When toilets aren’t firmly secured to the floor, they tend to wobble. While wobbling can happen due to a wide range of reasons, it’s not okay to have a loose or wobbly toilet. We have to find out the reason behind the problem and fix it as soon as possible to prevent more serious problems from cropping up later. In this article, we will discuss how to fix loose or wobbly toilet.
How do you secure a loose toilet? The first thing we should check is the toilet fixing screws. If we can tighten them, we should do so and then caulk the toilet around. If the screws cannot be tightened, it means the flange underneath the toilet is damaged and this will require removing the entire toilet and repairing it. In such a situation, if we do not have a leak, we can save ourselves by caulking the toilet. However, this is only a temporary solution.
Water leaking from a wobbly toilet can make it very unpleasant to use the toilet so fixing it is always a good option. Some loose wobbling toilets are very easy to fix and they don’t need specialized skills but when the underlying problem is complicated, you need to hire a professional to do the job for you.
Tools required to fix the toilet
The first step towards fixing the wobbly toilet is to find out the real cause behind wobbling. The next step would be to repair and fix or replace the faulty part. Just with any other repair, even your loose toilet may require you to have some tools. Make sure you have all the necessary tools before planning on how to fix a wobbly toilet.
You need to have a pair of small pliers or wrenches, a bowl and a sponge for cleaning, a putty knife, vacuum cleaner, small hacksaw, bolt caps, spirit level, wax ring, caulk and plastic shims.
Steps involved in fixing a loose or wobbly toilet
Let us now check the various steps involved in fixing a wobbly or loose toilet.
- Stop the flow of water and empty the toilet. Before you remove the toilet to fix it, first stop the water flowing into the toilet and empty all the water inside. To do this, turn off the valve that controls the supply of water and pull down the lever of the toilet and hold it until all the water flows out completely. Next, use a sponge and wipe around the toilet to absorb the remaining water inside the tank. You can also disconnect the water supply pipe using the wrench.
- Remove the toilet. Make sure you remove the caps on the toilet’s base before you take the toilet off its position. Use the wrench to remove the nuts and keep them aside. Keep an old newspaper or a piece of cardboard on the floor and place the toilet above it. This is to prevent the dirt present at the bottom of the toilet from staining other areas on the toilet floor.
- Fix the flange of the toilet. When it comes to fixing a loose toilet flange, there are two options. You can either change the flange if it is fully damaged or simply add a repair plate when there is minimum damage to the flange. At times, you might also need a chisel to fit the plate properly. Place the chisel below the groove. While bolting the toilet base to the floor, this will firmly hold the flange.
- Change the toilet flange. While removing the toilet flange, make sure you don’t damage the drainpipes in the process. With the help of a chisel, cut the toilet flange till you can safely pull it using a pry bar. If you are not sure how to go about this process, call a professional plumber to do the job for you. All the new tools you bought will come in handy now. Take the new flange and fit it in the right place. Now you can place the rubber gasket within the flange and slide in the new brass ring. Gently press it down using a hammer or your hand till it’s even. Now you can fix the bolts at their respective places using a spanner.
- It’s time to reinstall the toilet. In the holes present on either side of the flange, insert the two new bolts. Also, if required, use a new wax ring as it will seal the hole more efficiently and won’t let the dirt spill out. Finally, place the toilet in the right position by ensuring the bolts go through the holes. Keep the plastic base and the washers before rolling the nuts. With the help of a spanner or wrench, tighten the nuts before you cover the bolts with their caps.
Should a toilet be caulked?
The answer is yes. Irrespective of whether the toilet is a new or an old one, it should be caulked. Apart from offering a good appearance and preventing odor, caulking will avoid any possible leakage and also improve the stability of the toilet by removing the unevenness, if any.
To know more on this topic, check out this article in detail – “Should a Toilet be Caulked?“
Is replacing flange complicated?
Yes, replacing the toilet flange is a quite complicated process because it involves lifting the toilet from its position before replacing the flange and often requires specialized tools. While it is easy to repair the flange if it isn’t damaged much, replacing it altogether would require more effort on your part. If you think you can’t handle this process, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to do it safely for you.
How can a toilet flange be damaged?
Toilet flange can be damaged due to a lot of reasons. More often than not, it can be due to rust. However, the flange can also be broken, resulting in a leak. Loose, broken or toilet flanges not installed properly can also cause leaks at the bottom of the toilet. It’s better to check the area around the toilet once in a while to see if there are any signs of something wrong with the flange.
Do I need to replace the wax ring if my toilet is wobbling?
A new wax ring is required only when you replace the broken toilet flange which also causes a leak. Wax rings are used to prevent water leaks as they offer a watertight seal. So if there is no water leak, then you don’t have to replace the wax ring.
What are the signs of a broken toilet flange?
A broken or rusted toilet flange can often lead to a loose or wobbly toilet. Apart from this, it can also cause leaks from the base of the toilet and also an unpleasant odor from the toilet. These have to be found and fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage which may also result in further complications.
What is the cost of repairing and replacing the toilet flange?
If you are a DIY person and want to do it all by yourself, you will only have to pay for the parts which would cost around $25. If you are strong enough to lift the toilet and have all the tools needed, then you won’t have to pay a plumber. However, if you decide to call in a plumber to repair and replace the toilet flange, it could cost you around $125 to $300 depending on the service provider you choose and the region you live in.
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