Home & Garden

Toilet leaking to lower floor

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  • Sep 2nd, 2021 2:56 pm
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12435 posts
2179 upvotes

Toilet leaking to lower floor

Moved in few months ago.

Kohler toilet

I noticed the water level of the bowl was always very low. I opened up the tank and this white hose was not going into the middle of the canister, it was off to the side. I placed it in the middle and at the same time I adjusted the float valve to rise to a slightly higher level.

Next day I notice water leaking underneath the toilet from the floor below. I can't see exactly where it's coming from.

How could my adjustments have caused this leak?
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20 replies
Deal Addict
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Sep 27, 2006
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Not so easy there Ma…
Never had a Kohler.

Check carefully for any hairline cracks in the toilet. If it's a two piece toilet check the gasket for leaks between the two. I expect the gasket may be the most likely culprit.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
Either a crack as above or the water is filling up so that it is overflowing such as from a hole. Is he water level below or at the fill line?
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12435 posts
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thriftshopper wrote: Either a crack as above or the water is filling up so that it is overflowing such as from a hole. Is he water level below or at the fill line?
When I raised the float valve at first I did it too high so water could flow over into the top of the canister. But I don't see how that could cause a leak outside the pipes?

I did lower it back down
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
slowtyper wrote: When I raised the float valve at first I did it too high so water could flow over into the top of the canister. But I don't see how that could cause a leak outside the pipes?

I did lower it back down
Could have reached the flush handle hole? Unlikely. More likely a hairline crack.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12435 posts
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Can't find any cracks anywhere.

Filled the tank and added blue food coloring. Added red to the toilet bowl. Poured water in the bowl to get it to drain and found red water in the leak below.

I'm no expert but sounds like a wax ring needs replacement. Any thoughts from anyone while I watch some wax replacement videos? Wax ring vs rubber/silicon ones?
Deal Addict
Nov 8, 2005
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slowtyper wrote: Can't find any cracks anywhere.

Filled the tank and added blue food coloring. Added red to the toilet bowl. Poured water in the bowl to get it to drain and found red water in the leak below.

I'm no expert but sounds like a wax ring needs replacement. Any thoughts from anyone while I watch some wax replacement videos? Wax ring vs rubber/silicon ones?
I literally just had this exact problem yesterday. Searching the bottom of a disgusting toilet for a crack was more than i was willing to do. I bought a new American Standard toilet and a large wax ring and replaced the whole thing. No water yet. Fingers crossed. Just replacing the wax ring is far cheaper but it may not solve your problem if there is a tiny crack in your toilet and it's disgusting to replace the old wax ring and put on a new one.
Jr. Member
Nov 11, 2018
192 posts
128 upvotes
London, ON
tim-x wrote: I literally just had this exact problem yesterday. Searching the bottom of a disgusting toilet for a crack was more than i was willing to do. I bought a new American Standard toilet and a large wax ring and replaced the whole thing. No water yet. Fingers crossed. Just replacing the wax ring is far cheaper but it may not solve your problem if there is a tiny crack in your toilet and it's disgusting to replace the old wax ring and put on a new one.
did either of you have any water leak onto the floor to give you an idea that there maybe a leak?
Deal Addict
Nov 8, 2005
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kaddu747 wrote: did either of you have any water leak onto the floor to give you an idea that there maybe a leak?
Yes I has water going through the floor staining the ceiling below. It was a very small amount of water and very difficult to figure out where the issue was.

I would have had to wait for the old toilet to dry, clean it, and flip it over with dye to figure out if it was the toilet or the wax ring or not. I wasn't doing all that to save $200 when the toilet was 14 years old anyway. I was happy to get a new toilet and avoid dealing with all that grossness.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12435 posts
2179 upvotes
tim-x wrote: Yes I has water going through the floor staining the ceiling below. It was a very small amount of water and very difficult to figure out where the issue was.

I would have had to wait for the old toilet to dry, clean it, and flip it over with dye to figure out if it was the toilet or the wax ring or not. I wasn't doing all that to save $200 when the toilet was 14 years old anyway. I was happy to get a new toilet and avoid dealing with all that grossness.
What toilet did you get? I was planning to replace the wax and just see if it solves the problem, if not replace toilet + wax again. Wastes a little more time but no grossness that I can see since you have to replace the wax either way. I don't quite understand the cleaning flipping drying part, I think I'm missing something.
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Nov 8, 2005
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slowtyper wrote: What toilet did you get? I was planning to replace the wax and just see if it solves the problem, if not replace toilet + wax again. Wastes a little more time but no grossness that I can see since you have to replace the wax either way. I don't quite understand the cleaning flipping drying part, I think I'm missing something.
I bought a cheap American Standard from Home Depot.

If you're replacing the wax ring on your current toilet you need to drain it of all the waste water, clean the grungy wax ring off the bottom and clean it all up and test it to see if there are leaks. You can only do that if it's dry.

