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Last Updated on October 7, 2022 by acechapman
Have you noticed when sitting on the toilet, it seems to move? Most often, the process to secure the toilet to the floor takes place during housing construction. This is usually done by professionals. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to replace equipment or when the toilet gets wobbly during operation.
How does the toilet attach?
Toilets are attached using a metal or plastic collar called a toilet floor bracket. Attached to the floor by screws, is the flange itself. The soil stack is a large drainpipe that can carry large volumes of liquid. At high speeds. We are so grateful for that.
The floor flange and the toilet bolt together using special bolts known as closet bolts. A wax ring, known as a “believe it!” is used to seal the gap between them. Before placing the toilet on the floor, press the wax ring onto the base. This creates a waterproof seal between the toilet base and the floor flange.
What causes a toilet to become loose?
Loose toilet bolts
This is the best option out of all the problems that you might have.
You will likely find little plastic “domes” on either side of your toilet’s base. These decorative covers hide the bolts on the closet doors and protect them from moisture. You can remove them with a screwdriver. The bolts should be clearly visible if the cover is damaged (which they often are).
The heads of bolts won’t be visible, but you will see the nuts, washers, and washers. The bolt’s head is placed into the slot in the floor flange.
Tighten the nut clockwise by using your hand. You may be lucky if the bolt turns easily. Next, use a small wrench to tighten each side alternately. If the nuts are difficult to turn by hand, you can hold the bolt in your hands and use pliers to try turning the nuts with a wrench. Apply some oil to the bolts and let them rest for a while. Next, tighten them once more.
You can try turning the toilet bowl a few times until you feel resistance. Then, gently wiggle it slightly. You are likely tight enough if there is not much movement.
If the bolt is spinning freely, and the nut doesn’t tighten, or if it spins so much that the “last man” took off the top of the bolt, you’ll need to take out the toilet and examine the underside for the source of the problem.
The floor flange is typically mounted on the floor, during the original plumbing installation. If you have any subflooring, such as vinyl flooring or plywood to stiffen the floor, tile, strip wood flooring, and so on, What happens if the toilet is installed after the drain? The toilet is now higher than the flange. It is possible that the wax ring used by the installer was not thick enough to seal properly. It would be good enough to “check to clear”, but seepage could cause serious problems later!
You can stack two wax rings or buy a thicker ring for this purpose. Also, you should only use one ring with a Neoprene Sleeve and one plain ring if you have two rings. You can read more about reinstallation in the section below.
Corrosion or breakage of the floor-flange
This one is horrible! It is the worst thing that could happen and is 99 percent preventable. This problem would be rare if the original plumber did a good job and checked the toilet for looseness every two years. Wax rings do not wear out! Only movement can cause a seal to fail, and that is a lot!
The only reason a floor flange could corrode or break is if it was not due to wax ring leakage.
- Over a long time, there might be no noticeable leakage from the tank to the bowl seal. You might not notice a slight leakage behind the tank every time you flush it.
- Do not drip at the connection to the inlet valve or shutoff valve.
- Condensation (sweat), dripped from the tank, making its way under the toilet to reach the floor flange.
- Avoid putting too much water under the bowl while washing the floors.
Installers and manufacturers recommend sealing the perimeter of your toilet. Before installing it, you can either apply plumbers putty or clear caulk to it. This protects the flange against moisture and prevents small spills from dripping onto the ceiling below.
Installers will sometimes put some grout under a tiled toilet that is mounted on tiles. This is to prevent the toilet from rocking on the tile. This helps keep moisture from underneath the toilet.
Steps To Secure A Toilet To The Floor
Now, you are about to enter a new and strange world, one that very few people can see: the world under the toilet.
Removal Of The Toilet
- Turn off the water supply and disconnect the supply tube.
- Sponge the toilet. Get rid of any remaining water from the bowl and tank.
- Take decorative covers off closet bolts.
- If possible, loosen the nuts. If they are not possible, you can pull them enough with pliers to place a hacksaw underneath them. Next, remove the bolts from below the nuts. Be careful not to scratch the toilet. You can drill the nuts off if they don’t lift. You will need a 1/8″ bit to drill a hole through the nut where it meets the bolt. You can then enlarge the hole so that either the bolt or the nut falls out.
- When you take it off, place a large towel/tarp at the location you want to use the toilet.
- To check if there is any caulk around the base of your toilet, you can use a utility knife to cut it. To remove the caulk from the base, you can use a utility knife. If this is too difficult, you can use a flexible scraper or thin putty knife to run under the base’s perimeter.
- With a gentle twist and rocking motion, lift the toilet off the floor. A slight twist should break the seal between the toilet flange and the floor. Place the toilet on the tarp.
- Take a look at the area between the floor and the flange. Is the floor wet? Are the tiles loose or glued? Is the wood subfloor wet or rotten? Is the flange badly rusted? Is there a $100 bill wrapped up in a roll next to the flange? These things could be any of them. Each item will require its own repair before you are able to reinstall your toilet.
Reinstallation of the toilet
You are probably here to solve the problem you had when you removed the toilet.
These are the materials that you will need.
- Get new closet bolts.
- You can make a wax ring with either a single, double or extra-thick sleeve. Double the rings by using one without neoprene sleeves on the bottom towards your flange and one plain wax ring at the top. Even if the toilet was taken apart to check for leaks, it is important that you replace the wax rings.
- New supply tube (except if you are reinstalling the same toilet or the same brand of toilet without making any major floor repairs, such as wallpaper, paneling, painting, and so on). If the supply tube is still in use, you should replace it if it has one.
Securing The Toilet
- All wall and floor repairs must be completed and all glues, caulks and grouts must dry.
- Fit the toilet to the flange. To stop the rocking from getting too severe, caulk the toilet’s end. If you are using tile grout, mix a small amount of grout (never use less than 2 cups) and then force it under your toilet.
- If you haven’t already, lay the toilet flat on its back or side.
- Use the closet bolts that you just bought to insert the keyhole-like slots in the floor flange.
- Place the bolts on the floor flange so that they are parallel and at the same distance from the wall.
- Then, place the toilet over the floor flange and then lower it onto the flange.
- Press down on the toilet and rock it until the bolts reach the bottom of the base.
- First, place the plastic base for decorative caps on, followed by the flat washer and finally the nut. Make sure you tighten both sides. Next, turn the toilet over until it is securely pressed against the floor.
- If you’re reusing an old supply tube, tighten the coupling nuts on the supply tube to the inlet valve. Or, install the new supply tube.
- Slowly turn on the water. The tank should fill up. Look for leaks.
- Turn the water off completely if there are no leaks. Then fill the tank with water until the inlet valve closes.
- If everything looks good, you can now caulk the area around the toilet’s base.
- Before you go to the toilet, let the grout or caulk dry for 24 hours.
It’s not difficult to secure a toilet to the floor, but it does require some expertise. To do it, however, you will need to have certain skills.
You can attach your toilet to the floor with glue, anchor bolts & dowels, or install it in a screed to secure it.
You must first acquire the right tools and materials. Your work must also comply with all applicable building codes and regulations.
If you feel that the work is too difficult, you can always hire a specialist. While they will charge a fee, the quality of their work is guaranteed.