Horrible pee smell coming from toilet bowl please help

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by jbrady555, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    Hello all I am desperate to find out why my toilet stinks so bad. Wife and myself just moved into a new home and we noticed a foul old pee smell coming from the toilet when the water was disturbed from usage or flushing. She would clean the toilet every 3-5 days and the smell would stay away for the most part but recently it seems like its getting worse. The toilet is not anchored very good, it shifts a little bit, when I get down right next to the base I can detect a faint pee smell but its not nearly as bad as what is coming out of the bowl itself. I can flush the toilet 10 times in a row without using it and get the most horrid old pee smell every time. It never goes away. We also have extremely bad iron in our water, not sure if that could be related. Also after flushing I notice some tiny bubbles coming back up from bottom of the toilet while the tank is filling back up, not sure if that may be related either.

    The place started out as a 1964 single wide mobile home. It had two addtional rooms built on, walls got stucko, and a new roof was built. It looks like a house now but its base is still a super old mobile home. Any ideas on what is making the toilet bowl water stink like this? I really could use some advice. In the next few days I'm going to remove the old toilet and cracked bathroom tile, put new 3/4" plywood subflooring right over the top of the existing subfloor and install a new cheap model toilet from homedepot or lowes. After that I'll decide what kind of finished floor we want, it'll be something cheap like laminate. I'd hate to do all this work but not fix the existing problem so I turned to you guys for help. Thanks for any info.
  2. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    Also after reading a similar thread to mine further down the list I checked my toilet seat for the bad smell. It is definitely saturated with the same smell from the bowl, but its not the source of the smell. The water and bowl still have the strongest smell. Its a relatively new seat too, maybe 3 months old, that should give you some perspective on how bad this smell is.

    Another example to show you how bad it is, we went out of town for 6 days a few weeks ago and when we got back the smell was throughout the whole house. Any ideas?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Likely cause of the problem is the previous owner had males in the household that had poor aim. Their urine go under the toilet which I would guess was not caulked. The floor under the toilet is soaked. Second problem is the toilet movement. A toilet should never budge when properly installed. Any movement will break the wax ring seal. You will need to pull the toilet up and deal with the urine soaked floor. I'm not sure what chemicals will work for this, probably some other forum users will respond to that. Before reinstalling the toilet, you will need to determine why it was moving. The flange should be mounted on top of the finished floor and screwed down into the sub floor. It is possible the urine and other moisture has caused some decay in the floor. If so, this must be repaired. Of course, removing the old floor will take care of the odor. When the toilet is finally reinstalled, the base should be caulked with a latex caulk to prevent moisture, urine or spilled water, from getting under the toilet. This also helps hold the toilet in place.
  4. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    thanks for the reply. If the smell is due to poor aim I don't understand why its coming up through the water in the bowl and sticking to the bottom of the toilet seat. Seems like peeing on the outside of the toilet wouldn't contribute to my problem. I agree with what your saying about the toilet movement though, I think I'm fixing to go start tearing the old tile out right now. Its time to get this project underway.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,110
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The first place to start is resetting the bowl.
    If the bowl is moving around, you may not have a good seal between the bowl and flange.
  6. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    well this project just got real, lol, I started tearing floor tile out about 30 minutes ago. Wife is out of town so this is as good a time as any. Once I got to the back of the bowl a few of the tiles smelled of urine a little. Sub floor is in rough shape in some places but I'm not too worried since my plan is to lay a new subfloor down right over top of the rotten one with 3/4" plywood. I only need this place fit for living in for about 10 years until its paid off. Then our plan is to sell for property value and move, or possibly put a new mobile home in its place. Too hard to tell which one we will do 10 years from now.

    I do have a real newbie question for you guys. I shut my water off behind the bowl and flushed to drain the tank but the bowl is still full of water. How do I drain the bowl without making a huge mess so that I can remove the toilet?
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,110
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    A wet vack to suck out the water is handy.
    Either that or put on some rubber gloves and sponge it out.

    Before you carry it out, stuff the bottom with with toilet paper. You don't want a trail of smelly water though your home.

