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Why Does Your Toilet Wax Ring Keep Leaking? DIY Fix 

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Noticing a pool of water on your bathroom floor is a common occurrence and usually, nothing to worry about. But what happens when it’s around the base of your toilet and reappears even after mopping the area?

The most crucial step in fixing a toilet leak is to figure out the source of the problem and address it efficiently to help prevent mold growth in your bathroom. You’ll need to pull the entire toilet out and repair the floor fixtures if it’s your wax ring.

Continue reading to explore why wax rings leak, how the flange affects their performance, and a DIY method for fixing the leak yourself.

toilet bowl in modern bathroom in light beige color

What Should I Do If I Notice That My Toilet Is Leaking?

If you notice that your toilet is leaking, the first thing you’ll want to do is stop using it. If you continue to flush a leaking toilet, you could make the leak worse or cause damage to the floor around the bathroom.

Why Does My Toilet Wax Ring Keep Leaking?

A common sign that you may have a problem with your wax ring is a leak that occurs only after flushing the toilet. If your wax ring has eroded, you will need to remove your toilet away from its base so that you can replace it.

How Do I Replace My Toilet’s Wax Ring?

If you’re up for a challenge and want to replace your toilet’s wax, follow the steps below.

Before you begin: 

Purchase a wax ring replacement from a hardware shop. If you’re not sure what you need, take a picture and show one of the store employees, who will be able to help you find the right piece.

Turn off the water supply and remove as much of the water from your tank as you can by flushing it and plunging the bowl.

How To Replace The Wax Ring:

  1. Detach your toilets water supply.
  2. Unscrew your tee bolts and remove your toilet from the drainpipe and flange (you may need another person to assist you with this).
  3. Once you remove the toilet, you should be able to observe the wax ring, which will likely show signs of wear and tear or visible damage. You need to remove this ring.
    Have a trash bag on hand and use a putty knife for removing any residue.
The melted remains of a wax ring seal that is beneath most toilet bowls
  1. Position the new wax ring above the flange and use your tee bolts to secure it in place.
    If your old tee bolts still screw in tightly with no signs of visible damage, they are OK to use. But if they’re showing signs of wear, this may be an excellent time to replace them.
man installing a new toilet
  1. Place the toilet back over the drainpipe and align the tee bolts on the floor with the holes in the base of your toilet. 
  2. Create a seal with the new wax ring, by pressing your toilet down on top of it.
  3. Make sure your toilet is level and centered, before you tighten the tee bolts.
  4. Reattach your water supply and allow the water to flow and fill your tank. 
  5. Flush your toilet and check for any leaks that remain.
  6. Use caulk around the base of your toilet.

How To Caulk The Base Of Your Toilet.

Close up of a plumber fixing toilet in a washroom with silicone
  1. Buy a silicone-based caulk that matches the color of your toilet.
  2. Wipe both the base of your toilet along with the surrounding floor area.
  3. Use a caulk gun to apply, then smooth it with your finger.
  4. Allow 24 hours for the caulk to dry.

What Else Could Be Causing My Toilet To Leak?

Aside from the wax ring, several other factors could be causing your toilet to leak. And sometimes, the cause of your toilet’s leak is not as straightforward as you might hope. Below is an outline of some of the most common problems, plus the next steps to address your leak.

If you’re in any doubt, call a plumber.

Tee bolts connect your toilet to the floor; if one of these loosens or breaks, it could weaken your toilet seal and cause a leak, but it is a reasonably easy problem to fix.

process of a plumber working on installing a new toilet holding a tee bolt

If your toilet has slipped to one side, you’ll need to reposition it and tighten the screws. However, you’ll need to replace any screws that keep spinning or have visible damage.

If the tee bolts are fine, you may have a problem where the toilet meets the tank. The two-three bolts that connect the bowl to the tank may wear out or loosen, which can cause your tank to leak.

To fix this problem, tighten the bolts with a wrench – if they keep spinning, you may need to do this from the inside. And if you tighten the bolts but they continue to leak, you may need to replace the watertight seal.

 SignsNext StepsPlumbing Difficulty
Damaged wax ring or closet flange.The flange acts as a connection between your toilet and the drainage system.   The wax ring works in tandem with the flange to provide a watertight seal that prevents leaks of sewer gases from escaping into your bathroom.Fixing a wax ring or flange requires you to remove the entire toilet from its base.   One of the most common reasons why the wax seal fails is from improper installation, which is why using a plumber is a highly recommended option.Expert.   It may be best to contact a plumber to replace this type of fixture.
Blocked FlapperThe flapper is the valve inside the toilet tank that holds water and prevents it from entering the toilet bowl.   If the flapper in your toilet is damaged, you will see a continuous water flow into your bowl.   You can test a flapper’s effectiveness by dropping food coloring into the tank. If this coloring makes it into the bowl, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the problem is your flapper.Turn off the valve. Empty the tank. Remove the flapper from the flush valve. Replace the flapper with a model of the same type and size.Easy fix. Many homeowners can fix this problem by themselves.
Comprised Fill ValveThe fill valve monitors the refill of your toilet tank to keep the water level at the right height.   The fill valve is sealed with a rubber gasket which can develop cracks over time. If the fill valve is not properly tightened, water may collect on the floor underneath the toilet. Take a look at your gasket to inspect it for any cracks or damage.   Replace it if necessary.   Also, check the nut that fastens the tank’s valve and tighten as needed.Moderate.   Some homeowners can complete this repair, but others may need to call in a professional.
Supply Line Is CrackedThe supply line connects your toilet to a cold water supply.   There are many causes for your supply line springing a leak, which can become severe if you don’t maintain your pipes correctly.   A cracked supply line is often easy to spot and it creates a puddle of water at the base of the toilet.   It can lead to flooding, if you fail to address it early on. Many manufacturers recommend that you replace your supply line every three to five years to prevent this from happening.Even if your supply line is still intact, it’s a good idea to replace it any time that you remove your toilet from the ground.   Turn off the toilet valve and empty the tank.   Remove the supply line from the fill valve and shut off the valve.   Tighten the new supply line with an adjustable wrench.   Turn the valve on slowly and allow your tank to fill with water.   Inspect your toilet for any leaks.Moderate.   Some homeowners can complete this repair, but others may need to call in a professional.

What Should I Do If I Can’t Find The Source Of My Leak?

If you can’t find the source of your toilet leak, the best thing to do is call a plumber. While it may cost you a fee to call out a plumber, you could save yourself a significant amount of time and money in the long run.

Should I Call A Plumber To Fix My Toilet Wax Ring?

It’s really up to you, though many people would recommend that you call a plumber in this instance.

While you can follow the steps outlined in the guide above, improper installation is one of the most common reasons a wax ring fails.

If you want to commit to this process yourself, bear these tips in mind.

  • Avoid rocking the toilet back and forth as you install it – wax has no memory so that it won’t compress evenly.
  • This lack of compression can easily result in several leak paths, costing you additional time and money to repair.
  • Use a slight side-to-side twist to encourage wax compression and obtain a sufficient seal when installing.
plumber DIY fixing a toilet

Final Thoughts.

In theory, it’s easy enough to fix a toilet wax ring by yourself, but it may be slightly harder to get it right in practice. If you attempt a DIY fix, your most significant focus should be getting the seals correct.

Avoid rocking the toilet to allow wax compression for an impenetrable seal, and create a sufficient caulk to stop other liquids from making their way into your bathroom.


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