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Thread: Horrible pee smell coming from toilet bowl please help

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    Default Horrible pee smell coming from toilet bowl please help

    Hello all I am desperate to find out why my toilet stinks so bad. Wife and myself just moved into a new home and we noticed a foul old pee smell coming from the toilet when the water was disturbed from usage or flushing. She would clean the toilet every 3-5 days and the smell would stay away for the most part but recently it seems like its getting worse. The toilet is not anchored very good, it shifts a little bit, when I get down right next to the base I can detect a faint pee smell but its not nearly as bad as what is coming out of the bowl itself. I can flush the toilet 10 times in a row without using it and get the most horrid old pee smell every time. It never goes away. We also have extremely bad iron in our water, not sure if that could be related. Also after flushing I notice some tiny bubbles coming back up from bottom of the toilet while the tank is filling back up, not sure if that may be related either.

    The place started out as a 1964 single wide mobile home. It had two addtional rooms built on, walls got stucko, and a new roof was built. It looks like a house now but its base is still a super old mobile home. Any ideas on what is making the toilet bowl water stink like this? I really could use some advice. In the next few days I'm going to remove the old toilet and cracked bathroom tile, put new 3/4" plywood subflooring right over the top of the existing subfloor and install a new cheap model toilet from homedepot or lowes. After that I'll decide what kind of finished floor we want, it'll be something cheap like laminate. I'd hate to do all this work but not fix the existing problem so I turned to you guys for help. Thanks for any info.

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    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    Also after reading a similar thread to mine further down the list I checked my toilet seat for the bad smell. It is definitely saturated with the same smell from the bowl, but its not the source of the smell. The water and bowl still have the strongest smell. Its a relatively new seat too, maybe 3 months old, that should give you some perspective on how bad this smell is.

    Another example to show you how bad it is, we went out of town for 6 days a few weeks ago and when we got back the smell was throughout the whole house. Any ideas?
    Last edited by jbrady555; 08-26-2013 at 01:53 PM.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Likely cause of the problem is the previous owner had males in the household that had poor aim. Their urine go under the toilet which I would guess was not caulked. The floor under the toilet is soaked. Second problem is the toilet movement. A toilet should never budge when properly installed. Any movement will break the wax ring seal. You will need to pull the toilet up and deal with the urine soaked floor. I'm not sure what chemicals will work for this, probably some other forum users will respond to that. Before reinstalling the toilet, you will need to determine why it was moving. The flange should be mounted on top of the finished floor and screwed down into the sub floor. It is possible the urine and other moisture has caused some decay in the floor. If so, this must be repaired. Of course, removing the old floor will take care of the odor. When the toilet is finally reinstalled, the base should be caulked with a latex caulk to prevent moisture, urine or spilled water, from getting under the toilet. This also helps hold the toilet in place.

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    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    thanks for the reply. If the smell is due to poor aim I don't understand why its coming up through the water in the bowl and sticking to the bottom of the toilet seat. Seems like peeing on the outside of the toilet wouldn't contribute to my problem. I agree with what your saying about the toilet movement though, I think I'm fixing to go start tearing the old tile out right now. Its time to get this project underway.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The first place to start is resetting the bowl.
    If the bowl is moving around, you may not have a good seal between the bowl and flange.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    well this project just got real, lol, I started tearing floor tile out about 30 minutes ago. Wife is out of town so this is as good a time as any. Once I got to the back of the bowl a few of the tiles smelled of urine a little. Sub floor is in rough shape in some places but I'm not too worried since my plan is to lay a new subfloor down right over top of the rotten one with 3/4" plywood. I only need this place fit for living in for about 10 years until its paid off. Then our plan is to sell for property value and move, or possibly put a new mobile home in its place. Too hard to tell which one we will do 10 years from now.

    I do have a real newbie question for you guys. I shut my water off behind the bowl and flushed to drain the tank but the bowl is still full of water. How do I drain the bowl without making a huge mess so that I can remove the toilet?

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    A wet vack to suck out the water is handy.
    Either that or put on some rubber gloves and sponge it out.

    Before you carry it out, stuff the bottom with with toilet paper. You don't want a trail of smelly water though your home.

    If the wood has a bad odor, you may want to seal it. Zeolac goes a good job of that.

    Last edited by Terry; 08-26-2013 at 04:37 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    Zeolac, can I find that at Ace, or Lowes? Walmart? I've never seen or used it.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    It's a shellac primer. They may have something like that in a different brand.

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    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    thanks alot, I'm glad I found this place. I'm sure its gonna take some of the headache out of my DIY projects. I just can't fathom paying a arm and a leg to let professionals work on a 1964 model mobile home. I'd rather do it myself

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Take something like an ice pick and see how soft the subflooring is. If it is soft and punky, you can't just cover it up, you need to remove it!

    A rocking toilet is a potential leaking toilet of both waste going down, and sewer gasses coming up. I it the seal between the toilet and the flange, and the water in the trap of the toilet that keeps sewer gasses out of the house. When you flush the toilet, the wave of water going out can push some sewer gasses out of the leaking seal at the flange. Wax isn't springy...once you rock it one way and compress it, it won't spring back, and you have a gap. The toilet, as has been said, MUST be rock solid, or you'll have issues.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    well I got all the tile pulled up and the floor is pretty rough looking around the toilet only suggesting some pretty bad leakage. I'm leaving the toilet where its at until I got the new one and the material for the new subfloor. No since in getting to far ahead to where I can't used the bathroom, lol. I guess my toilet thread is becoming a bathroom remodel thread.

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    DIY Junior Member jbrady555's Avatar
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    thanks for the post, your explanation really sounds like what I'm dealing with. The floor is pretty bad just around the toilet but I really don't want to tear it all the way back to the joists. Is there some kind of sealant I can use to just seal the old stuff in time and drop the new 3/4" right over the top? I just need to get enough years out of this property to pay it off. Then its either new mobile home for myself. Or sell for property value only. I could never try to get any value out of this place no matter how much money I put into it. thanks for anymore info.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Rotten wood never gets better! Plus, adding 3/4" on top of what you have, while it can make the subfloor stronger, also means a bigger transition to the other rooms, either raising the vanity (maybe drain issues), or making it effectively lower, and you'd still have to deal with making the toilet flange work. The proper place of the flange is sitting on top of the FINISHED floor, not buried maybe an inch or so below it after adding subflooring, tiling substrate, and tile.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrady555 View Post
    thanks alot, I'm glad I found this place. I'm sure its gonna take some of the headache out of my DIY projects. I just can't fathom paying a arm and a leg to let professionals work on a 1964 model mobile home. I'd rather do it myself

    Kind of off Topic, But Terry Love and the pros that hang out here are the best...


    Good luck on your project.
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