    If the wood has a bad odor, you may want to seal it. Zeolac goes a good job of that.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  8. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    Zeolac, can I find that at Ace, or Lowes? Walmart? I've never seen or used it.
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,110
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It's a shellac primer. They may have something like that in a different brand.
  10. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    thanks alot, I'm glad I found this place. I'm sure its gonna take some of the headache out of my DIY projects. I just can't fathom paying a arm and a leg to let professionals work on a 1964 model mobile home. I'd rather do it myself
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    Take something like an ice pick and see how soft the subflooring is. If it is soft and punky, you can't just cover it up, you need to remove it!

    A rocking toilet is a potential leaking toilet of both waste going down, and sewer gasses coming up. I it the seal between the toilet and the flange, and the water in the trap of the toilet that keeps sewer gasses out of the house. When you flush the toilet, the wave of water going out can push some sewer gasses out of the leaking seal at the flange. Wax isn't springy...once you rock it one way and compress it, it won't spring back, and you have a gap. The toilet, as has been said, MUST be rock solid, or you'll have issues.
  12. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    well I got all the tile pulled up and the floor is pretty rough looking around the toilet only suggesting some pretty bad leakage. I'm leaving the toilet where its at until I got the new one and the material for the new subfloor. No since in getting to far ahead to where I can't used the bathroom, lol. I guess my toilet thread is becoming a bathroom remodel thread.
  13. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    thanks for the post, your explanation really sounds like what I'm dealing with. The floor is pretty bad just around the toilet but I really don't want to tear it all the way back to the joists. Is there some kind of sealant I can use to just seal the old stuff in time and drop the new 3/4" right over the top? I just need to get enough years out of this property to pay it off. Then its either new mobile home for myself. Or sell for property value only. I could never try to get any value out of this place no matter how much money I put into it. thanks for anymore info.
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    Rotten wood never gets better! Plus, adding 3/4" on top of what you have, while it can make the subfloor stronger, also means a bigger transition to the other rooms, either raising the vanity (maybe drain issues), or making it effectively lower, and you'd still have to deal with making the toilet flange work. The proper place of the flange is sitting on top of the FINISHED floor, not buried maybe an inch or so below it after adding subflooring, tiling substrate, and tile.
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,302
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Kind of off Topic, But Terry Love and the pros that hang out here are the best...


    Good luck on your project.
  16. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    Thanks for the info, I'm not concerned with transitioning to the other rooms since all the floors need to be redone. I'm just starting with the bathroom since I have the toilet issues. Eventually they will all be the same, at least on that side of the house. I am concerned with what your saying about how I need to put the toilet on top of the finished floor. I need to rethink my strategy here and maybe think about also getting a finished floor down real quick too. I was planning on taking my time with that and just putting the subfloor w/ toilet down for now. I know its not ideal but if I do run the 3/4" over top of the old stuff am I going to run into issues with having to extend the toileit plumbing (flange) up also? I know its a dumb question but I've never done a toilet before. Until I pull mine up in the next day or two I wont even know what the plumbing under there looks like. thanks for anymore info.
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    Well, it depends somewhat on if you have access to the plumbing below or not. Setting a toilet isn't all that hard, but when it's not done right, you can get issues like you have now - it leaks, smells bad, and can rot the floor. If the flange sits too high after taking out the tile, you may not be able to get the toilet to sit and seal properly on the flange unless you make a big shim underneath it to raise it temporarily should you need to continue to use the toilet in the interim. If you have access to the plumbing below, it shouldn't be too hard to cut off, and then raise a new flange to the proper height after your remodeling has the new floor in. It can be done from above with an inexpensive, internal pipe cutter.
  18. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The right thing to do it to do the repairs right NOW. Covering rotten flooring will come back to haunt you sooner or later, more than likely sooner. The reason your toilet wobbled is that it was anchored into that rotten floor as I suggested in my first post. If you just jury rig a half ass patch, you will be right back where you started.
  19. jbrady555

    jbrady555 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    panama city, fl
    I do have a under the house access very close to the toilet plumbing.
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