Leaking toilet base

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by dwherzog, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. dwherzog

    dwherzog New Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I have a toilet that is leaking from around its base onto the floor. This problem has been going on for some time. When we purchased our house 3 years ago, we noted staining of the vinyl flooring around the toilet. We had the flooring replaced and the toilet reset by a plumber, and caulked around the base of the toilet to the new vinyl floor. We occasionally had a foul odor in the bathroom but did not notice that the toilet continued to leak until two months ago when I removed the vinyl floor to put down a ceramic tile floor. When I removed the old flooring, the underlayment was saturated, which indicates the toilet had continued to leak. After installing the new flooring, and not knowing if maybe there was a crack in the old toilet, I purchased a new toilet and installed it with a new wax ring. The next day I noticed that it was again leaking from around the base of the toilet. I immediately called a plumber. The plumber inspected the toilet but could not find anything wrong. He did suggest that because the toilet flange was set level with the tile flooring, that by adding a spacer and raising the top of the flange might solve the problem. He added the flange and a new wax ring. The next day, it leaked. I called a different plumber to come and look at the problem. Again, the plumber inspected the toilet. He indicated that the flange was supposed to be level with the floor and removed the spacer. He did note that the floor under the toilet was not level. It was sloping back slightly. He said that he has seen this problem with sloping floors, and after again installing the toilet with a new wax ring, said that if it again leaks, that the floor would have to leveled. The next day, it leaked. The following week I removed the toilet and surrounding floor down to the subfloor, and placed a new level reinforced mortar bed and replaced the tile flooring. The toilet flange was still level with the new floor. This time instead of using a wax ring, I purchased a no-wax seal and reset the toilet. Again, the next day the toilet was leaking from around the base. One other suggestion that the second plumber had made was that if leveling the floor didn’t work, the problem might be with the old cast iron drain piping, which would have to be replaced. So, this last weekend, I removed the floor in the adjacent bathroom, and replaced the old cast iron pipes with ABS piping. One thing I discovered with the leaking toilet when I removed it to replace the flange, the no-wax seal included a thin cardboard support between the toilet flange and the sealing gasket that was dry, which suggests that the no-wax seal did not leak. After replacing the plumbing, I reinserted the no-wax seal and reset the toilet. This time within an hour, the toilet was again leaking from around the base. I thought maybe reusing the no-wax seal was not a good idea, so I removed the toilet and replaced the seal with a new wax ring. Again, I noted that the thin cardboard spacer was dry, The new wax ring did not work, and the toilet was leaking worse then it ever had. I am out of ideas, do you have any suggestions what to do next?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Are you sure that the supply line or shutoff valve is not leaking? Do you have really cold well water that could be causing condensation?

    A properly installed toilet flange is installed on top of and flush with the finished flooring.
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  4. bigrebnc1861

    bigrebnc1861 Plumber

    Nov 19, 2005
    Kannapolis N.C.
    If your toliet base is not sitting on the closet flange properly it will leak. Check to make sure that it is. If it is try adding two wax ring seals, because the flange might be set shallower and not be touching the toliet. Or check to see if your tank is connected to your bowl properly, you may need to tighten the tank bolts down a little more.
  5. Mike Swearingen

    Mike Swearingen New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Independent Real Estate Broker
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC
    The flange should be installed on TOP of (and anchored to) the finished floor level with the thickness of the flange itself above the finished floor level.
    If it's lower than that, it may leak, without an extension or double wax rings.
    The plumber that installed the extension was correct, and the plumber that removed it was not.
    Unless it was WAY off, you didn't need to re-level the entire bathroom floor.
    There are beveled plastic shims made for the purpose (to level toilets), and these will work just fine 99% of the time.
    If you are smelling sewer gas coming from under the toilet and water leaking from under the toilet, then it still isn't sealed properly. If the water is on the outside of the toilet tank or bowl, it's condensation or a leak from above the bowl (water supply connection or tank/bowl connection).
    Good Luck!
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