If you buy a new toilet you're just installing a wax ring on a fresh toilet while disposing of the old toilet and not having to clean it.
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Nov 7, 2007
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Portage la Prairie
If water is seeping out from the bottom of the toilet where is sits on the floor, it should be the wax ring. Unless you want a new toilet, I'd just try replacing the wax ring first. I just changed my toilet to this one, powerful 6 liter flush and works great. https://www.homehardware.ca/en/ravenna- ... lsrc=aw.ds
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Mar 10, 2018
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does it matter?
kwk1 wrote: If water is seeping out from the bottom of the toilet where is sits on the floor, it should be the wax ring. Unless you want a new toilet, I'd just try replacing the wax ring first. I just changed my toilet to this one, powerful 6 liter flush and works great. https://www.homehardware.ca/en/ravenna- ... lsrc=aw.ds
I agree. I have done it twice. It costs may be $3 or $4 but you have to do heavy work. literally. W Hat else would it be? Other water you would see how and where it comes/goes.
Tried new coffee and doughnut. Found same old stale thing. expected bill of six bucks but it was 600 million. Big mistake so the guy said don't worry it is on the house. going back to McD.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12435 posts
2179 upvotes
tim-x wrote: I bought a cheap American Standard from Home Depot.

If you're replacing the wax ring on your current toilet you need to drain it of all the waste water, clean the grungy wax ring off the bottom and clean it all up and test it to see if there are leaks. You can only do that if it's dry.

If you buy a new toilet you're just installing a wax ring on a fresh toilet while disposing of the old toilet and not having to clean it.
I see thanks. The videos I saw, when the toilet was lifted off all the wax was stuck on the drain and they just scraped it and replaced it very quickly. Didn't consider it may be all stuck to the bottom of the toilet however didn't see a video that was like that. I'll consider it thanks.

If you didn't drain your old toilet how did you handle disposal of it through the house?
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Nov 8, 2005
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slowtyper wrote: I see thanks. The videos I saw, when the toilet was lifted off all the wax was stuck on the drain and they just scraped it and replaced it very quickly. Didn't consider it may be all stuck to the bottom of the toilet however didn't see a video that was like that. I'll consider it thanks.

If you didn't drain your old toilet how did you handle disposal of it through the house?
You drain it as much as you can. But you don't have to get it dry as you would need to check it for leaks. Take off the back, wrap up the bowl in a garbage bag and cya later.
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2007
3112 posts
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Scarborough
Not so off topic....

How do you guys deal with things like gasket, wax rings...? Leaking or not it's 5/10/15yr now...time to change?
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12435 posts
2179 upvotes
Removed the toilet. There is a plastic spacer/extender between the wax ring and the flange on the floor. Looks like it was siliconed into place. As you can see the spacer lifted right off the flange and stuck to the wax ring.

The spacer has holes to screw them down, however the screws are all rusted on top and I wasn't able to scrape a proper screw head out to remove them. I didn't want to mess with the screws too much in case I snap them or break the flange. So I just cleaned it up and siliconed in back on....

Not proud of that but just wanted to get it working again and I'll revisit this again in the future once I know how to replace a flange or at least get the proper replacement screws. can I just use deck screws as replacements? It just screws into the subfloor right??

I bought wax ring with flange but next time I won't get the flange. Read many plumbers say they don't like them and also they reduce the size and I think will increase clogs.

Will wait a day for silicone to cure before I test it out. Overall was much cleaner than expected. Didn't smell, and the wax just peeled off easily, no scraper needed. Good use to all the latex gloves accumulated during the start of covid!
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Deal Addict
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Nov 7, 2007
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Portage la Prairie
Deck screws are fine. Here’s a video I found about how to put on the spacer you never took off the toilet.


As for changing a wax ring, I don’t see a need to unless it’s leaking, but I’m not a plumber.
Sr. Member
Feb 27, 2007
608 posts
455 upvotes
Don't do any of those things, any time you're dealing with one of those spacers I find you're asking for trouble unless you know what you're doing as proven by the previous owner or plumber installing it incorrectly in the first place.

Would I would do is remove the spacer and residue from the wax ring and replace it with a Wax Free Seal kit like the Korky one you can get at Home Depot. Measure the distance between the flange and your floor; if required you can even stack two of them on top of each other but you would likely need to purchase an extended length bolt kit (will be beside the kits in the toilet repair section). I've used it to make up a fairly massive difference (like an inch and a half or so IIRC) on an improperly installed flange before and never had an issue.

https://www.korky.com/products/wax-free ... t-seal-kit
https://www.korky.com/sites/default/fil ... ctions.pdf
https://www.homedepot.ca/product/korky- ... 1001034712
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Samwfive wrote: Not so off topic....

How do you guys deal with things like gasket, wax rings...? Leaking or not it's 5/10/15yr now...time to change?
If it ain't broke/causing any issues, leave it alone.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!

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