Toilet water damage can cost $5,000 and up (and that’s on top of the deductible). Lay the bathroom floor according to the type of flooring you're using. ... Make sure you tighten the bolts as much as you can, as loose or damaged bolts can cause wobbly toilets. 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. Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with first-hand knowledge in solving home plumbing problems. Measure the distance between the floor joists at the area of the riser. You must unseat the toilet, scrape off the old wax ring and inspect the floor flange for damage. His hobbies include horses, motorcycles, road racing and sport fishing. Do a Leak Check. Each block is 3 inches from the corresponding side of the riser. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Any access below the floor? Rocking is for concerts and chairs—not toilets. “Eleven years later I find the toilet, flooring and subfloor all failing because of the sag in the floor, created by sawing through an I-beam joist that runs the length of the house,” Tackitybits says in a post at Fine Homebuilding’s Breaktime forum. If it still rocks, proceed with shimming the base. The solution is to remove the toilet and either replace the old flange or repair it with a flange repair kit. In basements, stand a stepladder at the area below the toilet. If tightening the flange bolts or shimming the toilet base doesn't stop your toilet from rocking, there might be more significant problems down below. Check the flange bolt at each side of the toilet, using a pair of pliers or a small wrench. In 35 years, he's gained expertise in all phases of residential construction, retrofit and remodeling. Score the floor tiles with a tile cutter or angle grinder to allow the bedding to set on a roughened surface to ensure adequate binding. Start the repair by confirming that your toilet is not leaking. Repeat until the toilet doesn't move in any direction. If a bolt is loose, tighten it slowly just until it is snug. Do this carefully! Lower the toilet back in alignment with … Contact a mold remediation contractor and have the mold controlled before installing the blocking. Cut at least a few inches past the rotted wood under the toilet wood floor area with a... Make Your Measurements. In this case, you must remove the toilet and replace the wax ring. This fixture has been in place since 2010 … Most likely a wax ring has been leaking and rotted out the floor. He studied architecture at Taft Junior College. The best shims for this project are small, plastic shims with ridges that help the shims stay in place. If this is the case, each time the toilet flushes, drain water may seep out around the base of the toilet. Where space is confined, attach the blocks to the joists with two toenails at each end. 6. If water is not present, you can proceed with the repair. Carefully mark the outline of the area to be covered by the toilet pan. Besides possibly contaminating the floor, the water can soak in and eventually rot the subfloor and the joists. Access a crawl space or basement and locate the plumbing drain below the toilet. This shutoff … Turn off the toilet valve and flush the toilet to drain the tank. Put masking tape on either side of the joint, one following the toilet’s base and the other along the floor. Install each block between the floor joists at each side of the riser with a hammer. How to Install a Precut Deck Stair Stringer, How to Attach Floor Joists to a Concrete Block House, Fine Homebuilding: How to Install a Toilet. 8. Level and steady the toilet by inserting shims into any gaps you've identified. Don’t use the caulk to secure the toilet to the floor if it’s loose or uneven. Examine the base of the toilet, and identify any gaps between the toilet and the floor. Place the nozzle of the open caulk tube in the crack between the toilet base and the top of the floor. Then one day the ceiling under the toilet fell in. Let the caulk dry overnight before trimming the shims. DIYers often set the toilet and then apply a tiny bead of caulk along the outside edge. The base of a toilet is held to the floor with two tee-bolts threaded up from the mounting ring through holes in the base of the toilet. (I used four pencils under the pan, located at the "four corners" so that it sat level in its final position ). Put the toilet back in place and reattach it to the floor. In older bathrooms and bathrooms that have endured a leaking toilet, the wood subfloor beneath the fixture can weaken and become spongy. Even a small space can be the source of the problem. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. You do this from below in a crawl space or a basement. Tightening the bolts too much can crack the brittle porcelain of the toilet, for which there is no repair. Add 1/16 inch to ensure the blocks fit tightly. Apply a generous amount of adhesive on one of the 2-inch-wide edges of each block. To make the floor studier, install additional wood blocks between the joists at the area of the riser. Replace them, if necessary. Mix well with a trowel or drill and mixing … Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Tub and tile caulk (color-matched to your toilet and flooring). The ring can corrode or break, loosening its grip on the bolts. Toilets mount atop a plumbing flange that’s installed between two floor joists. Straddle the toilet and lift up to remove it. To fix the toilet down, squirt a generous amount of the Sikaflex adhesive under the gap. I tightened the line. If