Toilet Leaking From Tank Bolts (Quick 10-Step Fixes)

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By Bryan Peters

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The toilet leaking from tank bolts is a common problem most people usually face from time to time, and it is relatively easy to fix if you know what you’re expected to do. But if you’re a somewhat unskilled homeowner, then you might want to pay attention.

Toilet tank bolts leaking problem is usually as a result of flawed, misaligned, or even broken washers or bolts. You have to either fasten the bolts or have them replaced in order to get this fixed.

To prevent the leaking though, these bolts or washers will more than likely need to be supplanted. To do the restorations, you’ll need a modifiable wrench and a pair of bolts, nuts, and washers.

Let’s proceed!

Why is My Toilet Tank Leaking From the Bolts?

Normally, two-piece toilets have a couple of bolts that fasten the tank to the bowl. These bolts journey through a cavity at the underside of the tank and then move through matching holes found in the bowl.

With most types, rubber washers settle between the bolt head and the interior of the tank. Washers or spacers also settle between the tank and the bowl, and a washer created from metal, rubber, or plastic is positioned on the bolt between the bowl and the nut.

This maintains the tank in place and curbs it from moving.

The most popular explanation for leaky toilet tanks are bolts that are too loose. Even though this can occasionally be rectified by thorough tightening, loose bolts are normally affected when the rubber or metal washers on the bolts are aged or corroded.

Rubber cracks over time, so an old rubber washer can influence leaks. It can also result in your toilet tank wobbling.

That said, your tank might be leaking because of the following reasons:

  • Relaxed toilet tank bolts
  • Old toilet washers no longer deliver a watertight seal
  • The gasket adjoining the tank and bowl is aged and leaky
  • Your toilet tank is broken
  • Hard water can cause deterioration in your tank bolts. Homeowners who dwell in neighborhoods with especially hard water can avoid this by utilizing solid brass bolts

If you are using hard water, you can sprinkle your bolts with a rust protector. This just might help prolong their life.

Practical Toilet Tank Bolts Leaking Fixes

If your toilet tank is dripping from the bolts, it may appear like a costly difficulty to fix. The good thing, however, is that it’s a job any DIYer can compete in a matter of minutes.

Follow the instructions below to get your toilet leaking from tank bolts fixed:

1. Turn Off Water to the Toilet

Locate the water line running from the floor to your toilet tank. There should be an oval-shaped handle on this line. Twist it to the right (clockwise) to fasten it fully.

This will barricade the progression of water to your toilet, which enables you to comfortably empty and take out the tank. You don’t require a wrench at this point. You can just turn the valve handle by hand to bar the water supply.

2. Flush the Toilet

Even with the water flow to your toilet shut off, there will still be reserved water in the toilet tank. Eliminate the toilet tank lid to get a good glimpse, then flush the toilet until the tank is vacant.

This may take 2–3 flushes. With the water line shut, your tank will not refill. Now, you’ll be equipped to uncover and access the tank bolts easily.

3. Disconnect the Water Line

Before going forward, locate the spot where the water line attaches to the bottom of the toilet tank. It is generally held in place with a plastic nut.

Twist this left (counterclockwise) to unbutton and discard it. Ensure to do this step after you flush the toilet. Else, water will spill from the tank onto your floor when you detach the water line.

4. Remove the Tank Bolts

Survey inside the toilet tank as well as underneath the tank to discover the bolts clenching your toilet tank to the bowl. Some toilet types have 2 bolts, while others have 3 tank bolts.

Once you’ve located all the bolts, use a modifiable wrench to take out the nuts. If your toilet tank bolts are hard, if the bolt heads spin rather than loosen, or if the bolts are corroded, follow our guide to eliminating rusted toilet tank bolts.

If the bolts just swirl in circles rather than becoming loose, you’ll need to discard and replace them. To get them off, utilize a screwdriver on the crown of the bolt and your wrench on the nut. Twirl the wrench to the left. This should slacken them up.

