"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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There are two or four bolts to fasten the toilet to the floor. If they are rusty as the one pictured above, it usually means that there is leakage and that a new wax seal should be installed. Rusty bolts and/or water coming from underneath the toilet base are tell-tale signs that repairs should be made immediately.

Toilets - Maintenance
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Wax seal, Wax Bowl Ring, replacing toilet
. Toilets as well as other plumbing fixtures such as, bathtubs, showers, faucets, hose bibbs, etc. should have their own shutoff valve so that repairs can be made without having to shut down water supply to the entire house. Any fixture that is cracked, badly chipped or rusted should be replaced to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings below.
Toilets should be properly secured to the floor. Loose toilets can cause extensive water damage to the floor construction as illustrated. In this case the toilet was leaking and to prevent water from running over the floor they "fixed" the problem by applying a heavy bead of caulking around the toilet base. The caulking made things worse. The water was now getting into the flooring and floor joists resulting in woodrot and mold. When this picture was taken the toilet was leaning almost 2" (50 mm). As can be seen in the photo, repairs were underway by removing the old floor tiles. Next would be replacing the uninsulated toilet, decayed flooring and maybe floor joists.
Tips to prevent this from happening:
1. Loose toilets should be properly secured to the floor. Care should be taken not to tighten the hold-down bolts too much or the toilet base will break.

2" lean, woodrot and mold in flooring
2. If there is water on the floor, do not caulk around the toilet base, instead replace the wax seal.
3. If the toilet to be replaced is in an older house and the floor has to be replaced as well it may be a good idea to replace the old plumbing (cast iron, lead, galvanized steel) as much as is possible.
4. Remember, a new wax seal cost less then $10.00, replacing the bathroom floor could cost thousands of dollars!

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