Water leaking under your toilet base when showering is not only annoying, but it can also lead to some serious damage to your bathroom floor if left unchecked.
So what’s causing this problem, and more importantly, how can you fix it? Read on to find out.
Reason 1: There is a Clog Between the Toilet and the Sewer.
If you noticed water leaking from the toilet base when showering, there is likely a clog somewhere between the toilet and the sewer.
This clog can be caused by anything from soap scum to tree roots, and it can cause water to back up and leak out around the base of your toilet.
If you think you may have a clog, follow the steps below;
Step 1: Pour Boiling Water Into the Toilet Bowl.
To clear a clog, start by pouring boiling water down the toilet bowl. Boiling water is often enough to break up soap scum and other small blockages, allowing them to flush away easily. You can also use vinegar or baking soda in place of boiling water.
Step 2: Use a Plunger.
Next, use a plunger to plunge the weakened clog. Start by covering the drain hole with the plunger cup and then plunge up and down until the clog is cleared.
Step 3: Use a Drain Snake.
If plunging doesn’t do the trick, you may need to use a drain snake. Start by feeding the drain snake down the drain until you feel it hit the clog.
Then, turn the handle to rotate the snake and break up the clog. Once you’ve broken up the clog, continue feeding the snake down the drain until it’s completely clear.
If your toilet is still leaking after following these steps… move on to the second reason.
Reason 2: A Faulty Wax Ring.
One of the most common reasons for water leakage from under your toilet base is a faulty wax ring. The wax ring is a donut-shaped seal made of wax that sits between your toilet bowl and drains pipe.
Its purpose is to create a watertight seal so that any water or waste flowing down the drain pipe doesn’t leak out.
Over time, however, the wax ring can become dry, cracked, or otherwise damaged, which can cause it to lose its effectiveness and allow water to seep through. This will cause water to escape out of the toilet base in small quantities when showering.
Fortunately, replacing a wax ring is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project that anyone can handle with just a few tools and supplies.
All you’ll need is a new wax ring (which you can pick up at any hardware store), a putty knife, and a screwdriver. Follow these steps;
Step 1: Turn off the Water Supply.
Before you do anything else, you’ll need to turn off the water supply to your toilet so that you don’t accidentally flood your bathroom while working on the repairs.
Usually, there will be a knob or lever located near where the water supply line comes into your bathroom—just turn it off until it won’t go any further to shut off the flow of water.
Then flush your toilet several times until all the water has been emptied from both the tank and bowl.
Step 2: Remove the Toilet Bowl.
Once the water is turned off and all the remaining water has been flushed out, it’s time to remove the toilet bowl so that you can access the wax ring.
Start by unscrewing and removing all bolts or screws holding down the bowl (there should be two or three).
Once those are removed, gently rock the bowl back and forth until it comes loose from its moorings—then lift it straight up to remove it completely.
Step 3: Clean Up Any Remaining Wax.
Now that you have access to the old wax ring, remove it and use a putty knife to scrape away any remaining residue before discarding it in the trash.
Once all traces of old wax have been removed, use a rag dampened with vinegar or bleach solution to clean up any dirt or grime around the flange (the metal collar surrounding your drain pipe).
Step 4: Install Your New Wax Ring.
With everything prepped and ready, it’s now time to install your new wax ring. Just set it in place making sure that it’s centered over the top of the flange—then press down firmly so that it makes good contact all around.
Once it’s in place, reattach your toilet bowl using your screws or bolts (don’t forget to put on new washers if yours are looking worn).
Step 5: Turn On Your Water Supply, Open the Shower & Test for Leaks.
Once everything is back in place and tightens down securely, turn on your water supply at the shutoff valve and the shower—if everything went according to plan, no more leaks!
After replacing the wax ring, if there are still leaks, it may be a broken toilet flange.
Reason 3: A Broken Toilet Flange.
If you’re still experiencing leaks even after replacing your wax ring, then the next most likely culprit is a broken toilet flange.
