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How to fix a Cracked Toilet Tank | Replace or Repair?

Discovering a crack in your toilet tank can be alarming. For many, the immediate question is whether to repair it or replace it entirely. But, can a cracked toilet tank be repaired?

A toilet tank that has a hairline crack can be repaired. You do this with a bit of epoxy. There are kits you can do this with. However, any cracks that are too deep and big cannot be repaired. Then it’s advised to replace your toilet tank entirely.

Keep reading to find out how to assess the severity of your (tank’s) crack!

Can you replace just the tank on the toilet?

Before we dive in let’s answer a very common question: Can you replace just the tank on a toilet? The answer is yes.

You can replace just the tank of a toilet. Just make sure you buy a tank that fits your toilet bowl. It’s best to buy the same brand.

cracked toilet tank

What would make a toilet tank crack?

Here are some examples of what could make a toilet tank crack:

  1. Impact or Physical Damage
    • Accidental hits, heavy objects falling, or other physical impacts can lead to cracks in the toilet tank.
  2. Temperature Fluctuations
    • Extreme temperature changes, especially in freezing conditions, can cause the porcelain or ceramic material of the tank to contract and expand, leading to cracks.
  3. Age and Wear
    • Over time, the materials of the toilet tank may weaken due to aging and regular wear, making it more susceptible to cracks.
  4. Excessive Tightening of Bolts
    • Over-tightening bolts during installation or repairs can create stress on the tank, potentially causing cracks.
  5. Chemical Cleaners
    • Harsh or abrasive chemical cleaners used in the tank can weaken the material and contribute to cracking over time.

Finding the crack in your tank

Let’s first look at how bad the crack is. We want to know if we need to replace the tank entirely, or if we can fix it ourselves.

It’s important to know that cracks can occur on both the interior and exterior surfaces of the tank.

Let’s approach the situation with a faithful helper: a good light source. Crack detection perfectly aligns with the old saying, “The devil’s in the detail.”

Fire up your flashlight (or smartphone turn on your phone’s flashlight) to illuminate the inside of your toilet tank. An adequately lit tank lends itself to a more thorough and accurate inspection.

Commence the examination by carefully studying the tank. Look for noticeable lines or distinct discolored areas.

Determining the Severity of a Crack in Your Toilet Tank

Once a crack is located, its length and depth are two key factors that will ascertain its severity. For this investigation, a perhaps unexpected but invaluable tool will come into play: an ordinary toothpick.

Toothpicks, with their pointed ends, make them ideal for probing into any crevices to gauge depth. By gently inserting the toothpick into the crack, we can determine if it’s just a surface scratch or a deeper, more concerning crack. A crack that swallows up half or more of the toothpick calls for urgent intervention.

For length, it’s relatively straightforward — more extended cracks generally indicate more severe damage. Remember, even a short crack can spread over time if ignored.

Tip to see if the crack causes a leakage

Additionally, see if water is leaking from the crack; this will be another clear-cut sign that the situation needs to be immediately addressed. If puddles form or there is continuous dripping from the tank, it’s clear the crack is severe.

Put a bit of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Just a TINY bit! If there’s a deep crack you will see the color appear on the outside of the tank. Also, read the instructions carefully. Some dyes may stain and that’s the last thing that you want!

Fixing a hairline fracture on toilet tank

If you assessed that there is a hairline fracture and not a deep significant fracture you can fix it by using some epoxy or toilet repair kit.

While this can serve as a temporary solution, DIY-endorsed fixes cannot substitute for long-term solutions. Professionally addressing any significant cracks is vital for ensuring the longevity of your toilet.

So please keep that in mind! It’s a risk you perhaps do not want to take.

How to Repair a Cracked Toilet Tank

Let’s delve right in! Fixing a cracked toilet tank requires several key materials and steps for a successful outcome. Using the right tools and following a professional protocol can help extend the life of your toilet and avoid costly replacements. Here is a general description of how you should repair your cracked toilet tank.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions!

Materials You Will Need:

Step 1: Empty and Clean the Toilet Tank

Start by turning off the water supply to the toilet. Then, flush the toilet a couple of times to empty the tank. Once this is done, proceed to clean the inner surface of the tank with a mild cleaning solution and a scrub brush to remove accumulated sediments. Dry the tank carefully with a clean cloth.

