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Last year we bought hose attachments for our toilets since we would be cloth diapering a new baby.

When performing the install to the toilet, I used a bunch of teflon tape (about 3 wraps on the threading) on the male end of the connection prior to installation. For the downstairs toilet, I had no problems, but the upstairs toilet developed a leak at the connection that was discovered late and caused a little bit of water damage. I don't recall any issues when screwing things back together other than it was an awkward angle (nothing was forced).

If it matters, the connection was metal to metal.

The leak wasn't present at the initial installation (or at least it wasn't obvious). I discovered it about 3 months afterwards when we saw some browning in the ceiling of the living room. Given it's the back of the toilet, the pitch of the floor in the bathroom, and the slow rate of the leak, it never flooded more than just a small 2 SF area behind the toilet.

I ended up removing the hose because we tended to use the downstairs one so much more regularly, but is there more I could practically have done beyond the teflon tape to improve the water seal?

  • "A bunch of" ? What's that? You could have used too much tape. You could have over tightened. You could have under tightened. You might have cross-threaded and damaged the fitting. Handling the attachment might have loosened the connection. It's really impossible to be sure. It's also unclear if you still have the problem. – The Evil Greebo Jul 12 '18 at 15:41
  • Revised to address your comments. I'm probably still an amateur regarding home repair and don't recall any major issues when doing the install. I feel like were I to have used too much tape or under tightened, I'd have seen evidence of a leak at the time. Same were I to have damaged the fitting. I don't believe I over tightened, either, because I know I'm the one who has to get it off later. If these are causes for the problem, can you post them to an answer? – Pyrotechnical Jul 12 '18 at 15:51
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    The teflon tape isn't really intended to create a seal - it's there to help the threads tighten properly so the real seal can do its job. – brhans Jul 12 '18 at 16:22
  • what kind of a hose attachment did you install? – jsotola Jul 12 '18 at 17:40
  • I have never had a problem with two much Teflon tape as long as I can get the fitting started. There are also different thickness and widths available. If the leak stopped after removing the part and you would like to have it just in case try adding 6 to 8 wraps pulling the tape just the breaking point so it stretches and almost cuts at the threads I see a lot of folks just wrapping without pulling and that tends to leak. – Ed Beal Jul 12 '18 at 18:28
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Assuming you didn't overtighten or cross thread, did you put the tape on the right way? The correct way to use teflon tape is to wrap it with (i.e. in the same direction as) the threads so that when you tighten the fitting the threads don't loosen the tape and cause it to be pushed out of the way. (I suspect that this is probably what happened in your case.) Regarding the number of wraps, a couple should suffice.

Once you screw the fitting together, you should not see and tape bunched up at the edge of the female fitting (which you won't if you wrap the tape the right direction).

  • I'm very much a righty tighty, lefty loosey sort of person. If I'm looking male end with the threads, should I be wrapping them to the right or to the left. I think I'd have done this to the right just because I'm right handed and that's a more natural motion, but I'm not sure if that was the correct way. – Pyrotechnical Jul 13 '18 at 15:11
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    You want to wrap with the threads so that you’ll be running over the end of of the tape. So clockwise for right handed threads. – CBass Jul 14 '18 at 1:57

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