A toilet is supposed to be secure to the floor. It is not designed to be a rocking chair. Moving side to side or front to back is not right and a wobbly toilet is something that should be repaired. In fact, the loose toilet is one of the top ten things found most frequently during a The BrickKicker home inspection.
A loose toilet can be caused from several conditions. There could be a broken flange. The flange is the mechanical connection where the toilet is mounted to the plumbing at the floor. There could be deterioration of the floor and an unstable base. There could be floor variations that cause the flat base of the toilet to rock on the irregular surface. And maybe it is just loose from the mounting bolts or a failed wax ring.
Regardless of why the toilet is loose it really should be secured properly so that it does not leak or become damaged from excessive rocking.
Most people have never removed a toilet before. So fixing a toilet can be a daunting experience. This can be a do-it yourself project or maybe you might need to call a professional. A professional will typically cost between $250.00 and $400.00 to repair a loose toilet or you could try to tackle it alone and at a fraction of the price.
The BrickKicker is not a plumbing service and will always encourage our clients to work within their comfort zones and not try to do repairs they are not familiar with, but the repair of a toilet is something that is not terribly difficult.
Repairing a Broken Flange – (Proceed at your own risk!)
The only way to determine if the flange is broken is to remove the toilet from the floor. If you are going to take this on you should know that toilets are heavy and contain water and when they are removed the water often leaks on the floor. There is also a wax ring that can be messy and difficult to clean up.
Before removing the toilet you should inspect the mounting bolts that secure the toilet to the flange. These are on either side of the toilet and typically under dome shaped covers. These should never go all of the way through the floor but rather secure the toilet to the flange. You might get lucky and just be able to tighten down these bolts, but if the toilet has been rocking for a while then inspecting the flange might be important.
The first step is to turn off the water supply to the toilet. There is typically a water valve under the toilet. Next, give the toilet a flush. This should remove most of the water from the tank and the bowl. There will still be some water in the bowl but most will be removed. It is time to remove the two bolts holding the tank down.
Some people will have a large wash tub, plastic sheets, extra towels or even the bathtub so that when you lift the toilet from the floor you have a place to put it where it will not leak or damage anything. Tilting the toilet will cause all of the remaining water to evacuate the toilet and leak on the floor.
Inspect The Flange
With the toilet removed you can see if the flange is broken or in good shape. If it is broken you have two choices. You can fix the broken flange with a repair kit or replace it altogether. Fixing it is typically the the more popular way to go because there are repair and adapter kits available at most home stores. The replacement option is one that often requires a plumber’s attention and help.
The repair is a semi-circle piece that fits over or underneath the broken flange and gives a new and secure location for the mounting bolts to attach the toilet to. Make sure that when attaching this repair kit you follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
The Wax Ring
Most toilets have a wax ring under them. This is the soft attachment between the porcelain toilet and the plumbing drain pipe. It is designed to keep the water tight seal and not allow the unit to leak or produce sewer odors to the room. Some newer systems might have a rubber or vinyl gasket and not a wax ring. This should be replaced when the toilet is removed. There are several sizes of these rings, depending on the depth between the floor height and the plumbing. Make sure you replace the ring with the proper one(s).
Once replaced or repaired you can remount the toilet to the flange and it should be secure to the floor once again. Do not over tighten the mounting bolts because the toilet porcelain can crack and then you will have to replace the. toilet.