my Old Workshop

How to stop a toilet leak (Part II)

Last time, we identified a few causes of water around your toilet. Here are some more.

If the water’s still leaking near the tank, you need to replace the tank-to-bowl gasket. To do this, shut off and disconnect the water line. Flush and drain the tank as much as possible. Then remove the tank bolts, and gently lift off the tank, laying it flat somewhere. Remove the rubber gasket on the bowl, clean the area, and replace it with a new one. Also, get new rubber washers for the tank bolts. Then reassemble.

If the water appears to be coming from around the base of the toilet, you need to replace the setting seal, the waxy gasket sealing the toilet to the drain. To do this, you might want to remove the tank to make the job less cumbersome. If you have help, you can leave it attached — but drain it. Siphon the water from the bowl and sponge it out to remove as much as you can.

Undo the nuts that hold the toilet to the floor, and use a utility knife to cut any silicone sealant around the base of the toilet. Straddle the bowl and lift it straight up, then set it on some cardboard. Now you’ll see the seal. You might want to put a rag into the drain hole to block sewer gases. Scrape away the remnants of the old setting seal from the bottom of the toilet and from around the floor flange the toilet bolts to. Now, remove your rag, set the new seal in place and replace the toilet, wiggling it a little as you set it down. Tighten the bolts gently, and hook up your water. After a day or two, tighten the bolts a little more if you can.