Leaking Toilet-Help Needed

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by cheezemm2, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. cheezemm2

    cheezemm2 Ohio State Alumni 05'

    Ok guys, toilet just developed a slow leak at the very base of the toilet. I have the water shut off and need to trouble shoot. First, the toilet is already seated crooked (80-85 degrees to the wall instead of 90), and the base of the toilet is forced upward with wood shims (rather discreetly too, I might add). Will I most likely need to reseat? I've done this quite a few times w/my father, but never on my own. Suggestions?

    I know I need bolts (old ones are rusted), probably a new wax ring, caulk...any thoughts on how to deal with a slightly uneven tile floor? I have company coming next weekend and have to have this fixed. How much time are we talking to reseat and replace other gaskets (tank to bowl) if need be?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jeffmo

    jeffmo officially unofficial!!!!

    get one of the thicker wax rings.have someone help you seat the toilet on the new ring.it'll be easier to set it down evenly on the wax ring that way.if you have to use shims buy the plastic ones.they won't rot over time due to condensation.it's not a long job.clean up all of the old wax really well.

  3. Yanky

    Yanky shakesbeard

    if i remember correctly, anytime you take a toilet off of an existing wax ring, you need to replace the ring so that you get a good seat when you put it back on. i guess its hard or near impossible to get the toilet off without screwing up the ring, and then get as good of a seal when reusing a wax ring as with a fresh ring. ive been told this by several people, as well as hearing it on a few home shows.

    good luck!
  4. SConner

    SConner Fish Whisperer

    You mentioned rusted bolts... If you have an old metal flange, it could need replacing too. Also, sometimes you find rotted subfloor when you get toilet off. Hopefully you will not have these issues, but you should be prepared to deal with them if you do. Leave ample time, and plan on taking a trip or 2 to the hardware store.
  5. I see that you mentioned using caulking, my opionion, I wouldnt caulk around the base of the toilet, if you did and didnt get a good seal with the wax ring you could have a water buildup and not know it then you"ll have more problems.
  6. firehawkmph

    firehawkmph Retired Firefighter

    Take it apart, clean all the old wax off. Do like Sconner said and check the flange and subfloor. Hopefully it hasn't been leaking long. If the subfloor is ok, make sure it is dry. Let it air out for a few hours if necessary. Get new bolts and two wax seals. Get one with the plastic lip, one without. Put the one without on the base of the toilet. There is a lip around the hole in the base for the ring to fit onto. Put the other wax seal with the plastic lip onto the flange on the floor with the plastic lip pointing into the hole. Carefully line up the toilet over the flange, make sure your bolts are in place, and lower easy into place. Give it a gentle twist back and forth to seat it. Snug up bolts, shim if necessary to keep from rocking, and you should be good to go. Should never leak again.
    Mike Hawkins
  7. Firehawk has it, a cple other lil tricks use some of the fresh wax to build up around the bolts to help hold them strait up and keep them from falling over when setting the toilet, they sell toilet shims they are clear plastic and they break off easily they are sold in the parts department with toilet repair stuff, do not caulk around the toilet. if this is an on going problem use something to see if the waste pipe will move it shouldnt budge.
  8. cheezemm2

    cheezemm2 Ohio State Alumni 05'

    I am going to try to tackle this tonight. I will buy both wax rings and go that route. It sounds like this isn't something I should wait around for (I don't feel like ripping up tile etc. to get to rotted sub-flooring (fingers crossed that it isn't already!). The floor is tiled and slightly uneven so the two wax ring idea sounds good and the clear platic shims sound good as well.

    Once I have the toilet off, will I be able to adust the flange (turn it) so the toilet sits "flush" (no pun intended) against the wall when I reseat it?

