Water leaking from the base of your toilet is typically caused by the failure of the wax seal. If you have ruled out that the water is coming from another source, such as a crack in the tank or bowl, then the following information can help you fix the problem.
Wax Seal Basics
A wax seal, also called the wax ring, creates a watertight seal between your toilet and the waste pipe that empties into the main sewer line. If this ring fails, then any effluent that is flushed down the toilet can leak out from beneath the toilet. Leaking doesn't just occur when the toilet is flushed, either, it can continue to leak from the water typically held in the toilet bowl.
You may not notice standing water around the base of the toilet, though, as sometimes the water drips into the space beneath the floorboards. In this case, there will be other symptoms of a failed seal. The floor around the toilet may become soft and rotten, for example. For second-floor toilets, you may notice water damage on the ceiling below the toilet. A constantly running toilet is another sign, as water must continuously run in an attempt to refill the leaking bowl.
Common Causes of Failure
Failure can be a result of age. Issues can originate with the ring or even with the floor surrounding the ring. If the boards begin to warp due to age and the weight of the toilet, the seal around the ring can fail, for example.
More likely, though, is that failure is a result of an improperly secured toilet. Over time, the bolts holding the toilet in place can become loose. When this happens, the toilet will shift incrementally when it is used. This will also cause the wax ring to move and eventually the seal will break.
Fortunately, a wax ring is easy to replace. The toilet will need to be shut off and drained, and then it must be unbolted and moved to the side. From there, the old ring is scraped away and a new ring is installed. Finally, the toilet is replaced and bolted down firmly.
There may be other repair needs depending on how long the leak has been present. Water damage repair may be necessary, which can include mold removal and the replacement of rotten floorboards and supports.
You can click to read more or you can contact a plumber if you suspect that the wax seal around the base of the toilet has failed.