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Complete Guide to Dealing With Toilet Flange Leaks

Did you just walk into a puddle on your bathroom floor? Is there water pooling around the toilet? You might have a leaky toilet flange.

You came to the right place if you don’t know much about a toilet flange. Your toilet flange, sometimes called a closet flange, is a watertight seal attachment on your bathroom floor. It secures the connection between the toilet and bathroom flooring.

Key Points in this Article

Everything You Need To Know About Your Toilet Flange

There are plenty of potential reasons your toilet is doing what it’s doing. We’re here to help you get to the root of the issues.

Let’s familiarize ourselves with all the parts of the toilet. It will help you figure out where the leak comes from much faster.

Toilet Bowl

We sit on the toilet seat atop the toilet bowl rim. The standard toilet bowl doesn’t hold much except the seat and water from the supply line.

If it’s leaking, the toilet bowl must have cracks or holes.

Toilet Tank

The toilet tank sits against the back wall and is opposite the bowl. Inside, it holds many different and vital components.

A toilet trip lever on the tank triggers lower components to drain the water. You probably know it as the flusher; some are levers you pull, and some are buttons you press.

All kinds of flushers carefully lift flappers in the tank and at the base of the toilet to allow water down drain pipes through the floor flange and into sewer lines. A leak from the tank may mean problems with the fill valve.

If the water doesn’t stop coming into the tank through the fill valve after you shut off the supply line, there may be too much pressure against the valve seat.

Toilet Base

The base of the toilet holds the bowl up and sits atop the wax ring and closet flange. Any issues with the floor flange, closet bolt, and wax ring will directly affect the toilet base.

It can knock off its hinges, causing the toilet base to rock. Each time you get on or off the toilet loosens the connection of the toilet base and scratches your finished flooring.

A finished floor is sealed with a waterproof glaze, preventing moisture from compromising the integrity of your tiles. However, too many abrasions on your finished floor can allow moisture to seep into your bathroom tiles, causing water stains on ceilings underneath.

Remember to lay down a plastic or cardboard sheet around your toilet before working on anything in your upstairs bathrooms. It keeps water from traveling into your downstairs ceiling if there are noticeable chips in your tiles.

You can use a putty knife (or utility knife) against silicone caulk to separate the toilet base from the floor before unscrewing closet bolts. If you use a utility knife, don’t scratch at the caulk with too much force, or you’ll damage your floor.

After removing the caulk and closet bolts and carefully lifting the base off, you will expose the floor flange. Here, you can make careful inspections and assessments to determine the state of your wax ring and flange.

Toilet Flange

The toilet flange should be clean and dry. There may be one or two wax rings, with some plumbers using an extra wax ring as flange extenders. A different plastic ring may also be on top, securing the wax ring into the outer flange.

A wax ring should have no gaps, tears, or corrosion.

If the wax ring is whole, there should be no residual wax on your flange. Whether it’s a metal or PVC floor flange, wax residue can entirely saturate it.

Toilet Flange Nuts

Toilet flange nuts and bolts hold everything together. All screws should be locked in place and evenly level with one another.

However, if one bolt spins out of place, it’s enough to throw your entire toilet off its base.

Wax Ring vs. Toilet Flange

The toilet flange isn’t the same as the wax ring. The ring is a wax seal in the floor flange, and together they make the toilet flange.

A faulty or broken flange may be attributed to a loose or worn-out wax seal. However, flaws in the foundation, like an uneven floor, may also cause the toilet’s base to leak.

How To Tell if Your Toilet Is Leaking at the Flange

The most notable sign of a leaking toilet flange is water pooling on the floor at the base of your toilet. The leak could be caused by several different pieces of hardware around the flange, like the wax ring and flange bolts.

The state of your wax ring is of the utmost importance. Issues with bolts may cause a wonky toilet bowl. Any loose flange bolts or saturated bolt holes may cause a water leak, but not as many as your wax rings would.

The wax ring affects all surrounding components. If the wax ring is worn out, it may allow water to flow into the flange’s outer layers, including toilet bolts.

