Question: There is a water leak at the base of toilet. When I flush my toilet, there is a small water leak that occurs at the base. The leak is on both sides where the bottom of the toilet meets the floor of the bathroom. It only happens after it is flushed and then begins to fill back up with water. This happens every time but not much water comes out. I have to wipe up the water each time the toilet is flushed. It is clean water but it’s a chore wiping it up every time it gets flushed. What can be causing the toilet to leak from the bottom? How you can you tell what’s causing a leak at the toilet base where it meets the floor? Do I remove the toilet? Is there metal there where corrosion can occur or a seal or rubber gasket might be bad or leaking?
Answer: When a toilet leaks water from the bottom base on the bathroom floor, you most likely have a worn out wax ring seal.
Under every toilet is a large round wax seal. This wax ring seal is positioned between the toilet and the floor. This is to prevent sewer gas and other bad smells from escaping into the bathroom. When this wax ring wears out, it needs to be replaced. (In your case: If the toilet is leaking from the base when it is flushed, then the water leaks only when the toilet water tank is refilling, this may mean an issue inside the toilet and may appear to be leaking from then bottom, check here for how to fix a running toilet)
Other reasons a toilet may leak from the bottom (or seem to be leaking from bottom):
1 – There is a water fill tube that attaches from the wall to the bottom toilet valve that may be leaking.
This may be worn out or loose and causing the water leak. Check to be sure the water fill tube is tight where it screws onto the toilet tank. Also be sure it is not damaged in any way. If the water tube is not damaged and is tight, then check the next part that may be causing the water leak (see below).
2 – The water valve on the wall may be leaking.
Check the water valve that is on the wall going to the toilet. Sometimes a valve begins to leak because they are old and wear out. Determine if the valve is leaking and if so, remove and replace. If you replace it, be sure to turn the water off to your home before attempting to remove the valve (see photo above).
3 – There is a gasket where the toilet water tank fits to the seat – this may be leaking.
This gasket can wear out and cause a leak making it appear to be coming from the bottom. Take the top of the toilet water tank off. You will see all the parts of the toilet inside. Look at the bottom for 2 or 3 bolts. These bolts hold the toilet tank to the toilet seat. In between the 2 is a gasket that if bad, will leak. You may need to empty the toilet water tank and remove and replace the gasket and the bolts (see image below).
If you determine the wax ring is bad and causing the leak, see below for how to fix it step-by-step. Be sure to read this page in full just in case there may be another issue with your toilet leaking at the base, or appear to be leaking from the base.
How to remove toilet to replace wax ring:
1 – Turn off the water to the toilet by turning off the water valve behind the toilet.
2 – Flush the toilet to remove as much water as possible.
3 – Remove the water line from the back bottom of the toilet tank.
4 – Place a bucket underneath to catch any excess water in toilet tank.
5 – There are 2 bolts/nuts that hold the toilet to the floor.
6 – Remove the 2 bolts/nuts that connect the toilet to the floor (one bolt on each side).
7 – Using 2 people, lift it up and remove the old wax seal.
8 – Clean the area where the old seal was in place.
9 – Install the new wax seal and be sure it is 100% centered.
10 – Put everything back together and test the toilet by flushing multiple times.
Removing and replacing the wax ring under your toilet should take about 20 to 30 minutes with 2 people.
Learn how to replace the wax ring on a toilet.
Have questions about a leaking toilet? Please leave a comment below and we can assist with your issue.