers to get the job done the first time around. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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