Do you constantly hear sounds of water trickling from the toilet at your home?
Not only can this create a continuous disturbance, but it can also lead to critical problems in the toilet in the future. And, of course, more critical issues mean more expenses on your part.
So, the leaking toilet needs to be fixed at the earliest to avoid such problems. But we understand that doing this on your own may seem complicated at first thought. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the entire process.
So, without further ado, let’s get going!
The Reason Behind The Leak
Every toilet comes with a gasket of wax, i.e. its seal, which keeps it fixed on the floor, prevents any malfunctioning, and protects the flooring from damage.
As such, a leakage mostly occurs when the seal fails to function in the right way. The foremost indication of this issue is when you find a pool of water around the toilet base.
However, sometimes the problem might lie elsewhere, which is why you can perform a test to determine the actual source of the leak. Soak up all the water pooling around with the help of a sponge. Then wipe off the floor with a towel and wait till another puddle appears.
This way, you can check it to ensure that the source of the leak is around the base and not an efficient shutoff valve, a loosened supply tube, or a crack in the tank.
Fixing The Leak
If the source of the leak is indeed below the toilet, the water can be stopped simply by tightening the bolts that secure the joint between the toilet and the flooring. You may use a slotted screwdriver or a specialised putty knife to remove the caps on the bolts.
Following this, tighten each of the bolts alternately using a wrench. Keep in mind that you must not exert too much force as that can lead to a crack on the toilet base. Sometimes, these steps may help in stopping the leak and save all the extra effort that would’ve gone into removing the toilet. Nothing could be better than that, right?
But if you don’t notice any improvement after tightening those bolts, it’s time to remove the entire toilet to replace the seal. Read on to know the deets regarding the procedure.
How To Remove The Toilet
First of all, you should turn off the shutoff valve to stop the flow of water into the toilet. The valve is usually fixed in the base directly below the toilet or behind it. You just have to turn its handle clockwise for this purpose.
Now remove the lid of the tank, pull the flush, and hold the handle down so that almost all the water drains from the tank. After this, soak the water that’s remaining in the tank using a sponge. And to remove traces of water in the toilet bowl, you can use a paper cup.
Next, you’ll have to disconnect the tube for the water supply by detaching the compression nut on the valve. Then pull out the caps of the closet bolts and detach the nuts using a wrench. If any of the bolts spin on turning the nuts, keep the bolt in place using needle-nose pliers.
Grab the bowl rim directly beneath the hinges of the toilet seat and rock it gently so that the seal breaks.
Now, you’ll have to detach the toilet and keep it on any blanket or cardboard. Using a putty knife, remove the old wax gasket from beneath the toilet and from the flange on the floor.
At this point, you must check whether the flange isn’t bent or cracked, as sometimes it may break while you’re scraping off the gasket. You’ll need to replace the whole flange with a new one or repair the broken part with a metal strap.
To install a metal strap on the flange, you should loosen the screws securing it to the flooring and insert a bolt in a part of the strap. Now slide the metal strap beneath the flange. You must then tighten the screws on the flange so that the strap locks in place.
To secure the flange further, install the rest of the closet bolts in it. In case the bolts aren’t upright, use the old gasket to take some wax and put that around the base.
Finally, take a fresh gasket and place it on the flange, ensuring that it’s centred perfectly. Most of the wax gaskets you’ll find on the market are rings made of solid wax. However, it’s best to go for those with a core made of foam to create a strong seal with the toilet and the flange.
Installing The Replacement
In case the toilet that you’ll be instaling has a water supply tube of chrome-plated copper, you should detach it and fix a more flexible one instead. A tube made using polymer enmeshed with stainless steel will be ideal in this regard. It would make the installation much easier and is also extremely long-lasting.
On a side note, you must apply a pipe-joint compound at both ends of the water supply tube. Note that one end must be tightened to the shank sticking out of the bottom of the tank.
Following this, you can put the toilet in place by gripping the bowl near the hinges of the seat, lifting it and walking it to the flange. Make sure that you place the toilet correctly on the wax gasket. The bolts can be used as guides for the purpose.
Then slip the washer on the bolts and fix the nuts on them. But before you tighten them, press the rim of the toilet bowl down as strongly as you can so that the gasket is compressed and fixed firmly.
After you’re done, check whether the toilet tank is positioned parallel to the wall at the back, and tighten each of the closet bolts till both fit perfectly. Again, you must press the bowl strongly and tighten the nuts further, and repeat this process till you’re sure that the nuts don’t feel loose anymore.
Here as well, you must be cautious not to apply too much force while you use the wrench, or you might end up cracking the toilet.
The next step will be to cut the closet bolts almost level with the nuts using a hacksaw and put the caps on the bolts.
Ultimately, you’ll have to tighten the loose end of the tube for the water supply fixed to the shutoff valve. Then open the valve and flush the replacement toilet a few times. If you don’t observe any leaks, you can use the toilet for a few weeks and remove the bolt caps to retighten the nuts firmly. The toilet is sure to settle perfectly after a few uses.
Should You Fix A Caulk At The Base?
The caulk is a tube made of silicone fixed around the base to secure the toilet further. But considering that the gasket or seal is strong enough to secure it, the need for a caulk is highly debated among plumbers. Most of them don’t use a caulk since they believe that it would conceal the leak.
However, in a few municipalities of the country, the local building code might require you to caulk the base to prevent bacterial growth in the fixture.
That’s why you must check with the local building department to know about the code requirements in the town. Lastly, on deciding to use caulk, make sure you purchase a mildew-proof and high-quality tub-and-tile caulk.
Repairing Your Leaking Toilet
What do you feel about fixing the leaking toilet at your home now? You surely have a better idea about how to proceed. So, go for it! And after the job is done, do let us know how it went.
Before we sign off, here’s a small tip for you. Make sure you have all the tools, such as a wrench, a putty knife, a metal strap, and a screwdriver by your side before starting. This way, you can access them quickly when needed.
That’s about it for today. We’ll be back soon with some more valuable content. Till then, take care!