How To Shim A Toilet That Rocks Or Wobbles?

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Last Updated on January 4, 2023 by acechapman

Shimming a toilet involves using thin, flexible wedges called toilet shims to level and stabilize the toilet. This is a common process that is used to correct a wobbly or unstable toilet or to level a toilet that is not sitting properly on the floor. To shim a toilet, it is a simple process that can be done by most homeowners with a few basic tools.

How To Level A Wobbly Toilet With Shims?

To level a toilet, toilet shims can be made of thin rubber or plastic tabs. Also, you can use wooden shims made from scrap wood or coins made of stainless steel. The toilet must be shimmed if it is placed on an uneven surface or if the toilet’s flange is too high above the floor. As you read further, we will discuss the process of how to shim a toilet.

You will need to shim your toilet if it is rocking or wobbling. Wobbly toilets pose a danger to users, especially the elderly and disabled.

Start by loosening the bolts on your toilet to shim or level it. Once the toilet feels firm, place the shims around it. Turn the bolts tightening and remove any shims. You can also use either bolt washers or coins if you don’t own toilet shims.

A wobbly or rocking toilet can eventually eat the toilet wax rings. The toilet wax ring is a seal between the toilet bottom and the toilet flange. It seals the toilet flange and bottom to keep out sewer gases and flush water.

If your toilet is wobbly, the seal may be compromised. Water that has traces of urine or feces can leak from the toilet base. In the bathroom, sewer gases will reign supreme.

It is important to learn how to shim a toilet. Do it immediately if it begins to wobble, or when you install a toilet on an uneven surface. However, not all toilets with wobbly surfaces need any shimming.

Sometimes, the bolts on the toilet can become loose and the toilets start to rock around. Before you start to shim your toilet, make sure you check this detail.

how to shim a toilet

How To Shim A Rocking Toilet?

The way you shim your toilet depends on whether it is an existing toilet that is working well or a new one that you are installing. You could also have a toilet installed on a flange higher than the recommended height of (1/4 inch).

Before you start shimming the toilet, make sure to check the base to ensure that it isn’t leaking. You can shim the toilet if it is only wobbly but not leaking. Toilet shims with a ribbed design are best, as they can be double-stacked if necessary.

To determine which side the toilet is on, use a spirit level on the toilet bowl. You don’t need to worry if you don’t have it. To see which side has the gap, hold the toilet bowl with both hands. You can do this better if you are sitting down or in a squatting position.

To evenly distribute the pressure, start sliding the shims. Then, continue to rock the toilet or sit on it as you add the shims.

You can loosen the bolts on the toilet to insert the shims. Then, tighten the toilet once the shims have been in place. Once you’re satisfied that the toilet is stable on the floor, take a sharp knife and remove any protruding ends.

Steps To Shim A New Toilet Or Wobbly Toilet?

A toilet that has been wobbling indefinitely without being shimmed will eventually leak. It is best to take out the toilet and replace the wax ring before reinstalling the toilet. This is how you would install a new toilet for the first time.

Turn The Water Off That Goes To The Toilet

how to shim a toilet
  • Locate the shutoff valve on the left side of the toilet, and turn it clockwise.
  • To get as much water out of the toilet as possible, flush it and then hold the lever down.
  • Take off the lid from the toilet tank and store it in a safe location.
  • To remove any water remaining at the bottom, use a sponge.
  • Disconnect the water supply from the toilet tank. The water supply line is the braided pipe that runs from the shutoff valve to the tank. If it is too tight, loosen it by using a wrench.
  • The sponge can also be used to remove any water from the bottom of your toilet bowl. It is now time to take out the toilet.

Remove The Toilet

  • On each side of the toilet, look for a bolt. Sometimes, the bolts may be covered with plastic caps. Take off the caps.
  • To loosen the bolts, use an adjustable spanner and if they are rusted, cut them with a small hacksaw.
  • To clean the toilet, hold it by the bowl and rock it around to break the wax seal. Then lift it off with a fork and place it on a piece of newspaper.
  • To prevent sewer gases from escaping your bathroom, plug the drainpipe using a rag.
  • Toss the old wax ring. Wax rings can’t be reused.
  • Use a putty knife to remove any old wax that remains on the toilet outlet and the top of the toilet bowl flange.
  • To determine if the toilet flange needs to be replaced, inspect its condition. It is easy to replace a toilet flange that has been removed.

Install The Toilet Without The Wax Ring

It is much easier to map the areas you will need to shim your toilet without using the wax ring. The wax ring makes the toilet less rigid.

  • You can remove the toilet bolts by removing them from the toilet flange. Install the toilet, but don’t tighten the lid.
  • Look for any gaps underneath the toilet, and then slide in the toilet slips. Mark the places where the shims have been installed after the toilet has become solidly on the floor.
  • Place the toilet on the side in the meantime.

Replace The Wax Ring

This is how you should proceed, regardless of whether you are installing a wax band on a new toilet and/or replacing an old wax ring.

  • Place the wax ring in the outlet of the toilet. Be careful not to damage it. It is easier to do this by placing it in warm water for a few minutes, or in the sun for a while. This makes it easier for you to slide in.
  • Rubber gasket seats are an alternative to using wax rings for toilets. They work in the same manner as wax rings but use rubber seals instead.

Install The Toilet And Shim It

  • Take the rag out of the drainpipe.
  • To align the toilet bolts with the flange, lift the toilet and place it gently.
  • Place the shims onto the marked areas and gently push them in with your hand.
  • Attach a washer to each bolt, and then tighten. To keep the toilet level, tighten the bolts alternately. Keep in mind that the bowl is ceramic and should not be tightened too much to crack it.
  • Place your towel on the toilet seat and make sure it is sturdy and comfortable.
  • The shims should be cut at an angle with a knife so that the edges of the shims are hidden.

Connect The Toilet Back To The Water Supply

  • Connect the water supply line from the toilet tank to the water line and turn the shutoff valve counterclockwise.
  • To ensure that there are no leaks, flush the toilet several times.
  • Place the lid on the toilet tank.

This is how to shim the toilet. It is always a good idea to shim the toilet before it leaks. Even if the toilet isn’t rocking, it’s still on an uneven floor, it will not be comfortable sitting on the throne.

Is It Necessary To Caulk Around The Toilet?

It is generally not necessary to caulk around the base of a toilet. The toilet should be installed with a wax ring seal that creates a watertight seal between the toilet and the drain pipe. This wax ring seal should be sufficient to prevent leaks and moisture from seeping under the toilet.

However, there are a few situations where it may be beneficial to caulk around the base of the toilet. For example:

  1. If the toilet was not installed properly and is not sealed with a wax ring, caulk may be used to create a watertight seal and prevent leaks.
  2. When the floor around the toilet is uneven or damaged, caulk may be used to fill in gaps and create a smooth, seamless surface.
  3. If the toilet is located in an area of the bathroom that is prone to moisture or water splashing (such as near a shower or tub), caulk may be used to prevent water from seeping under the toilet and causing damage.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, we’ve helped you show the process of how to shim a toilet. This will be beneficial for you if your toilet starts rocking or wobbling. By doing it yourself, you’ll save some money that you can use for something else. As always, if everything doesn’t seem to work, you can consult a professional to get the job done.

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