    Hopefully I'll have a play by play with pictures later in case I run into any huge issues!
  9. sady dog

    sady dog sady dog

    i always use the double wax ring theory...i am a remodeler. Buy the biggest Kant Leak wax ring i think its a #6 sorry buy two of em. the shims can be either? if it doesn't leak they shouldn't rot? unless you splash...:) if you can locate the plumbing from under the floor. like the basement or crawl space, you might be able to replace a bad flange without tearing anything up. if you do make sure the new flange is level with the top of your floor. this will eliminate the need for an extra wax ring. I grew up in the portage lakes so i would say your metal flange is shot. and you have a cast iron stack under it. that in itself can be very intimidating... if you need more help pm me.

    good luck.....mike you could just go fishing and pee outside???
  10. Normally the flange is slotted where the bolts go in. Should be able to just move the bolt position inside the slots to realign the toilet to the wall. Not a hard job to replace the wax ring.... Just take your time and be careful. No need to remove tank from bowl unless it is leaking and those seals need replaced also. Just remove as a whole unit. Usually with the shape of the bowl, it's not hard to lift and set in place evenly by yourself but if in doubt, have someone stop over and help you. Should only take about 5 -10 minutes of their time to help you set it back in place if you have everything ready to go when they get there.
  11. willy

    willy no boat

    I would remove the tank first to make it easier to manage moving and reseating the bowl, while your at the store grab some new washers and seal for the tank/bowl connection, if cash permits I would just get a rebuild kit for the tank and do it now since I already have my face in the toilet anyway (around $20ish for the kit when i did it if i recall). If the flange is broken or cracked they sell a "cheater" flange which looks like two metal half circles that will go under whats left of the existing flange depending on how bad it is - now dont go crazy when you tighten it down or you may snap whats left of the old bad flange off and make the job even more complicated, you just need it nice and snug so it doesnt rock - think lugnuts - tighten down one side a bit then the other back and forth to keep it even and not pinch or crack the wax ring on one side. As others stated get the wax rings and make sure you clean everything good before installing them, and even though the old wax ring might look like a carmel apple coating I wouldnt recommend licking it off the putty knife.
    When you remove the toilet, check the subfloor and if its spongy/soft/rotted remember this will just be a very temp fix because the floor helps stabilize the toilet and if its bad then all the forces are working on (against) the flange which will compound the issue quickly.
    Good luck! - oh and before you even go to the store for supplies check the shutoff valve first, odds are good its frozen and you might as well get a new one while your there.
  12. cheezemm2

    cheezemm2 Ohio State Alumni 05'

    Went to Lowe's last night and picked up the big honking wax rings...Got the toilet tank off (my hands look like they have been dipped in tar now), the floor bolts were fine, but the washers/nuts were rusted out so they just basically fell off when I hit them with the PB Penetrating Oil and wrenched off the nuts, the flange was fine thankfully and the subfloor was intact (someone had laid tile/backerboard and then drilled/cut out the opening for the toilet. The wax ring that was on there was certainly shifted heavily to the side and half covering the hole to the sewer. There was also a treat left from the previous home owner (plastic bag with paint or brown caulk in it stuck to the shifted wax ring.

    Now the wife thinks I should pull the toilet in her bathroom too and check for surprises in the exit (her toilet is the slow flusher of the house and we've done all the other troubleshooting except roof vent). However, she didn't like it too much when we were ready to reseat the bowl and the remaining water spilled out on her (she was holding the floor bolts so they'd line up when I put the toilet on)

    I think the best part was pulling the buffalo bill when reseating the thing (yes,I said get a long little doogey when reseating the toilet)

    Thanks for all your help and pms guys, it's been 12 hours w/o a leak, will check in the PM when I get home and update!

    I wonder if she knows I bought her a snow shovel @Lowe's last night too?
  13. cheezemm2

    cheezemm2 Ohio State Alumni 05'

    The floor was about as level as the Rockies...good heads up on the plastic/rubber shims...It took 4 of them, but I now have a level toilet instead of a stand assister!
  14. jeffmo

    jeffmo officially unofficial!!!!

    to check for leaks simply slide a paper towel under/around the base.if it's leaking the paper towel will pick up the water.
    glad to see it went good for you.i know how those things can be.you start out thinking it'll be a quick,simple kob the 8 hours later...........
    i've re-modeled our house and it was built in the mid 1800's!!!
  15. some camodes flush slower then others they are not all created equal, check the brands when you are doing hers
  16. Yanky

    Yanky shakesbeard

    haha when you said buffalo bill i was picturing you talking about lotion in a basket or getting a couch into a van, not the wild western one.