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Reasons Why Your Toilet Is Rocking And How To Fix It

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Nothing is more irritating and dangerous than a toilet that is rocking. However, the rocking can be a sign that water damage is eminent from a leak. It is best to begin with the simplest problems, but you may need to replace the entire toilet if the rocking doesn't stop.

Improper Installation

If the bathroom floor was redone, the floor might not be level. If the installer did not carve the flooring away around the toilet, the floor might be the problem. Look at the flooring around the toilet and see if you are able to tell if it was cut away properly.

Closet Bolts

Broken or loose closet bolts may cause the toilet to wobble. This is a simple fix with the tightening of the bolts. You need to remove the plastic caps on each side of the toilet's bowl. Use a screwdriver to pry the caps. You will see a nut that will need to be tightened with a socket wrench. Use caution and don't tighten them too much because you could crack the toilet.

Broken bolts will need to be replaced. You can purchase these individually. This step will require moving the toilet from the floor. You will need to replace the wax seal when the tank is moved. During this process, you should check the toilet flange.

Toilet Flange

The bolts attach to a flange, which is a plastic ring or strong metal bolted to the floor. Be sure to turn off the water and dry out the water in the bowl before you remove the toilet. The flange is the semi-circle piece that fits under the broken flange. Simply follow the instructions on the flange package for replacement.

Be sure to tighten the bolts slowly so the wax seal is not broken. You can also purchase a wax-free seal for an easier and cleaner replacement.


If it becomes necessary to remove the toilet, shove a rag in the drainage hole to prevent the sewer smell from entering your home. Scrape all debris and old caulking materials from around the hole with a putty knife. You can use mineral spirits to remove the residue.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Hacksaw
  • Drill: A cordless unit is easiest
  • Hammer drill
  • Locking pliers
  • You may need a masonry bit for some floors.
  • Toilet shims
  • Silicone caulk
  • Water closet bolts
  • Wax ring

Many of the problems with a rocking toilet are easily repaired. If you are a do-it-yourself individual, these guidelines should help the process. However, if the problems are not evident or if you are not sure of the correct way to perform the repairs; it may be better to hire a professional. At any rate, this information will provide a better understanding of the issue, and what questions you need to ask the plumber.