We have a toilet that was in the mid price range. When it was originally installed by professionals it didn't appear to leak for a few days. Then slowly I noticed dampness around the edge of the toilet base, which grew.

The plumbers came back and reset it. Same issue. They then reset it at my expense with a different type of seal, not the wax ring but a rubber gasket thing. Same issue. Once more they reset with a homemade wax ring made from 2 regular rings cut and warmed and sealed together. Same damn issue.

Money is tight and I gave up for a while, simply cleaning the floor often. How can I fix this?

  • 3
    Did you take any pictures of the flange before the toilet was installed?
    – JACK
    Feb 23, 2020 at 17:40
  • 1
    It's going to be difficult to offer any solid advice without photos or at least a better description. Drain the toilet (shop vac or towels) and dismount it. Show us what you're dealing with. We're throwing darts in the dark otherwise.
    – isherwood
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:18
  • I do wonder why the installation contract doesn't cover this situation, though.
    – isherwood
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:19
  • I once had the same issue with flush base that lacked bolt holes on a floor that was less than perfectly flat, so there was eventual motion however slight. Had to trash the toilet for a std. bolt down and improve floor rigidity. Old house and the "toilet from hell" Aug 8, 2022 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


Before you remove the toilet (again), make sure that the leak is not from somewhere else. On more than one occasion I have been called out for this problem and the complaint was that the toilet-to-floor seal was bad, but when I got there it was from the tank (the tank-to-bowl seal, the fill valve connection, a hairline crack, etc.). Water running in a thin stream down the side of the toilet is very difficult to detect; try putting some food coloring in the tank and, without flushing, see if you have a leak elsewhere.

  • Yes, be sure that the leak is not elsewhere. I had a hairline crack in a tank that was very hard to see. I have also had leaks between the tank and bowl.
    – Mattman944
    Feb 24, 2020 at 8:58
  • Very true. I had a shower cartridge leak that came down the wall over the edge of the tub and onto the floor - the complaint was the toilet was leaking but as you mention very difficult to see. Feb 24, 2020 at 19:27

Setting a toilet is typically a pretty standard job.

I'd guess the problem is that your toilet flange is bad and replacing the toilet flange is a bigger job than your "professionals" want to do. Generally the flange sits on top of the floor and the wax rings then sits on the flange and the toilet is pressed into the ring.

In your situation, it sounds like the floor has been build up around the flange and it is lower than the floor so they have to put multiple wax rings so the toilet seals down to the flange or use the rubber extension flange. These techniques generally work. Possibly the subfloor structure - the joists or the plywood supporting your floor are deteriorated/rotted and deflecting with weight or the pipe is not secured and moves when someone sits on the toilet.

Subfloor structure and toilet flange get into larger jobs which a lot of people don't want to deal with so I can see why they try to do the easy thing and avoid an expensive fix.

You'd have to open up either the ceiling below or remove the finished floor to replace the flange. Typically it is easier to repair the ceiling below if you have the option.

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