When your toilet is not firmly fixed to the floor, it will wobble. If the shake continues, it will leak and cause some significant damage to the flooring, floorboards, and into the foundation or room below. Once the wobble is noticed, it's important to timely fix a wobbly toilet so that you can prevent a leaking toilet.
Normally, the wobble is caused by loose toilet bolts, but the flange can also be a cause as it may be corroded, damaged or set too high. Besides, the person who installed the toilet might have used a wax ring that is too thick. None of these conditions are difficult to fix, but the repair will become more complicated if the toilet wobbles because of the soft floor. Check the following steps on how to fix a wobbly toilet.
Step 1. Use a wrench to tighten the nuts on the toilet bolts
Tighten the two bolts at the bottom of the toilet to secure the rocking bowl. If the nuts are hard to turn, just spray the nut with lubricant. If the bolt rotates when you turn the nut, use locking pliers to stabilize the bolt. Note that tightening the bolts too much will break the toilet's brittle porcelain.
If you can’t stop the toilet from wobbling, loosen the nuts and remove them. Before doing this, remember to close the toilet shutoff valve, disconnect the supply hose with adjustable pliers, flush the toilet bowl and empty the tank. Then lift the toilet off the flange after removing the nut.
Step 2. Check for the signs of leakage on the subfloor
If you find any leakage, it is necessary to test the flange opening around the floor. You need to fix it before resetting the toilet if the opening is soft or spongy. This process may involve using reciprocating saws to cut out the damaged parts of the floor, repairing any rotten floor joists, and installing some new ground floors.
Step 3. Check the flange ring
If the bottom floor looks dry, you can clean the wax on the flange with a putty knife. Check the flange ring and use the repair kit to fix it if it is corroded or damaged. Note that you may need to shim the toilet to prevent it from rocking if it is more than 1/2 inch off the surface of the floor.
Step 4. Use repair rings or repair plates to fix the damaged flanges
If you want to fix the broken flange with a repair ring, place it on top of the damaged ring and adjust it to align the tracks on both rings. Then screw it to the bottom floor with some long screws. If you are using the repair plate, remove the old flange with a screwdriver and slide the plate under the damaged section, then align the holes and replace the screws.
Step 5. Shim the toilet with plastic shims
If the flange is too high, you can shim the toilet with plastic shims. The best gaskets can be small plastic shims with ridges that help keep the shims in place. You can easily purchase them in home centers, hardware stores, and restaurant supply stores. It is not recommended to use wooden gaskets as they will compress over time and they are usually susceptible to moisture damage.
Check the bottom of the toilet and find any gaps between the toilet and the floor. It may help if you rock the toilet from side to side. Even small spaces can be the root of the problem. Try sliding the shim on the base to see how far it goes in if the gap is too small to see. Then insert the gasket into any gap you have identified. Don’t forget to try them in several different locations to level the toilet properly. You can check the stability of the toilet by sitting on your seat and rocking in all directions. Repeat this process until the toilet won’t move in any direction.
TIP : If needed, you can trim the shims close to the bottom of the toilet with a sharp tool knife, but be careful not to cut into the floor. After that, apply a thin and seam caulk around the bottom of the toilet to cover the gaps and hide the shims. .
Step 6. Hook your toilet bolts onto two tracks on either side of the flange
Remember to hook the toilet bolts onto two tracks on either side of the flange and align them with each other. Then place a wax ring at the flange opening, drop the toilet bowl and push down the bowl to compress the wax. Use a wrench to tighten the toilet bolts. Once the bolts are tightened and the toilet is stable, hook up the water and open it.
Generally, a wobbly toilet is bound to become a leaky wobbly one, so don’t forget to share the tips on how to fix a wobbly toilet with your friends and families. Note that the wet ground floors can be problematic even if they're not spongy as it may not hold the flange screw. You can solve it by drying the floor, filling the screw holes with epoxy filler and resetting the flange.
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