Being faced with a toilet leak can be scary! Toilet leaks are often hard to detect until they’re severe. A sign of a severe toilet leak would be water pooling on the floor under your toilet. You may also notice water damage inside the floor, which is visible as a dark stain on the ceiling on the lower level of the home. Either way, if you notice anything wrong with your toilet, you’ll want to fix it immediately. While the process of fixing your toilet base is relatively simple, some plumbing experts disagree on what preventative measures you should take after!
How to Start Fixing Your Toilet Base
Fixing a basic toilet leak is a pretty simple project (as far as plumbing goes!). Most people can easily tackle a leaking toilet themselves with a trip to a home supply shop and some elbow grease. To fix your toilet leak, start by shutting off the valve at the back of the toilet as a precaution. After that, you’ll want to flush out any remaining water with one or two flushes. Once the toilet is empty, you can unscrew the two tee bolts holding it to the floor. The toilet will lift up (be careful with the porcelain, as it’s heavy!), exposing the wax ring sealing it.
Replacing the Wax Ring in Your Toilet
The wax ring you’ve exposed by lifting the toilet is what does most of the leak prevention every time you flush. This, like any other kind of flexible material, wears out over time. As the toilet shifts ever-so-slightly with each sit or flush, the wax takes a tiny bit of damage. If it becomes loose or cracked, you have water flushing through where it shouldn’t. This is what causes water damage. To fix your toilet’s wax ring, you need to scrape out the old wax. Install a fresh ring with the prongs facing down. After that, anchor your toilet back in position over the tee bolts you unscrewed earlier. Using your body’s own weight, gently shift the toilet over each side of the wax ring underneath it. Our plumbing experts find a simple rocking motion is easiest! Once it’s thoroughly depressed, secure the tee bolts.
To Caulk or Not to Caulk?
A big point of contention in the plumbing world is whether to caulk your toilet base or not as a sealing method. Proponents of caulking cite better stability, a more pleasing aesthetic, and leak protection. Their argument lays in the same direction as any other form of caulking: if it’s sealed, water is less likely to leak out. This seems like foolproof logic! Unfortunately, toilets are a bit of a different beast than, say, a shower knob. The nature of toilets is to flush waste away. Because of this sanitation purpose, most of the toilet’s workings take place inside. It’s unusual for water to make it to any spot where you’d be able to caulk. Some plumbing experts say caulking could actually hide a problem, making it worse than if you could see and repair it from the start. We think both sides have great points! Our plumbing experts prefer to assess each situation individually before recommending whether or not caulk would help seal your toilet base, so give us a call today!
For more common plumbing and other related tips, please contact Sin City Plumbing.