necessary, smooth the caulk with your finger, wiping your finger clean frequently with a paper towel or a rag. The primary cause of water underneath your bathroom tiles is a leak. And when they do, it ain’t pretty. Apply a thin, even bead of caulk around the base of the toilet to cover the gap along the floor and hide the shims. I looked under the house and found a pool of water, the underbelly sagging way down and what felt like a manifold about to poke through that was also corroded. The contractor will remove the damaged sections and add supporting blocks of wood parallel and perpendicular to the affected floor joists to make sure the floor joists remain strong. A vertical drain line, known as a riser, attaches at the lower end of the flange. After the floor and toilet are dry, you can install the new wax ring. Once it dries fully, your toilet should be as good as new. Install a tube of construction adhesive in a caulking gun. Remove any dust or loose materials from the tiles. ! If the base of the toilet is not dry, you may have a leak. This is Home Inspector 101 and should have been in the presale report. Keep an eye on the girder so that it does not get out of position and try to roll. Place it under the toilet so it sits on a flat surface, and cut a hole in the center of the plywood for the closet flange. Toilets should be caulked to the floor to prevent side-to-side movement that can break the wax seal (and to prevent splashes or overflows from puddling under the toilet and rotting the floor). ... lift the pan approximately 8mm from the floor using suitable packing pieces. Toilets usually rock because they are not resting flush against the floor. If only the area directly below the flange is rotted, you can install a two-piece steel closet flange support. Caulk is important for a finished look and to keep mop water and crud from getting under the toilet base, but if you seal all the way around the base, the caulk can hide a leak by trapping the water. Homeowner story: “I had noticed the toilet rocking slightly for a few years, but I kept putting off the repair. Disconnect the flex... Cut Away the Rotten Wood. Turn water off to the toilet by closing the valve on the water line behind it. Start the repair by confirming that your toilet is not leaking. You then need to replace the wax ring. Put the toilet back in place and tighten with the t-bolts. Secure the blocks in place with two, 16-penny framing nails at each end. If the gaps are too small to see, try sliding a shim under the base to see how far it goes in. Loose flooring near the tub or damp floors in adjoining rooms (if the tub is on a concrete slab). How to Properly Set a Toilet to Prevent Leaks, 10 Tips for Installing a Kohler Highline Toilet, Common Toilet Problems You Can Fix Yourself, How to Fix a Toilet That Leaks Around the Base, How to Troubleshoot and Fix Ceiling Leaks, How to Repair a Leaking Pressure-Assisted Toilet, How to Fix Mortar Gaps in a Fireplace Firebox. In the worst-case scenario, the damage is so severe that the floor gives way, sending the bath tub, toilet or shower stall crashing down to the floor below. If the toilet is too … It may help to rock the toilet from side to side. It goes under the flange and transfers the load of the flange and toilet (and you) out onto more solid surrounding wood. Check the other bolt to make sure it is equally snug, then test the toilet for rocking. Allow the caulk to cure as directed before using the toilet. This will ensure the final subfloor is level as well. If your toilet is wobbly or loose but not leaking, this quick fix might be just what you need. Toilet drains are 3-or 4-inch in diameter and have a P-trap below the toilet. They are commonly sold at home centers, hardware stores, and restaurant supply stores. Be careful not to cut into the flooring. Sometimes a rocking toilet can be fixed by tightening the two bolts at the base of the toilet, called flange bolts or closet bolts. Wood shims are not recommended because they can compress over time and are vulnerable to moisture damage. Block under each one until there is just enough room to fit the girder between the jacks and the joists. Mold often grows in hidden places. The bolts that secure the base of the toilet to the floor might be loose. Applying caulk around the base of the toilet … Check carefully for … Diagnosing hidden leaks can be tricky, but there are tips that can help. 2 MIX THE SAND & CEMENT Add one 20kg bag of Sand & Cement to a large bucket and add 3.5 litres of clean water. At the very least, a clogged main sewer drain pipe may cause wastewater and raw sewage to back up through a floor drain into the … However, you may be able to file a claim under specific circumstances. In most cases, an assistant makes the job easier. When new tile is installed, the average height of the flooring can be much higher than the existing flange. I don't even know where to begin with resolving this issue, and I really can't afford to hire a contractor. Toilets are heavy, so use your legs to lift. What’s worse is that one third of toilet catastrophes started with a clogged or overflowing toilet – something that can be easily avoided if proper toilet maintenance is performed. In a perfect world, your toilet would never leak. This problem can develop over time, such as when caulk hardens or when a surrounding floor settles a little. But if there are signs of leaking around the base, it likely means that the wax ring sealing the toilet horn to the toilet flange has become old