How to Fix a Toilet Leaking at the Base in 5 Easy Steps

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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how to fix a toilet leaking at the base

A toilet is one of the indispensable items in our house, and it could last for more than a decade when being in good care. Nevertheless, at some point in its life, your toilet may show signs of wreckage as leaks start forming beneath the toilet base.

A leaky toilet can cause flooding on the floor, make your bathroom smell and lead to costly repairs if neglected for too long. Then, you may ask “How to fix a toilet leaking at the base?”. Worry no more, we bring you … steps to resolve this issue by yourself. Let’s prepare some tools and get yourself ready to fix a leaky toilet!

Step-by-step Guidance to Fix a Toilet Leaking at the Base

What to prepare

  • A pair of gloves
  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Anti-bacterial bathroom chemical cleaner
  • Cloths, rags
  • Caulk
  • Washer, nuts, bolts, wax ring,
  • Putty knife

In dealing with water coming from underneath the toilet, the necessary thing to fix the issue immediately is to make sure the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor are tightened.

  • Use a putty knife to remove the caps on the bolts, and then use a wrench or a plier to seal them with moderate pressure to ensure they’re not too tight.

After tightening the bolts, you can check whether the toilet is fixed on the floor by holding the toilet and gently shaking it back and forth. If the toilet does not move, then it is done.

Before removing the toilet, consider getting some help/ assistance from somebody who is well-built to help you lift the toilet. They could assist you with other tasks, saving time and effort for you as well.

Step 1: Cutting the water supply & drain the water

The first task to do is to drain out all the water inside the toilet bowl and toilet tank. Find the toilet’s water valve located on the wall near the toilet, then turn it in a clockwise direction to prevent the water from flowing into the tank, and from the tank to the bowl.

Take off the tank’s lid, then flush the toilet a few times until there is no more water left inside the tank and the toilet bowl. You can hold the flush handle, but without flushing, to let the water completely drain out of the toilet tank.

Step 2: Remove the toilet


After you cut the water supply, it’s high time you removed the toilet to inspect your toilet leaking around the base!

Look at the base of the toilet and you will find the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor again.

Use a plier to unscrew the bolts. Next, slowly rock the toilet to make the wax ring break.

Then, lift your toilet and leave it on a towel or cardboard on the floor to avoid scratches, and to absorb leaked moisture around the base of the toilet.

Now you may see what is going on with your wax ring from under the toilet and on the flange. The wax ring is a ring that is made of wax, which plays as a strong seal attaching the toilet and the drain pipe. After a long time of usage, it becomes crumbled and fails to function properly.

Step 3: Replace the wax ring


Scrape off the wax ring completely to remove it from the flange and from the bottom of the toilet by using a putty knife.

You don’t have to worry if the wax ring couldn’t be used again, since you must always replace it with a new one every time you detach the toilet.

Inspect the flange to see if it’s still in good condition, no cracks observed or bent parts.

If some parts seem to have broken, you need to install a new flange. Moreover, the two bolts should be replaced with either a 1/4″ or 5/16″ type. Take your new wax ring and try to see if it fits the size of your flange and the toilet bottom.

Then, the wax ring should be placed on the two mounting bolts and be pressed gently if you choose to place it on the flange opening. You can also stick it on the toilet hole in the bottom for better sealing. However, if it’s a silicone ring, it can only be placed on the flange!

With a new wax ring, it could stop the toilet from leaking at the base.

Step 4: Install the toilet


As you have observed there is no problem left with your newly installed flange, let’s bring the toilet back to work! Hold your toilet firmly and place it on the flange. There are two bolts mounting and you should fit them through the holes of the toilet base.

Next, gently press the toilet and rock it to tightly seal it with the wax ring. Using a wrench, tighten the bolts with moderate pressure to make sure they won’t break the porcelain base.

Finally, connect the water supply by turning the water valve, and flushing the toilet several times to fill up the water tank. You might check for water around the toilet base to see if there is any leakage.

When you are sure there is no leak, use caulk as a second layer to seal the toilet and prevent toilet leaking at the base.

Step 5: Clean the toilet


For good hygiene, you can clean the toilet with an anti-bacterial bathroom chemical cleaner before using it.

Sometimes the leaks can be caused by a loosely attached toilet tank. You can notice this if your toilet is leaking when flushed only. These are some steps you can take to resolve this issue.

How to Fix a Loose Toilet Tank?

Method 1: Tightening the tank bolts

Under the toilet tank, you can see two bolts connecting the toilet bowl to the tank. Inspect if the tank is loosely attached by gently rocking it back and forth, and tighten the bolts if they are loose. After this, you may try flushing the toilet and see if there is any leakage coming from the toilet base.

Method 2: Replacing the tank or the tank-to-bottom gasket

First, you must empty the water supply in the tank, and remove the bolts to detach the tank from the toilet.

At the bottom of the toilet tank, you can see your old gasket located in the center of the drain hole. To make sure water won’t leak through the hole, replace a new gasket. Then, put the tank back and secure it by inserting the bolts and nuts.

After this, close the tank’s lid and flush to let the water refill the tank. As you flush, check the tank’s bottom to make sure there is no leakage detected.

The Reasons for the Leaking Toilet at the Base


A toilet leaking from the bottom can be explained by loosely attached bolts from the toilet base, and by the faulty wax ring that is damaged by a long time of usage.

Sometimes, when you flush and notice the toilet is leaking underneath, it is probably because of a loosely attached toilet tank.

You can identify the reasons for the leaks by checking the toilet tank, the T-bolts down the toilet base, and the wax ring. If the toilet is leaking underneath and flooding the floor, they are probably faulty and need some fixing done.

Tips to Prevent Future Toilet Leaks


Though it is not really true that a leaking toilet is an emergency, you should resolve the issue as soon as possible to reduce the chance of further damage. Getting your toilet checked by plumbers once in a while is also a good way to prevent toilet leaks.

Suppose the leaks still happen intermittently, or continuously, or there is brown liquid around the base of the toilet, which might come from down the drain pipe.

In that case, you should call a certified plumber and let them identify the issues for you to avoid further damage if you’re not confident about your plumbing knowledge.


Did you find our article helpful to you, regarding the issue “How to fix a toilet leaking at the base?” If your DIY does not work as you have hoped, don’t worry since it’s not an easy job fixing the toilet leaks yourself.

To have quality toilet replacement or plumbing services that guarantee lifelong quality and insurance for the new products, you are encouraged to contact a professional plumber!

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