Fixing a wobbly toilet is something that must be done as soon as you notice it. There are lots of ways the toilet can come loose and start rocking such as if the flange becomes somewhat higher than the floor or the caulk around the base hardens unevenly.
If you recently found that your toilet has been rocking, read on, for this article will tell you why it is important to fix this problem and the steps necessary to stop your toilet from moving around. Also, we’ll go over some tips and mistakes to avoid when performing this task at the end.
Why Is It Important to Fix a Rocking Toilet?
It is important to fix a rocking toilet because if the problem persists for too long your toilet can fall off, likely with you on it. Not only will the toilet probably break on impact but it will cause water to spill onto your bathroom floor and stink up the entire house.
If your toilet is even rocking just a little bit, this problem needs to be addressed before the toilet itself comes off and causes a serious problem that no one wants to experience for themselves.
Even if your toilet has not fallen off, every time it rocks, the wax ring gets more and more damaged which can lead to leaks and gross odors coming through the sewage pipe below.
Repairing the wax seal can get pricey and will involve fixing the rocking anyway, so fix the rocking as soon as possible to avoid any more expensive repairs.
How to Fix a Wobbly Toilet
There can be a few different things that can cause your toilet to begin wobbling so go through these steps but remember that you should only move on to the next step if necessary.
You may find that just doing one of these steps will fix your problem. If that’s the case, there is no need to continue to the others.
Step 1: Find Any Leaks
First things first, you should feel around the toilet’s base to see if any water is seeping up from the bottom. If there are signs of leakage, your wax ring is likely damaged and you will need to get that repaired before even trying to move on to step 2.
Even if you fix the rocking, the leak will continue and cause damage to your toilet that will eventually call for expensive repairs. You may potentially even have to get a whole new toilet installed.
Step 2: Check The Toilet’s Bolts
There are two bolts found on the base of your toilet. These are known as closet or flange bolts. Sometimes, all you will need to do is tighten them and your problems will be fixed.
Use a small wrench or a pair of pliers to tighten these bolts. If you discover that one of the bolts is loose, slowly tighten it until it is snug. Then, move on to the other one and ensure that it is just as snug as the other bolt.
Now, test the toilet to see if it still rocks back and forth. If it does, move on to step 3.
Step 3: Find the Gaps
Look around the base of the toilet, and try to locate any gaps between the floor and the toilet. Sometimes, you will need to rock the toilet a bit to see where these gaps are and if the gaps are still too small to see, prod around the base with a shim and find any small gaps that way.
Even the smallest of gaps can cause your toilet to rock back and forth and will need to get fixed, possibly using the next step.
Step 4: Use Shims to Even Out the Gaps
Level the toilet by putting in shims to any gaps you find. This may take some trial and error and likely multiple shims but it is a solid method that can permanently fix your problem. Check to see if the shims are working by rocking the toilet every once in a while and move them or add more as needed. Once the toilet is no longer rocking, cut the shims as close to the base as possible with a sharp knife.
For more information regarding this step, read my article about how to shim a toilet.
Step 5: Use Caulk
Once the shims are trimmed, apply a thin layer of caulk around your toilet’s base in effort to hide the shims and cover up the gap between the toilet and the floor.
Caulk is important for keeping things that fall on the bathroom floor or even mop water from finding its way under the toilet and possibly damaging the pipes or wax seal.
Use a caulk gun or squeeze it directly onto your toilet’s base and smooth it out with your finger if necessary. Once you are finished, let the caulk dry for however long the packaging says. Usually, this is around 24 hours unless you are using a quick-drying caulk.
Step 6: If All Else Fails, Call a Plumber
If you have done all these steps and your toilet is still continuing to rock, it is time to seek some help from a professional. This could mean there is something else going on below the toilet that needs to be fixed and, at that point, this fix should be left in the hands of a professional.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Fixing a wobbly toilet can be a very particular job where certain mistakes can lead to much bigger problems, so it is important to be careful when doing these steps.
When tightening the flange bolts on your toilet’s base, be sure to not tighten them too much as this can cause the porcelain to crack around the bolt. If this happens, there is no way to repair this and you will have to replace your toilet.
Also, caulking around the toilet is a bit of a double-edged sword because it keeps the toilet fixed firmly to the floor but it can hide leaks by trapping water underneath the toilet. If leaks go unchecked, it can cause major damage to your toilet without you ever even knowing.
A helpful tip to get around this problem is to caulk all around the base except for a small spot behind the toilet where it is unlikely anything can sneak under and water can get out and alert you of any leaks coming up from under the toilet.
Now, hopefully, you have all the knowledge you need to be able to fix a wobbly toilet and keep away any costly repairs to the wax ring or any pipes below.
Be sure to follow the steps above as closely as you can for fixing a rocking toilet and remember that if your problem is fixed after step 2, there is no need to continue onto step 3.
Finally, keep in mind the mistakes to avoid, tips, and tricks when performing this task, and always try to be as safe and clean as possible when working on your toilet.