My toilet began leaking onto the floor. I have put plumbers putty around the two screws at the bottom (I think this is most likely the place it is leaking onto the floor - especially since the screws appear to be rusty - I think toilet is from 1994 when house was built) and I have put putty around where the tank empties into the toilet. I have done this twice, but I did not remove the putty I put in first. I think those are the only three places it could leak. I have to keep the toilet off because if I allow the tank to fill, I have a cup or two of water at the end of the day. What do you recommend I try next? Thanks

  • Check the rubber seals inside the tank where the mounting screws pass through. Those are probably where the leak is. – brhans Jan 29 '18 at 15:04
  • Keep in mind toilets aren’t very expensive are relatively easy to replace. I recently replaced entire toilets rather than replace the gasket between the tank and bowl which began making the toilets run. If you do go the replacement route consider ADA height toilets with elongated bowls instead of standard. – Tyson Jan 29 '18 at 15:17

The washers inside the tank can leak, and the body of the valve that empties the tank to bowl can crack, making tightening the gasket pointless. There is a nice set of tank to toilet bolts on Amazon that are solid brass, and have extra nuts and washers so that you can seal the upper tank independently of squeezing the tank to bowl connection.

You can get very affordable toilet rebuild kits that supply all of the necessary hardware to eliminate all leaks except for the bowl to floor connection.


A toilet can't leak at the mounting screws, and putty isn't the right gasket material. I suggest you do a little reading on basic toilet theory.

You'll need to replace the gasket at the tank/bowl junction, or simply tighten those fasteners. Be careful not to go nuts and crack the porcelain.

  • The mounting screws pass through the bottom of the tank outside of the tank-to-bowl seal: they can certainly be the source of a leak from the tank to the outside... – DJohnM Jan 30 '18 at 6:39
  • I didn't say the tank screws. The question specifically refers to "screws at the bottom". – isherwood Jan 30 '18 at 12:52

Putty is not the way to fix this. Particularly without disassembly...

I did a toilet 20 years older than yours (most seem to have a date molded into the tank) a few years ago, and it was a simple matter of disassembling the tank to bowl bolts, removing them, and replacing the rubber washers on the bolts. I also replaced the gasket at the flush connection at the same time, even though it was not leaking (yet.) Seemed easier to do all the parts when I had it taken apart.

I re-used the original brass bolts - if you have rusting steel bolts, you'll want new bolts, too. Kits with all the parts are easy to come by (in fact, I think I have a set of steel bolts I chose not to use as I could not find just the washers at the store.) If you can find brass or stainless steel bolts, you'll be spared the rust problem in the future.

A tiny bit of silicone grease will very slightly enhance the seal. Excess won't help, and it's not essential.

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