Toilets can develop small leaks because of wear and tear. Many get away with these leaks because they’re small enough to cause water pooling beneath the toilet to dry out before it can do any severe damage. With time, these leaks can get worse. When they do, they can compromise the subfloor that keeps your toilet upright.
When Is Subfloor Repair Around a Toilet Necessary?
A toilet is installed on top of wooden joists covered with a wooden plank (tiles are installed over this plank). It sits directly on top of a closet flange, a pipe fitting connecting the bottom of the toilet to the sewer pipe. A wax ring goes around the seam and seals it, ensuring water from the toilet doesn’t leak.
Problems arise when the wooden plank and joists rot because of water damage. Instead of providing a sturdy base, it becomes soft and unstable, causing the toilet to wobble out of alignment with the sewer pipe. This problem can quickly escalate because sewer gases and waste material might soon contaminate the bathroom floor.
Here are some causes of a rotting toilet subfloor:
- A defective wax ring
- Poor placement of the tiles immediately around the toilet
- Using low-quality mortar for the tiles
- A constantly clogged floor drain
These can cause persistent leaks that eventually damage the joists and require subfloor repair around a toilet.
If the wood rot is only directly beneath the closet flange, it might be possible to use a two-piece, steel closet flange support to reinforce the base. These are thin, flat sheets of metal you insert between the existing closet flange and wooden base, creating a metal collar around the toilet. The metal sheet transfers the toilet’s weight from the rotten wood directly beneath it to the sturdier, undamaged parts of the base.
However, if the toilet is already wobbling and the base is severely rotted, the only solution is a complete subfloor repair. You might also have to prepare to pay out of pocket because the cost to fix a leaking toilet goes higher when the problem escalates to this stage.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Leaking Toilet?
Professional plumbers charge around $45 to $75 in rural regions, while prices are higher at $75 to $200 per hour in the bigger cities where the cost of living is higher. Add to that the cost of replacement parts and equipment, and you can expect to pay between $148 to $361 to fix a broken toilet, according to Home Advisor.
The repair costs can go higher with a subfloor repair around a toilet. Here’s a rough breakdown of the fees you’ll need to pay:
- Hourly rates – It can easily take an entire day to repair your toilet if there is massive water damage in the joists. There will be a lot of work involved, and your plumber might even need an assistant, increasing the hourly fee.
- Replacement parts – Your plumber would have to remove the toilet, break the surrounding tiles, and pry out the damaged wooden base and joists. Then they have to measure the area, cut new wood to replace the rotten joists, and build a new base to support the subfloor. They’ll also need a new wax ring, flange, and drain, and if there’s damage at the bottom of the toilet, your plumber might also recommend replacing it.
A brand-new, low-flow toilet costs around $510, but you can get a cheaper, dual-flush version for $350. But the most expensive replacement would be for a new sewer pipe, which can go up to $2,000 or higher.
- Project fee – Some plumbers don’t charge by the hour but by the job. They have a fixed fee for certain problems, which can be a disadvantage if the issue turns out to be an easy fix, but you already agreed to pay the higher corresponding cost of the initial diagnosis.
- Other services – Post-repair work, like cleanup and tile laying, will add to your bill.
Looking at these factors, we can see that the cost of repairs is directly proportional to the damage to the subfloor. Therefore, you can keep the cost to fix a leaking toilet low through early detection and timely repairs.
Avoid Damage As a Result of Toilet Leaks With Restoration 1
Avoid astronomical repair costs by contacting water damage technicians at the earliest sign of a toilet leak. Do you smell sewage fumes coming up from your toilet? Is the area around your toilet perpetually moist? These can be signs of a subfloor leak. A pre-emptive check by a water damage expert is worth it if it means avoiding an astronomical bill in a few months.
Contact Restoration 1 of Minnetonka for a consultation today.