and compressed. How to Repair the Floor Under a Toilet Remove the Toilet. Your contractor will also check to make sure the floor joists aren't sagging and are level. But before you try that, make sure the bolts at the base of the toilet are snug. A vertical riser attaches between the p-trap and underside of the toilet flange. Not only will this help you get a straighter, smoother seal, but it will prevent any caulk from getting on your floors. In any case, you can steady the toilet by shimming under its base. Leaking water causes loose tiles around base of the toilet. If not, you should file the claim like any … A step by step video of how to repair the floor under your toilet, replace it, put new flooring, trim, set the toilet etc. Slowly jack up the floor. If your rocking comes back after ​a while, or if the bolts loosen up and won't retighten, a damaged flange is likely the cause. You may have to try them in a few different positions to properly level the toilet. Richard Epstein is a licensed master plumber with over 40 years experience in residential and commercial plumbing. I found the cold water line at the faucet leaking, dripping and running down the grey pipe (Pb) into the floor. Some bathroom fixtures are plumbed into the main line underneath the floor, so if any of these connections become loose, water can end up collecting beneath your tiled floor. If the flange is a little higher than the surrounding flooring, the toilet becomes raised slightly in the center, allowing it to rock to either side. When the flange is above a raised floor, … Drive the nails 1 inch from the end of a block, into the inner face of the joist at a 45-degree angle. Floor rot, because it can be prevented by regular maintenance, often falls under the "normal wear and tear" or "negligence" exclusions in your insurance contract. William Machin began work in construction at the age of 15, while still in high school. 3. This main sewer drain pipe under the yard is connected to the main drain inside the house, which accepts the wastewater from the individual branch drains serving each plumbing fixture, including sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets, as well as the washing machine. In older bathrooms and bathrooms that have endured a leaking toilet, the wood subfloor beneath the fixture can weaken and become spongy. Fix your loose wobbling or rocking toilet in 2 minutes using less than $2 dollars! Underneath the toilet base is a round toilet flange that connects the toilet to the drain pipe. The bolts or seals where the toilet tank connects to the base are loose; The toilet’s water supply line is leaking ... Use a scraper to remove the old wax ring from the floor and toilet as well as disinfectant to clean around the area. Now is a good time to inspect the soil pipe and toilet flange for damage or wear. You can add a dab of caulk below the shims to help them stay in place. As you work, check the toilet for stability by sitting on the seat and rocking in all directions. Clean the floor area and toilet base so there is no grease to prevent proper adhesion. Look for Leaks. Drive the lower edge of a block upward with the hammer until the upper edge with the adhesive is firmly against the underside of the subfloor. If these bolts are loose, the toilet may rock, breaking the seal formed by the wax ring. Drive the nails through the outer face of a joist and into the corresponding end of a block. The floor in one of my bathrooms is sagging. “The joist was cut to make room for the PVC waste pipe for the toilet. The toilet has become unstable and now a small crack has appeared in the bathtub. Inspect the closet flange for damage. Trim the shims close to the base of the toilet, as needed, using a sharp utility knife. Apply masking tape to the floor. For hard or vinyl tiles, tile from … The flange bolts that secure the toilet base are themselves held by a metal or plastic ring at the top of the toilet flange. Step 1 Review your policy paperwork to determine whether or not wood rot and water damage are specifically excluded from your coverage. Put on safety glasses and work gloves. Going to have to pull the toilet out to check it out. Once the floor is at the right level, jack it up just a little bit higher. The leak may be coming from a loose connection between the base of the toilet and the waste pipe in the floor. ... loose tiles or even a major sewage spill under a raised floor. Check for water around the … Cut two blocks from a piece of 2-by-8-inch framing lumber with a circular saw. If a proper ventilation system … Sponge the water in the bottom of the … The edges with the adhesive are the upper edges that fit against the underside of the subfloor. ... so serious. Sadly, the world is not perfect, and toilets do leak. This allows it to grow unchecked for quite a while, until eventually it is discovered, and by then there is often a very large amount of mold, making it difficult and costly to eradicate. Cut support lumber, usually 2x6s or 2x8s to fit between the existing floor joists on each side of the hole and install them with long screws, leaving half the width of the support lumber under the existing floor. For this reason, some plumbers leave the backside of the base—the side you can't see—without caulk so that leaking water will announce itself by running out onto the floor. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Do not work in crawl spaces or basements where mold is present. Thanks! 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