Don’t Ignore a Loose Toilet 2022
Don’t ignore a loose toilet, it can cost you more than you think by delaying repairing it. Many homeowners will change the toilet themselves, I mean why not; it’s only $100 at Home Depot and a few pieces of hardware. I remember when I changed my toilet the first time, first timer tip: take someone with you because toilets are heavy.
A loose toilet can be a nuisance but even more important it can cost you a significant amount of problems if there are gases leaking into the home or the flange breakers and the toilet leaks. If the toilet leaks into the home, the flooring, finishes, furniture, rot, and possible mold growth can be the results of the leak.
What causes a toilet to be loose?
- Loose closet bolts – these are the bolts that are hidden by a plastic half-circle cover on both sides of the toilet. When this becomes loose, it allows the toilet to become mobile and rock back and forth. Many times the bolts are rusted and may need to be replaced vs tightened. Remedy your loose toilet accordingly. If you have old bolts that can’t be tightened then it may be time to purchase some new ones.
- Remodeling/Poor Installation – as mentioned before, homeowners remodel all the time with simple do-it-yourself projects and the toilet is a favorite for homeowners to change but not done correctly as we find loose toilets during the home inspections all the time. Also, if the homeowner installs the new flooring on top of the original materials to which the flange is connected, the toilet will sit higher than it was intended. The new wax ring won’t be able to create a tight seal, and the toilet will wobble and leak.
- Corrosion – Flanges become corroded from things like leaks that seep into the bowl, an inlet valve connection that drips, shut valves leaking, and tank condensation.
Don’t ignore a loose toilet. Why?
The primary reason we see during a home inspection in Broward, Miami, and Palm Beach Counties is poor installation. The toilet wasn’t tightened properly and missing caulking and/or grout. Keep in mind, that you as the homeowner that made the change knows that the toilet is loose and you will most likely be careful when using it but what about your children, visitors, or anyone else unaware of the issue; they may not be as gentle and cause additional damage that puts your home at risk of water damage.
How do you repair a loose toilet?
Things You Will Need
- Spray lubricant
- Locking pliers
- Reciprocating saw
- Putty knife
- Flange repair kit
- Wooden shims
- Tile grout
- Wax ring
- Attempt to tighten the nuts on the toilet bolts with a wrench. Use a spray lubricant on the nuts if they are difficult to turn. If the bolt turns when you turn the nut, hold the bolt steady with a pair of locking pliers while you turn the nut.
- Ensure you don’t over-tighten the nuts too much or you may break the toilet. They are fragile. If you can’t get the toilet to stop wobbling, loosen the nuts and remove them. Before you loosen the nuts, turn off the water supply to the toilet that is the valve on the rear side of the toilet. Disconnect the supply hose with adjustable pliers and empty the tank by flushing. Use a wet vacuum to remove any water still in the tank after draining. Once you have removed the nuts, lift the toilet off the flange.
- Check for signs of leakage on the subfloor. If you find that the subfloor has leakage damage, repair it before moving forward.
- After the subfloor is ready. Clean all the wax off around the flange with a putty knife. Inspect the flange ring, if it is corroded or damaged, you can repair or replace it as needed.
- Repair a damaged flange with a repair ring or a repair plate.
- Shim the toilet if the flange is too high. Fill space between the toilet and the floor with tile grout.
- Hook the toilet bolts in the tracks on either side of the flange and arrange them across from each other. Place the wax ring on the flange opening, drop the toilet and push down on the bowl to compress the wax. Tighten the toilet bolts with a wrench. Once the bolts are tight and the toilet is stable, hook up the water and turn it on to fill the tank. Leave the water supply on.
Summary: Don’t Ignore a Loose Toilet 2022
I hope that the article has been helpful. If you are not qualified to complete the repairs then please seek a qualified contractor to assist you. No matter your choice of remedy, please don’t ignore a loose toilet. If you have additional questions and you want to get in contact with GGR Home Inspections please send us a note, text, or call.
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