The flange is the metal collar that surrounds your drain pipe and connects your toilet to the ground. In addition to holding everything in place, it also creates a seal so that water can’t escape.
A broken flange can be caused by any number of things—from shifting foundations to faulty installation techniques.
And while it might not seem like a big deal, even a small crack or gap can cause leaks. If you think your flange might be damaged, there are a few telltale signs to look out for:
- Water leakage around the base of your toilet bowl.
- The bowl is loose or wobbly (indicating that it’s not properly attached).
- Corrosion or rust on the flange.
If you notice any of these issues, then it’s time to replace your flange. Just follow these steps;
Step 1: Remove the Toilet Bowl (Again).
Since you’ve already removed the toilet bowl once before, this part should be a breeze.
Step 2: Cut Away Old Flange.
With the toilet bowl removed, you should now have clear access to the old flange. Use a power drill fitted with a metal cutting blade attachment to cut through any screws or bolts holding the flange in place. Once everything is detached, use your putty knife to pry the flange up and out of its hole.
Step 3: Clean Up Any Remaining Debris.
Once the old flange has been removed, take a few minutes to clean up any remaining debris around the area. This will help prepare the surface for your new flange and ensure that it sits evenly.
Step 4: Install Your New Flange.
With everything prepped and ready, it’s now time to install your new flange. Just line it up with the hole in your floor—then press down firmly so that it makes good contact all around.
Once it’s in place, use your screws or bolts (with new washers if necessary) to reattach and secure everything.
Step 5: Turn On Your Showers & Test for Leaks.
Once everything is back in place and tightens down securely, test for leaks—if everything went according to plan, no more leaks!
If there are still leaks after replacing the flange… then inspect your toilet bowl for cracks or chips.
Reason 4: A Cracked Toilet Bowl.
In some cases, the damage isn’t with the flange or wax ring at all—it’s with the toilet bowl itself. While porcelain toilets are incredibly durable, they’re not indestructible. And if your toilet takes a hard enough hit, it can crack or chip.
These cracks can then lead to leaks since they provide an opening for water to escape. If your toilet has any cracks, it’s best to seal them up.
Repairing a cracked toilet bowl is a straightforward process. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Empty the Toilet Bowl, Detach & Dry Off the Surface.
The first thing you’ll need to do is empty your toilet bowl, detach from the ground, and give it a good dry-off. This will help ensure that the epoxy sticks properly and doesn’t slide around when you’re trying to apply it.
Step 2: Sand Down the Surface.
Once the cracked surface is dry, use some sandpaper to rough up the edges of the crack. This will help create a better bond for the epoxy.
Step 3: Apply Epoxy Putty to the Crack.
Mix your epoxy putty according to the package directions—then apply it directly into the crack. Use your putty knife or another flat object to smooth it out and make sure that it’s evenly distributed. You want there to be a nice, thick layer covering the entire crack.
Note: Be sure to follow all package directions when using epoxy putty. Some types need to be mixed while others come ready to use right out of the package.
Step 4: Let It Dry & Cure.
Now it’s time to let the epoxy putty do its thing. Just let it sit until it dries completely and cures according to the package directions.
Once it’s dry, it should be hard and durable—able to withstand just about anything your toilet bowl can throw at it!
Step 5: Test for Leaks.
Once the epoxy has dried and cured, attach it back to the ground and connect everything. Then test for leaks.
If there are still leaks present after following these steps…you may need to buy a new toilet bowl.
Water leaking under a toilet base when showering can be an infuriating problem. Fortunately, this issue typically has a straightforward fix—either replacing the flange or repairing a cracked toilet bowl.
And with the right tools and materials in hand, you should be able to accomplish either of these tasks in no time. Good luck fixing your leaking issues!
After all said and done, if your toilet is still leaking after following all the solutions written in this article, you will need to call in a professional plumber for help since there could be other issues at play.