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Tips for Fixing a Leaking Toilet Bowl

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by Jeff Patterson in Bathroom Plumbing
Leaking Toilet Bowl Tips

Is there anything worse than a leaking toilet bowl?

YUCK!!!

Unfortunately this has happened to us.

Let me say this…

…never EVER double up the wax ring.

Today’s tutorial shows you how to fix a leaking toilet bowl for less than $9.

I promise it’s easy and you won’t have to call a plumber.

 

Leaky Toilet Bowl Supplies

Let’s cut to the chase,

If your toilet bowl is leaking it’s due to

  1. Wax ring failure
  2. Closet flange problems
  3. Or, a cracked bowl

All three are straight forward fixes…most of the time.

Here are the supplies you need

Let’s start with a brief explanation of closet flange options.

 

Why is the Closet Flange So Important?

Why do you need your neck?

It supports your head.

The same goes for closet flanges,

they support the toilet.

ALSO: the closet flange is where you put your wax ring.

If the closet flange is broken the wax ring won’t seal the toilet properly.

Without a good closet flange you’d have dirty toilet water on your nice floor.

Fortunately you’ve got several options when it comes to flanges.

This one is for new construction and can be attached to PVC waste stacks

Standard PVC Flange

If you want your toilet to be farther away from the wall you can use an offset flange

Offset Closet Flange

Cast iron flanges often crack or corrode.

Use a gasketed closet flange like this one to remedy your situation.

The tailpiece of this flange has a gasket which goes down into the cast iron waste stack.

Cast Iron Flange

You can also buy replacement metal flanges.

Toilet Flange Repair Ring

If your closet flange is cracked or broken you should fix it.

Knowing your options helps a ton…and that’s the big reason for my closet flange summary.

Do you know the age of your wax ring?

If you don’t it probably is the cause of a toilet bowl leak.

BUT: which type should you buy?

 

What You Ought to Know About Wax Rings…Seriously Read THIS

A few years back we replaced our hardwood floor.

The installer (yes, I paid a pro to do this) doubled up the wax ring.

He did this because the new hardwood was higher than the closet flange.

Six months later we had a nice toilet bowl leak.

Fortunately the toilet was on the first floor and dripped into the garage.

Could you imagine if this was a toilet above your kitchen.

GROSS

Look:

The installer did a great job with the hardwood but shouldn’t have doubled the wax ring.

Instead, we should have added a closet flange spacer ring.

Closet Flange Spacer Rings

These rings come in 1/4″ and 1/2″ increments.

Apply 100% silicone caulk to the clean closet flange and extender ring.

Place the ring on the closet flange and screw it to the finished floor or subfloor.

Caulking Spacer Ring

RULE of thumb:

raise the height of the closet flange so it’s 1/4″ above the finished floor.

That way the wax ring won’t compress and create a gap between it and the toilet bowl.

Ideally the closet flange should be secured to top of the finished floor.

But sometimes this isn’t possible.

Especially if you aren’t moving the waste stack.

When you choose your new wax ring get one that DOESN’T have a plastic horn

Instead, get a plain wax ring like this one

Wax Ring

Over the last 14 years of being a homeowner and landlord I’ve learn tons of tips.

My video shares several more…

…for example,

how can you remove a toilet bowl without spilling one drop of water AND

what do you do if your closet flange nuts won’t budge?

DO you have to break the toilet bowl?

Check out my video for these tips — the first 10 seconds are meant to make you laugh

 

What’s Next

We installed the American Standard VorMax toilet in another bathroom and the performance has been awesome.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and want to simplify the process enroll into the Bathroom Repair Tutor Video Library

We show how to build showers (Schluter, Wedi, Curbless, etc.), install tile, upgrade basement bathrooms, and more.

The extra guidance is invaluable

Enroll Today

 

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

8 Comments
  1. Susan Cralle says:

    You are always such a wealth of information! While I don’t need to replace a toilet now, I watch for the knowledge I know I will need at a later time. I also appreciate how you go through so many different styles of items. So helpful.
    By the way, thanks for washing your hands…..always a good habit! LOL!

    1. You’re the best Susan, thanks so much.

      You seriously made my day.

      A long time ago my amazing Mom taught me to wash my hands…and always use the bathroom before long trips, lol

  2. dan says:

    I also like the different options explained. Very thorough for us DIYers. Thanks.

    1. There are a ton of different options, my pleasure to help in any way Dan

  3. Alison says:

    How about how to fix a leaking toilet tank? I’ve had a toilet in a spare bathroom that’s been on my “to-do” list to fix for months now that thanks you in advance 🙂

    1. Ah, leaking toilet tanks are a pain but not too had to fix.

      Check out this tutorial Alison, I think you’ll like it

      http://hrtllc.wpengine.com/how-to-fix-a-running-toilet/

  4. John W says:

    We had wood floors – they were replaced by a wet set and 7/16 tile – so now PVC offset flange is 1.5 -2″ below floor – everything I find in internet does for solutions does not address an offset flange – I looked at spacers – but it seems these may limit flow – so my question is – can the spaces shown below – be stacked 4-5 high – over a offset flange?
    thanks

    1. John W says:

      I should add- its a 3″ pipe.

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