Plumbing in the Home/leaky toliet


our toilet is leaking around the base, and we have already tried to replace the wax seal twice but it's still not working. can i just spread wax around the base of the toilet to stop the water from leaking out? what should i do?

Hi Kairi,
There are usually two reasons this happens...the space between the base of the toilet and the top of the toilet flange is too much or the floor is uneven and the toilet is rocking.
1. space too large..use two wax rings. I will stack two, one plain and another with a plastic horn or funnel type flange built in. The flanged one goes on first with the plain one on top.

2. Toilet moves...When I install a toilet or reset one, I always use new BRASS bolts and an extra set of acorn nuts and washers to actually fasten the toilet bolts to the flange solidly. There's always plenty of room so don't worry about that. This way it's a lot easier to lower the toilet into place without knocking the bolts loose. Make sure the wooden subfloor under the toilet is sound and not rotted out and that the flange itself is solid and does not move. Once the toilet is set in place over the wax rings and the ring(S)are properly compressed, place the plastic washers that cover the holes in the base of the toilet, then a new metal washer and acorn nut and snug it down. Now you have to carefully attempt to rock the toilet side to side and front to back. If it moves at all, it will break the wax seal and begin to leak. If it moves, you will need to use a thin material like strips of linoleum tile to shim the toilet so that it does not move. Once the toilet is solidly mounted and not moving, trim off any excess shims and run a bead of caulk around the base of the toilet but leave the rear 6 inches or so at the back of the toilet uncaulked so that if the toilet does leak you will notice it.  

If you just caulk a leaking toilet to the floor it can mask the fact that it is leaking and the water will eventually rot the floor away, sometimes so much so that the toilet can actually fall through the floor. That's not a great way to start your morning! LOL  If the toilet is set on a concrete slab floor, the water can work its way underneath the flooring, causing it to lift or be stained.
Good luck,

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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