Project Book: How to Fix a Wobbly Toilet

The last thing anyone wants to deal with is fixing a toilet. It’s one of those fixtures that you hope just works forever, because if something goes wrong, there’s suddenly a need in your life that really needs to be filled.

Luckily not all toilet issues are created equally, and with a little elbow grease fixing a rocking or wobbly toilet is as easy as replacing a few pieces.

Blog Series: How to Fix a Wobbly Toilet

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 45 Minutes

Step 1 - Remove The Water

water shutoff valve for toiletTo start, we need to get down to the bolts holding the toilet in place. But before we can move the toilet we need to empty it.

Turn off water to the toilet by closing the shut-off valve. Flush the remaining water out of the tank by holding down the lever. Sop up any remaining water from the bowl and tank with an old rag or a sponge.

When all of the water is removed, use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the water supply line from the toilet tank.

Step 2 - Remove the Toilet

On the base of the toilet, you will see removable caps covering the bolts holding the toilet to the floor. Remove the caps and use an open-end wrench to remove the hex nuts.

Set out some Cardboard or newspaper on the floor to set the toilet on. You don’t want to dirty or damage the floor when moving the toilet.

Move the toilet onto the cardboard or newspaper.

Expose the Closet Flange

On the ground you will see an old wax sealing ring. This helps keep water and sewer gasses from escaping. Use a putty knife to peel and remove this wax ring from the floor.

Stuff a rag into the drain pipe to prevent things from falling in, and keep sewer gasses from coming out.

Repairing the Closet Flange

Depending on the damage to the flange, you can either repair it by adding a repair plate, or it will have to be replaced entirely.

If there is minimal damage to the flange, with only a single groove being affected, then a repair plate can be put into place under the flange to hold the bolt.

You may need to chisel the tile away carefully to allow the plate to slide into place. Slide it under where the old groove used to be and thread the bolt into place. Don’t worry about it feeling loose, bolting it to the toilet base will pull it nice and snug against the flange.

Replacing a Closet Flange

This should be a last resort. Those cast iron flanges are strong and can be a pain to remove. You must take the utmost care NOT to break the drainpipe, or you are going to have to call someone in to replace that section of piping. Using a cold chisel, chip away at the closet flange until you can safely pry it up with a pry bar.

Ready your new compression flange and fit it on the cast iron end. If the flange doesn’t meet the floor, you will need to either chisel away at the tile to allow it to fit.

Install the flange in its place, then the rubber gasket inside the flange, and then put the brass ring into place right inside the gasket. Tap it down with a rubber hammer evenly. Install the 4 stainless steel bolts into the brass ring and tighten them in equally.

Replacing the Toilet

Install your two new closet bolts in the key grooves on either side of the flange. Install a new wax ring to keep the water in your toilet from leaking, as well as keeping any sewer gasses from leaking into your bathroom.

replacing a toilet over a new compression valveGrab the toilet and gently lower it over the newly installed bolts. Place the white plastic base, then a washer, then the nut over the bolt. Tighten the nut into place, and use a hacksaw to cut the extra bolt left sticking up. Then put the bolt cap over the bolt. Do this for both bolts.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A toilet that won’t rock on your while you’re trying to do your business. For more great home improvement and repair tips, be sure to follow us and subscribe to our emailing list!  Thanks for reading!