Wobbly Toilet

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Fixing an Unstable Toilet

Dear NH,
I found your website through Yahoo while trying to find out how to stop my toilet from wobbling. It rocks front to back. I took it out to change the flooring and it is still unsteady. I have taken it apart and replaced it twice now! The top of the flange is 3/4" in. above the floor. I measured the clearance inside the bottom of the bowl and it seems that it should reach the floor but it doesn't. The front is about 1/4 in. too high (a wood shim at its thickest part goes under easily).

Dear S,
A high flange is unusual... usually the rim of the flange rests on the floor. There are a number of possible reasons why the flange would have moved, but my speculating wouldn't be helpful to you right now.

One suggestion would be to hire a plumber to lower the flange. This would require either opening up the floor or the ceiling below... not a cheap job! Another option for a do-it-yourselfer would be to build up the floor under the toilet.

In the case of minor wobbles, I have suggested using a mildew-proof latex bathroom caulk to basically "glue" the toilet in place. However, if the toilet is actually off the floor a little, you should probably add a custom-sized spacer under the bowl.

This is easier than it sounds. First mark the profile of the toilet on the floor. Then remove the toilet and place it on a piece of plywood of the proper thickness. In your case, 1/2" thick would probably do the job. Trace the shape of the toilet onto the plywood. Cut the plywood to match the profile.

Then, cut a hole in the center of the plywood for the flange, using the line you drew on the floor as a guide or use measurements from the bottom of the toilet. The hole doesn't have to be absolutely precise. It just has to allow the plywood to sit flat on the floor around the flange, matching the line you drew around the toilet bowl.

Once you have completed the cuts, place the plywood on the floor over the flange and reinstall the toilet. If you prefer (I would), waterproof the plywood with a sealer such as Thompson's Waterseal. Wait a few days before installing the sealed wood. Then after a week or so, you could put some caulk around the exposed plywood edge to further protect it from moisture when you wash the floor. Now it's your turn!

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