5. Lift the Toilet Tank Off the Bowl

When the old tank bolts have been discarded, cautiously hoist the toilet tank straight up off the bowl. Then, put the tank down on a towel or bath mat on the floor. It’s a nice idea to plop the tank on its side or upside-down so you can handily finish off the next few steps.

6. Inspect the Tank for Cracks

Now that your tank is completely free from the rest of the toilet, take a nearer look. Examine both the inside and outside of the tank for crashes in the porcelain. It’s a nice idea to utilize a flashlight to take an adequate look.

Commonly, you will notice cracks near the bolt holes. This occurs when a tank bolt has been overtightened. A cracked tank is inclined to leaking and cannot be repaired. it must be replaced. As long as your tank is crack-free, you can move on to the next step.

7. Replace the Tank Gasket

Start your leak-prevention toilet routine by having the rubber gasket on the underside of the tank with a new one. Take the old gasket and discard it. If the rubber was aged, smashed, or rigid, it may be the reason for the leak.

A new gasket will deliver a stronger seal and hold tight against tank leaks. Press the new gasket firmly into place, ensuring that it fits snugly.

The tank to bowl gasket beneath the tank can also become damaged. The gasket is positioned where the tank is attached to the bowl. Remove the old gasket and inspect it. If it looks worn or damaged, you’ll have to get a new one.

8. Put the Toilet Tank Back Into Place

Once you’ve put up your new toilet tank gasket, slowly take your toilet tank and put it back into position on top of the toilet bowl. When taking a toilet tank off or putting it back on, it’ll be a great idea to ask for a helper for the job.

They can help you carry it, balance it, and guide the tank. When the tank is in position, match the bolt holes in the tank with the right holes in the toilet bowl.

9. Install New Tank Bolts

Now, you’re ready to put in some new toilet tank bolts with a new set, including new washers. It’s always adequate to utilize brass bolts rather than stainless steel.

Brass won’t rust, but steel will. Also, utilize a set of tank bolts that is good for high-quality rubber washers. Put the bolts in position and follow the guide to rightly tighten toilet tank bolts without harming your toilet.

10. Turn the Water Supply Back On

With your new tank gasket and bolts now installed, just reattach the water line to the bottom of the toilet tank. Then, twist the water line valve to the left (counterclockwise) to continue the flow of water to the tank.

Allow the tank to fill up, then flush it a few times, and observe intently for any leaks in the following 24 hours. If any leaks do happen, slowly tighten the tank bolts a quarter turn at a time till you see that the leaking has stopped.

Toilet Tank Bolts Replacement

Watch the short video below to see how to replace the toilet tank bolts:

Will Tightening Toilet Bolts Stop a Leak?

In some situations, just tightening loose toilet bolts will stop a leak. Still, this is dangerous if the bolts or washers are worn out already. A hardened or corroded rubber washer can be the reason for a leaky toilet tank.

Tightening bolts in this predicament can over-tighten them without stopping the leak. This overtightening sets you in danger of breaking your toilet tank. So, if the toilet tank bolts are older than 3 years old, it’s adequate to get new ones instead of taking the risk of cracking the tank by simply tightening the bolts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tight should toilet tank bolts be?

Get the bolts snug but not tight. Some tanks have built-in lugs that will contact the bowl. If yours has these, stop when they contact the bowl. You can fill the tank and look for leaks in the bolts.

Do I need to caulk around a toilet?

Plumbing codes require caulking a toilet to the floor.

What is the best caulk for a toilet?

Silicone caulk is one of the best caulks for a toilet.

What’s the difference between caulk and silicone?

Caulk renders your surface airtight and watertight. Silicone sealants, on the other hand, continue to be flexible for years which makes them excellent for regions that are inclined to extension and contraction.

Can you tighten a toilet bolt too much?

No, you can’t and you shouldn’t tighten the toilet bolt too much. If you pull it too much, you can tighten the closet bolt out through the flange, damaging the flange or cracking the porcelain.

Next time you see your toilet leaking from tank bolts, I’m pretty sure you’ll know what to do. Follow the instructions I have listed above, and come back again for more.