Fixing a Broken Toilet

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Fixing an Unstable Toilet

Dear NH,
Do you know of a way to repair a broken toilet base? When reseating the toilet I broke the flat portion of the base around the bolt hole. Will a heavy duty epoxy work?
GJ from Hurst, TX

I can usually come up with a repair or at least offer some hope, but in your case I'm afraid I can't. Toilets are made from clay, baked and glazed to a smooth finish. Though they appear to be very tough, an abused toilet will break just like a piece of fine china! Sometimes a "temporary" emergency repair can be made to a cracked bowl or tank (neither of which I recommend). The break you describe is at a high-stress area of the toilet. There is no adhesive that exists today that I would trust to make this repair. Should it re-break when the toilet is being used, severe leakage around the wax seal under the toilet could occur with dire consequences!

You might also like: 10 Tips for Remodeling a Bathroom on a Budget

The break probably occurred because you overtightened the mounting nut, causing the ceramic to crack. Another possibility is that the base already had a slight stress crack that finally gave way during reinstallation. Old toilets are particularly prone to this sort of breakage.

Breakage during installation is the most common toilet installation problem and even happens occasionally to pros. Why? Because the mounting nut never really feels tight, making it too easy to accidentally overtighten it! For future reference, the tightness of toilet mounting nuts is judged by the stability of the toilet, not the apparent tightness of the nut! If the toilet easily turns or "wiggles" under pressure (either by hand or by actually sitting on it), then it requires a little more tightening.

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There is one exception. If the floor is slightly uneven (which should be obvious by looking under the base of the toilet) breakage is even more likely since the entire base may not be tightly against the floor! Careful tightening followed by caulking around the toilet base will give sufficient support and stability. Remember, tighten the nuts firmly... just not too aggressively!

copyright 2000 G.G. Alonzy

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