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Ask John Wobbly Toilet Main Image
Ask John Wobbly Toilet Main Image

Why Does My Toilet Wobble?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Don’t Panic When You Find Your Toilet Wobbling

No one wants a wobbly toilet. It’s not only unsettling to use a wobbly toilet, but it’s also a precursor of leaks and water damage if not addressed right away. If you think your toilet is wobbly or notice issues like a creaking noise whenever you sit on it, be sure to tackle the problem as soon as possible to prevent accidents and further damage to your home.

There are various reasons why your toilet wobbles. Most often, it’s because the bolts holding the toilet in place are loose. It may also be due to a broken or corroded flange. Many of the causes of a wobbling toilet are easy to correct. Read on to learn how to fix a wobbly toilet and why it’s unstable in the first place.

Diagnosing Wobbly Toilet Fix
Check out the following common causes of a wobbly toilet.

Common Causes of a Wobbly Toilet and How to Fix Them

The question that’s been bothering you is, “Why does my toilet wobble when I sit on it?” If your toilet wobbles when you sit on or clean around it, you should address it as soon as possible, as it can be a safety hazard. The toilet might become unstable and fall over, hurting you or causing water damage.

Loose Bolts or Screws

One of the most common causes of a wobbling toilet is loose bolts or screws. Over time, the bolts and screws that attach the toilet to the floor become loose, causing it to shift and wobble. How do you fix a wobbly toilet due to loose bolts or screws? Easy – you need to tighten them. You can do this by removing the caps that cover the bolts at the toilet’s base and using a wrench to tighten them. If the screws are loose, you can also tighten them using a screwdriver.

Damaged Flange

Another possible cause of a wobbling toilet is a damaged flange. What is a flange? It’s a metal or plastic ring connecting the toilet to the waste pipe on the floor. If it’s damaged, it can cause the toilet to become unstable and wobble. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to fix. You only need to replace it. The problem is it’s a more complex repair, so you might need the help of a professional plumber.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, discusses common reasons why your toilet could be wobbling, along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to fix it.

Worn Out Wax Ring

A toilet loose from the floor and leaking water might be because of a worn-out wax ring. The wax ring is a rubber gasket that seals the toilet to the floor and the waste pipe. Over time, the wax ring can wear out or become damaged, causing the toilet to wobble. How to fix a wobbly toilet due to a worn-out wax ring? It’s a fairly easy solution – replace the wax ring. Just remove the toilet, replace the wax ring, and reattach the toilet to the floor.

Uneven Floor

If your bathroom floor is uneven, it can cause the toilet to become unstable and wobble. This happens because the toilet isn’t sitting flat on the floor. The way to solve this is by leveling the floor. This is a more complex repair, unlike the other methods we’ve mentioned. It is best to request the help of a professional contractor for this job.

Improper Installation

If your toilet wasn’t installed properly in the first place, it could cause it to wobble. This could be due to a number of factors, such as using the wrong size of bolts or screws. Or, the toilet wasn’t properly secured to the floor. Perhaps it was not properly aligned with the waste pipe. Whatever the cause is, you will need a professional plumber to reinstall the toilet properly to stop it from wobbling.

Various factors, such as loose bolts or screws, a damaged flange, an uneven floor, a worn-out wax ring, or improper installation, can cause a wobbling toilet. Identifying the cause of the problem is essential if you want to fix your wobbly toilet. When you find the root cause of the issue, you can take the necessary steps to fix it and prevent damage to your home.

Wobbly Toilet Fixes
Follow our step-by-step repair guide for wobbly toilet issue.

How to Fix a Wobbly Toilet

You now know what possibly caused your wobbly toilet. When asked, “Why does my toilet wobble?” you can answer. But what about the question, “How do I fix a wobbly toilet?” Here’s a brief explanation of the different steps to fixing a wobbly toilet.

1. Turn Off the Water Supply to the Toilet

Before starting any repairs, turn off the water supply to the toilet by turning the shut-off valve. This will prevent water from flowing into the toilet tank and bowl while you work.

2. Empty the Tank and Bowl of Water

Flush the toilet to empty the tank and bowl of water. If there’s still water in the bowl, use a plunger to force out any remaining water. Use a towel or sponge to soak water in the tank or bowl.

3. Tighten the Bolts at the Base of the Toilet

Check if the bolts holding the toilet to the floor are loose. If they are, use a wrench to tighten the nuts on the bolts at the toilet’s base. Be careful not to overtighten them, as this can crack the porcelain base of the toilet.

4. Replace the Wax Ring

If the toilet is still wobbling, check the wax ring next. If it is the problem, you will need to replace it. You can do this by removing the nuts from the bolts and gently rocking the toilet back and forth to break the wax seal. Once the seal is broken, lift the toilet off the flange. Scrape the old wax ring and replace it with a new one before reseating the toilet.

5. Use the Shims to Level the Toilet

As mentioned, one of the possible causes of a wobbly toilet is an uneven floor. If this is the case with you, you can use shims to level the toilet. Place the shims under the base of the toilet until it is level, then cut off the excess with a knife or a saw. Once level, reattach the nuts to the bolts to secure the toilet.

6. Turn the Water Supply Back On

When you’re done fixing the toilet, the last step is to turn the water supply back on. Let the tank fill with water, and then flush the toilet a few times to check for leaks or wobbling. Tighten the bolts a little more if necessary.

Expert Toilet Installation
For best results hire a qualified plumber to help.

Wobbly Toilet FAQs

Can a wobbly toilet be dangerous?

Yes, a wobbly toilet can be dangerous if left unfixed. If it’s not securely attached to the floor, it can tip over and cause injury. A wobbly toilet can also cause leaks and water damage, making it a safety hazard. This makes it crucial to fix a wobbly toilet as soon as possible, ideally with the assistance of a professional contractor.

Can I fix a wobbly toilet myself?

Most causes of a wobbly toilet are simple enough. You can fix them on your own if you have some basic plumbing knowledge and tools. The steps to fix a wobbly toilet are fairly simple, but if you are unsure of what to do or encounter any problems, it is best to seek the help of a professional plumber.

What tools do I need to fix a wobbly toilet?

If you decide to fix your wobbly toilet by yourself, you will need tools such as a wrench, pliers, a level, a putty knife, and shims, if needed. You may also need a new wax ring, bolts, and nuts if the old ones are rusted or damaged. You will know what tools you’ll need depending on the cause of your wobbling toilet.

Hire a Local Plumbing Pro

Fixing a wobbly toilet is simple enough in most cases. But if you’re unsure how to do it or the problem persists, it’s best to call a professional plumber. They can do better at diagnosing the issue and providing the right solution.

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