Water can leak from a number of places in your home. It can run into interior walls from outside through fault eaves or worn roof shingles. Older inefficient appliances like fridges and dishwashers can cause a great amount of condensation that can eventually delaminate plywood, blister underlayment, ruin drywall, and even rot the subfloor. Obviously, it becomes important for every homeowner to be proficient at leak detection and leak testing so they’ll be able to head off costly repairs.
Toilets are one of the first places you’ll want to start 'leak testing’ for unwanted water. If you see water on the floor around your toilet, the first job in leak detection is to determine whether it comes from leaking tank bolts or just condensation. It’s very often the case that water on the floor under the toilet is not from the bowl but from under the tank, especially if the tank has been bumped, causing water to leak past the bolts and drip. Here, it’s necessary to reach under the tank and feel for moisture on the bolts. If they feel moist, you should dry them and check back later. If they are still wet when you come back, tighten them gently with up to a full turn. If the bolts are only loose, this should stop the problem.
Floor Flanges and Gaskets
If it’s not the bolts that are leaking, or you find more water appears after each use, the problem is more than likely with your floor flange. If you’ve got a newer toilet, the repair is generally easy. New wax gaskets, which fit over the flange to hold it in place, quite often compress a little after installation. If a leak detection mission around the toilet points to this as your problem, you might only need to tighten the nuts around the base of the toilet. Make sure to only tighten them until they feel snug and check the floor around the toilet for the next couple of days. Is it stays dry, you’ve solved your problem.
Caulking the Base
Although some local codes require caulking be placed around the base of the toilet, expert opinion varies on the subject. The pro arguments point to caulks good adhesive qualities and that caulk helps preserve the seal and prevent leaking by keeping the toilet from moving. The con side argues that many leaks that do occur are hidden behind the joint of caulking. Generally, there are no strong arguments one-way or the other, except in two circumstances.
Caulking is generally recommended for toilets set on concrete since concrete is never level around the flange and the caulked joint prevents the bowl from rocking. Conversely, it is not recommended for wooden floors since wood has a tendency to buckle when it gets wet and you’ll want to see any leaks right away.