Fixing an Unstable Toilet
Caulking Around Toilets
Updating a Bathroom
First Aid for the Bathroom
My toilet of 15 years is now tipping forward. Could this be caused by the original plumber's putty missing in the front of the toilet? The bolts appear to be on tight as we cannot move them. We stacked two pennies together in a couple of places and that seems to stop the tipping. Can this be used as a permanent solution?
If the flange is damaged, how would we know it? There doesn't appear to be any leaks around the toilet or in the basement ceiling under it. We really don't want to reinstall the toilet or have a plumber do it if the pennies will work.
KS from Kansas City, MO
Usually when a toilet starts moving after years of stability, my first instinct is to consider hidden leakage that has started rotting the floor or rusted through the flange. However, if you have thoroughly examined the flooring underneath the toilet from your basement and find absolutely no evidence of moisture, I would say that you just need to stabilize the toilet.
Now, there are two ways to approach this: the professional way and the cheap way. The professional way would be to disconnect the water supply and attempt to tip and/or lift the toilet. If the flange is sound and the toilet firmly attached, you should not be able to lift it. Then go on to the next paragraph. If it can be lifted, the toilet must be totally removed and the flange examined for breakage.
However, with no evidence of leakage, you can probably suffice with stabilizing the toilet. Once the toilet no longer rocks, the chance of damage to the seal is virtually zero. Your solution of the pennies as shims is on the mark, sort of. You just need to spread the load a little better to minimize the chance of cracking the bowl.
So remove the pennies and replace them with thin wood shims, making sure that they do not protrude beyond the underside of the bowl. Then fill any gaps around the base of the toilet with a quality mildew-resistant latex bathroom caulk. (I wouldn't use silicone since it is too flexible and doesn't stick as well.)
First, clean the area at the base as best as you can with denatured alcohol. Allow it to dry five to ten minutes before applying the caulk. Use your finger or a damp sponge to force it between the toilet and floor and to make a neat appearance.
for tools and supplies for your home improvement project Shop at AceHardware.com
Let the caulk dry for 24 hours before use and you should have a stable throne fit for a king or queen!
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here naturalhandyman.com/aitikia. For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links naturalhandyman.com. If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page naturalhandyman.com/friends.
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at naturalhandyman.com/contest. Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Take the Next Step
Also in Home
- Cleaning the things that clean
- Painting a basement floor
- Make your own laundry detergent
- Inexpensive backyard play areas
- Buying a new furnace
- Recycling 'gray' water
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- How spring cleaning can save you money
- 4 secrets to budgeting for a home purchase
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?