If you find brown water stains around your toilet base, it is probably indicating a problem with the toilet flange or toilet wax ring.
Another possible problem is that the toilet drain is leaking or overflowing. Let’s study each of these options in more detail below.
Brown stains around the toilet: what is going on?
Signs of a leak can be hard to spot, but there are some things to watch for.
– If there is a strong smell coming from your toilet
– If you see water on the floor around your toilet, this is also a sign of a leak.
-You feel wet spots around the toilet. Your hands are great tools to check for leaks.
-If you hear water running
If you are unsure, you can install a water sensor to see if there is a problem. It is possible that some water went over the toilet bowl once and that there is no problem at all. Toilet leaks can be serious as they can drip water in the wall or under the floor. Therefore it is essential that you investigate this further if you think that there is an issue. Leaks can be small but it adds up over time.
Problem with the wax ring or toilet flange
The toilet is connected to the drain with a wax ring and sewer (or toilet) flange. The wax ring or toilet flange can be broken.
The flange is a plastic or metal band around the base of your toilet that connects the toilet with the drain pipe. It shouldn’t be confused with the toilet wax ring as both are different parts.
They are sometimes sold together though. The wax rings make sure that you have a seal around the toilet flange. This avoids leaks and makes sure that the wastewater ends up in the toilet.
This is the main reason why there is water around a toilet. Leaking from the toilet base is usually due to a broken wax ring or sewer flange. If it is one of these two, you will have to remove the toilet to get it fixed.
If you suspect that your wax ring is broken, the first thing to do is to close the water supply, get the water out of the toilet, remove the water supply and remove the toilet.
If the wax ring is broken, the wax ring will need to be replaced. The toilet must be removed before installing a new wax ring. If you are handy, you can do this yourself. We have discussed how this needs to happen in more detail here.
You might have to replace the toilet flange as well if it is broken. To do this, it is possible that you have removed a piece of the floor if it has been damaged by the leak. Installing a toilet flange should generally be done by a plumber as it needs to be done correctly.
The toilet flange should sit on top of the finished floor. This allows you to add the toilet seal wax (or rubber ring) and add the toilet.
You can use PVC glue to attach the toilet flange to the drain. Make sure to read the curing instructions. During hot summer days, the glue can dry rather quickly so you have to work fast! Clean the pipes and toilet flange before you apply glue to them.
Once this is done, we can attach the toilet flange to the floor.
Toilet flanges are generally bolted down to the floor. Once this is done, it is possible to use plumber’s putty to seal the bolts and prevent leaks
Once the bolts are in place, hand-tighten them until they are snug. Do not over-tighten, as this can damage the flange or cause it to become loose over time.
You can also use a toilet flange extender. This is used if the gap between the toilet and the toilet flange is too big. In some cases, the toilet flange and wax ring are not broken but the gap between the toilet and the wax ring is too big. To fix this, we can use a toilet flange extender.
Problems with a clogged drain
A clogged drain can make your toilet bowl overflow or create a leak around your toilet. The water is not able to go through your drain system and comes back through the toilet. Generally, this water is dirty so it is necessary to fix it as soon as possible. Often this can be done with a plunger. This builds up pressure and pushes the clog away.
More serious clogs have to be fixed with water pressure or a grinder. Plumbers have cameras to check what is going on and can fix the problem quite easily. If the diameter of your drains is too small, your plumber might have to replace them.
A broken drain
It is also possible that there are other problems such as the angle of your drains that are not correct, improper venting, or installation of your system. These are more complex problems to fix and an engineer even might have to check your system if problems keep persisting.
The drain can also leak. If the glue hasn’t been properly installed or the drain has moved, it is possible that there is a small leak. This will have to be repaired by adding a new piece of drain.
Every system is unique and plumbers sometimes have to troubleshoot to see what is going on. These are more exceptions though as it is often an easy fix if your toilet base is leaking.
How to prevent future leaks.
You should make sure that your toilet is level and that everything is properly tightened.
Make sure that you don’t flush wet wipes, tampons, or other items that can clog up your drains.
It is a great idea to replace your toilet after 15 years as some components can start to break down and leak.
Clean your toilet and toilet tank regularly so that there is no dirt or dust in it.
By doing so, you may prevent any future leaks.
To conclude, we can state that fixing leaks around the toilet base is often quite straightforward. There are several causes of this though so finding the root cause is a big step. Once this is done, you can move forward. Be sure to call a plumber if you are stuck. Temporary fixes can work but they are not recommended as this can lead to big issues down the road.