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I am noticing moisture around the bottom of the toilet, and can tell some moisture is staining the wood floor when viewed from the basement. The bolts holding the toilet are easily tightened.

Will that help or should I just replace the wax ring?

UPDATE: When I got the toilet ready to remove, drained it, turned off water, removed as much water from drain as possible. I started to undo the bolts holding the toilet in place. I noticed they were VERY loose. Since I could hand tighten the screws, I decided to just tighten the bolts a little and see what happens. So far (3 days) no leaks. I am surprised but will monitor it for awhile I'm sure. Feeling lucky.

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4 Answers 4

Before you start verify that the supply line or tank isn't leaking , dripping down the back of the bowl and flowing around the base. If that looks good I would pull up the toilet and at the least replace the wax ring. I say at the least because most times the bolts get loose for a reason. It may be a cracked flange, broken bolt, rotted floor etc. You have no idea how long it has been leaking before you noticed it. By taking up the toilet you can examine the flange, the floor, the subfloor and the bottom of the toilet to determine the cause of the leak. This will allow repairs to be done in the earliest stage. It will be easier to repair the flange if that is the issue then to wait and have to replace a piece of rotted subfloor.

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Moisture is a nice way of putting it, but it's actually sewage that's seeping out.

If you can hand tighten the bolts then they are definitely on the loose side so there's no harm in trying to tighten them. Careful not to over tighten as you can crack the toilet.

Most likely though the seal is broken or not seated properly and you're going to have to replace the wax ring and reseat the toilet. Make sure to remove the old seal and don't try to re-use it.

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Yes, I'm aware of what the 'moisture' is. The toilet has been in use for 13 years without incident that is why I am thinking it will likely not seal simply by tightening bolts now. Just hoping for the easiest fix! –  Rene Jan 26 at 19:44

If the toilet moved at all with respect to the floor, then the wax ring seal is broken, and you must replace it. And while you are doing that, make sure you get the proper thickness ring. I had a problem in my former house where I replaced the ring a number of times and still got sewer smell sometimes. Ultimately, Just before we sold the house, I figured out that two of them needed risers bolted to the floor, because the floor was tiled and no wax ring would seal it well.

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You should replace the wax ring. They are normally $5-10 and it takes about 30 minutes.

There are tons of videos on youtube that show how. Watch 2 or 3 and you will be a pro :)

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