Leaking water into old cast iron toilet bolts may cause rust and corrosion. It can scratch into silicone caulk and finished flooring, creating abrasions water can leak through or produce debris that may seep into your toilet drain.

They are a part of the domino effect from various components that impact your entire flange. The pressure of your water supply may also affect flange bolts, wax rings, and toilet shims.

Toilet shims are not mandatory installations in a standard wax ring or closet flange. However, you can integrate them into fixtures and furniture in any living space for stabilization. You can slip toilet shims into your existing toilet to fill gaps if you have uneven flooring and don’t have the means to install a flange extender.

A leaking toilet is bothersome, but it can be more concerning to think of the endless possibilities behind why it’s leaking.

What To Do if You Have a Toilet Flange Leak

If there’s excess water around the toilet, chances are it’s coming from your closet flange. A faulty or old wax ring may not be able to seal toilet water into the drain pipe and cause a leaky toilet or water stains on your downstairs ceiling.

The original flange may also be saturated with wax residue and unable to facilitate the connection of your toilet to the floor. You need to attach a new wax ring and ensure it’s tight enough to seal off the water flow where the toilet meets the bathroom floor.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Turn the shut-off valve in the opposite direction. (This closes off your water supply line so you can safely work on the components at the base of the toilet.)
  2. Replace or clean the old flange.
  3. Purchase a new wax ring.
  4. Secure the bottom of the toilet with the new wax ring and floor flange.

If your bathroom floor is uneven, look for a toilet flange extender you can use on your existing flange. It would help if you also looked into your flange bolts and tank bolts.

Common Toilet Troubles With a Broken Flange or Wax Ring

Here are the most common toilet troubles homeowners encounter. If there are any underlying problems with your toilet flange, one or more of these issues should come up.

Toilet Leaks

The leaking toilet indicates faulty components. Your toilet leaking from the base means trouble with your toilet flange.

Significant issues with your closet flange will result in more water pooling around the toilet, expediting any possible water damage.

The Base of the Toilet Rocks

A leaking toilet is one thing, but rocking while it does is doubly troublesome.

Your toilet crashing into the floor with a running water supply can cause significant water and structural damage.

Foul Smells

Without a wax ring sealing the drain, sewage will leak into your bathroom’s floor and produce foul odors.

If there isn’t noticeable water around the toilet, it may have dried into rugs or grout. However, the moisture leaves distinct odors that only worsen over time.

What You Should Do About Your Toilet?

Routine maintenance prevents hard-to-notice issues from snowballing into bigger ones you can’t ignore. Any excess water on your floor should be addressed, especially near your toilet.

Here are some things you can do to remedy minor flange issues.

Quick Fixes & DIY Home Remedies

Nothing beats a professional’s touch, but you can conduct minor repairs with a little care and concentration. However, you’ll need the proper tools first.

What do you need?

Use a large sponge to soak up the water and lay down an absorbent sheet before you get to work. Depending on what the repair is, you may also need pliers, scrapers, plumber’s putty, and replacement parts.

What you can do?

For problems with your toilet flange, dismantling your toilet and replacing parts underneath without proper tools and expertise is ill-advised. The most you can do safely is tighten loose screws, regrout the seal on your toilet base, and call the professionals.

Trust the Experts!

You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t settle for amateurs or unknown professionals if you’re worried about unreliable plumbers causing damage and creating more problems.

Trust prominent contractors with unbiased client recommendations. Larger companies are less likely to compromise their reputation by cutting costs and stressing clients.

If you want reliable and efficient maintenance in Florida, choose Mac 5 Services.

Mac 5 Services: Plumbing | Cooling | Electric | Heating | Drains

We’ll find the source of your problems with our reliable leak detection service.

We can deal with any plumbing repair your home needs and help with their upkeep with our dedicated plumbing maintenance.

Check out our plumbing services to find what you need, or contact us for consultation and scheduling.

Call the Mac 5 Services team at (321) 244-7500 today.

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