Leaking toilet flanges can cause a variety of damage.
There is always a chance a toilet may leak around or at the base at any time. Toilets just bolt on top of the flange (a pipe fitting which connects the toilet drain to a drain pipe - see picture) that is designed to connect it to the main drain. A wax ring is an important part of what seals it, and if not properly installed, the toilet will eventually leak. It’s common for a homeowner to have a tile or flooring installer reset the toilet back on the flange, after tile work is completed.
Leaking water causes loose tiles around base of the toilet
When new tile is installed, the average height of the flooring can be much higher than the existing flange. Tile installers have a habit of using two wax rings stacked on top of each other to seal the flange to the toilet, and these seals will eventually leak. There are plastic flange extenders that will bolt to the existing flange to raise it to the proper height for a safe wax ring seal. Most tile installers aren’t aware of this repair or may not take the time to repair this correctly. Leaking water causes loose tiles around base of the toilet, and we have seen many beautiful new tile floors ruined as a result of improper installation of wax rings.
A leaking wax ring is the number one reason many toilets leak water near the base.
If the toilet rocks, or has become loose from the flange, it will leak. Uneven tile can also be the cause of a rocking toilet. When a toilet is properly installed, the plumber should always do a dry fit, without a wax ring, to insure it is solid to the floor. If there is any movement of the toilet, plastic shims can be installed under the base to prevent rocking. The problem with any movement by a toilet is that it can break the seal at the wax ring to the flange.
To leave a water leak near a toilet for any length of time can cause damage to flooring, loose tiles or even a major sewage spill under a raised floor.
When the flange is above a raised floor, you may never see the leak under the house.
These types of leaks can cause significant damage to the wood structure or sub flooring. They even can cause damage to floor joists that hold the floor up off the ground. Many times the flooring and sub flooring must be rebuilt before a leaking toilet flange repair can be completed.
Rex Plumbing & Rooter in Ventura County can repair any kind of toilet flange leak.
Water damaged plywood under properly installed tile can be removed, without removing the tile, and then rebuilt from under the raised floor. This same repair can also be done to plywood flooring on a second floor toilet flange leak with water damage. By accessing the area through the downstairs ceiling, we can replace the water damaged plywood sub flooring without damage to the existing tile.