6 Steps to Fix a Toilet Leaking at the Base

Play Video

Table of Contents


Dealing with a toilet leak can be frustrating, even for experienced homeowners. Even so, water leaks are common home repairs that can often be resolved with a little plumbing knowledge and a little do it yourself spirit.


Because all homes are equipped with at least one toilet, there is a good chance that homeowners will eventually need to replace or repair parts as they wear down over time. The important thing to remember is to remain calm. Some issues are truly emergencies, but not all repairs should cause you to start searching for a nearby plumber.


For all plumbing maintenance and emergencies, find a plumber in Desoto, TX. Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating is the one to contact. Give us a call at (469) 518 – 2809. 

DIY Plumbing for a Leaking Toilet

When it comes to DIY repairs, a leaking toilet is generally one of the easier tasks to tackle. This is because toilets are among the simplest appliances that can be found in your home. In its simplest terms, water enters the bowl from the tank and is flushed down your main line. Because of this simplicity, finding the root cause of leaks can be found with a little patience.


Before you start ripping your toilet out of the floor, look for less invasive solutions. Here are six steps to help you resolve your leaking toilet.

1. Check for Condensation

You may have noticed that toilet water is not heated. In fact it can be much colder than the surrounding air temperature in your home, especially during the hot summer months here in north Texas. In turn, the cold water makes the bowl cold. As the air around the outside of the toilet warms up or is saturated with humidity, condensation can form and drip to the floor. 


Condensation will be unlike any of the other causes, as it will not be concentrated at the base of the toilet. Typically, it will form higher up on the exterior bowl or tank. To avoid condensation buildup try these tips:

  • Turn on the bathroom fan
  • Take shorter, cooler showers
  • Insulate the water tank
  • Check for a faulty flapper

Condensation will not happen immediately, so give it plenty of time before taking further action or reaching out for plumbing repair.

2. Tighten Tee Bolts

After checking for condensation, next double check the tee bolts that secure your toilet to the floor. You may be surprised that the toilet is only attached by two bolts, located on the sides near the base. Look for the small white knob. These covers are purely aesthetic and should just pop off.


Take an adjustable wrench and tighten down the nuts that are threaded on each bolt. By tightening the toilet to the ground, you are compressing a wax ring creating a water-tight seal with the flange that connects to your main line. Take care to ratchet down the nut slowly, alternating between the two. Tightening one side down first can prevent the ring from creating a proper seal.


Once tightened, dry the area and flush the toilet. Let it sit for another 15 minutes. If you don’t see any water leaks, you will know that your issue has been resolved. If water begins to pool up, you can move to the next troubleshooting tip.

3. Remove the Toilet

The next troubleshooting solution will be a bit more invasive and homeowners should consider consulting with a plumber to avoid any emergency issues. For those that choose to DIY, the process is not overwhelming but having an extra pair of hands will certainly help as you remove the toilet.


Before unbolting the toilet from the floor, turn off the water and disconnect the water line that connects at the base of the tank. Place extra towels around the base as you will need to get rid of any lingering water in the bowl or tank. Then flush to empty any remaining water.


Next you will need to remove the nuts that secure the tee bolts at the base. For older toilets this can be more problematic as they can corrode over time. The bolts are easily replaceable so use a hacksaw for easy removal of stubborn bolts. Once the nuts are removed, the entire toilet can be removed and placed on it’s side.

4. Remove and Replace the Wax Ring

With the toilet securely on its side, you will now have access to the wax ring. Unless the ring is severely damaged, chances are you will need to pry it off of the bottom of the toilet. The easiest way to do this is with a utility or putty knife.


Before installing the new wax ring, make sure that all remnants of the older ring are removed. Even a small amount can cause a gap and result in future leaks.


Once you are ready to install the new ring, make sure that the cone shaped side is pointing down. When compressed this will flare out, creating a water-tight seal.

5. Reinstall the Toilet

Now that the parts have been replaced, we can begin to work backwards, retracing our steps to reinstall the toilet. If you had to cut the bolts when removing the toilet, you will now want to insert the replacement bolts before mounting the toilet back in place.


Work with your partner to place the toilet back over the bolts and carefully place over the flange. Tighten down the nuts on both sides of the toilet to get the proper seal.

6. Reconnect the Water and Test

The final step is to reconnect the water to the tank. Once the line is secure, turn your water back on and wait for the tank to fill up. Take this time to double check that the area around the toilet is dry. 


Once full, flush the toilet and inspect the area around the base of the toilet. If the leak has been resolved, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.


If the problem persists, a call for bathroom plumbing services is the best option. Getting trained eyes on the issue may uncover additional issues that need to be addressed.

Finding a Plumber in Desoto, TX

Even the most experienced homeowner needs to have a team that can be trusted when problems surpass the DIY stage. Turning to a trusted source saves time and helps with peace of mind.


Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating has served the residents of the Dallas area for over 50 years. Our team of professional, licensed plumbers can tackle everything from maintenance to emergency plumbing repairs.


Call us at (469) 240-5618 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with our team.



Request Service

Fill out the form below and a member of our team will reach out to you as soon as possible.