Step 2: Sand the Crack Area

Before beginning the actual repair, it is important to prepare the area around the crack. Lightly sand this area using fine-grained sandpaper to remove any sharp edges or loose pieces of porcelain. Make sure to sand an area that extends a few inches beyond the crack. Wipe away the debris using your dry cloth.

Step 3: Apply the Waterproof Epoxy or Porcelain Repair

Put on your rubber gloves to protect your hands from potential skin irritation caused by the waterproof epoxy or porcelain repair kit. Follow the instructions provided with the kit carefully—it typically involves mixing two components together until they form a uniform color.

Once ready, apply the mixture to the crack with a small applicator, usually provided in the kit. Be sure to fill in the crack completely and use a smooth, even spread of the material over and slightly beyond the crack.

Step 4: Smoothen the Repair Area

Use the fine-grained sandpaper once again, this time to smoothly blend the repair area with the rest of the tank’s surface. This reduces the visibility of the repair and boosts the aesthetic appeal of your mended toilet tank.

Step 5: Allow the Repair to Cure

Patience is key here—a rushed job may lead to an ineffective repair. Allow the epoxy or repair material to dry completely, typically 24 to 48 hours, before restoring water supply and refilling the tank.

Bear in mind that a botched DIY repair job could potentially lead to worsening the issue or even causing water damage in your home. When in doubt, it’s always recommended to consult with a professional. In this case, an experienced plumber might be the best choice to handle the situation and provide an effective, durable solution.

Replacing your toilet tank vs buying a new toilet

Although one could consider replacing just the toilet tank, it’s important to remember that older models may have been discontinued. And finding a matching tank may become impossible. It’s generally more cost-efficient and less cumbersome to replace the entire toilet.

While this guide is thorough, nothing beats a professional assessment. If you’re unsure of the severity of the crack in your toilet tank, or if the crack is substantial (deeper than half a toothpick’s length or continuously leaking), seeking professional help is highly recommended.

A skilled plumber can find and fix the root cause of the crack, saving you from stress and potential financial strain as the issue progresses

There are a few other indicators that could signal the need to replace the toilet tank. An older-than-average tank or one with persistent leaks despite the sealing and repair, an accumulation of mineral deposits causing inefficient flushing, a toilet that’s always running, or when it underperforms even after part replacements; are all signs that your toilet tank needs a revamping.

How to replace the toilet tank

Here’s a general description of how to replace your toilet tank. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

You’ll need a new toilet tank that matches your current one. Check this before purchasing.

  1. Start by turning off the water supply to the toilet and flushing to drain excess water from the tank.
    • Always remember that safety is paramount. Broken porcelain can cause serious injuries, hence handle all elements with care and either recycle or properly discard the old tank.
  2. Take off the water supply line
  3. Unscrew the old tank and take it off
  4. Prepare your new tank by applying a new gasket.
  5. The next step is to attach the new tank to the bowl. Do this by aligning it properly, and securing it tightly without over-tightening the bolts, which can lead to unexpected cracks.
  6. Finally, reconnect the water supply line, turn on the water, and allow the tank to fill up. Check for leaks, making sure that there isn’t any water escaping at the base of the bowl or from the tank’s fittings or connections.

That’s it!

Here is a video on how to replace a cracked toilet tank:

If in doubt, hire a professional

Never hesitate to seek professional advice when the task seems overwhelming. Your bathroom peace of mind may be as simple as replacing your toilet tank. A professional can ensure that the job is done properly and efficiently. This saves you time and avoids potentially costly mistakes.

Is it safe to use a cracked toilet?

Whether or not it is safe to use a cracked toilet depends on the severity of the crack and where it is located. If it’s a hairline fracture on the toilet tank it is safe to use the toilet. But note that even this hairline fracture must be fixed as soon as possible as it can develop into something more severe.

If there is a significant fracture on the inside of the toilet bowl we advise not to use the toilet. Bacteria and human waste may lock into the fractures making the toilet unhygienic.

Maneuvering the world of DIY home repairs such as toilet tank cracks can feel like a daunting task. So the next time you discover a crack in your toilet tank, take a moment to analyze the situation, arm yourself with the right tools and knowledge, and tackle it head-on.

Disclaimer: is not responsible for any damage caused to your toilet and surroundings by (wrongly) interpreting information found on this site. Please seek custom advice from a professional to evaluate your current situation.

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