How To Fix A Toilet That Rocks Back and Forth

    May 16, 2022 Reid Geiler

    How To Fix A Toilet That Rocks Back and Forth_The Geiler Company

    Over time, a toilet can become loose and start rocking back and forth. That's annoying, but it can also be dangerous if the unit is not adequately secured. There are a few different ways to fix a rocking toilet, depending on the severity of the problem.


    If the problem is minor, a likely fix is tightening the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. However, if you determine the problem is more serious, you may need to replace the toilet flange or even the entire unit.


    If you're having trouble fixing a rocking toilet on your own, it is always best to call a professional. A plumber can diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs quickly. Plumbing problems are significant because they can cause extensive water damage that's expensive to repair.

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    Assess The Problem


    Always start by assessing the issue before taking action. As with any handyman job, you'll need some tools, including a crescent wrench, a plunger, and a screwdriver. If the toilet rocks back and forth, it's likely that one of the bolts has become loose. You can tighten it by using a crescent wrench. However, if the problem persists, you may need to replace the bolt or even the entire toilet flange.


    The first thing to identify is why the bolts are loose and the toilet is no longer firmly attached. Once you do, you'll have a better idea of the steps to mitigate the issue.


    If the toilet is completely loose, a replacement may be necessary. However, that's a more complicated project, and you should call a professional for help.


    Tighten the Bolts


    The first step is to use a crescent wrench to tighten the two bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. You'll usually find these located at the back.


    Tightening loose bolts could quickly resolve a rocking toilet.  However, if it doesn’t fix the issue, a bolt could be stripped and need replacement. After tightening the bolts, you can enjoy your good fortune and return to trouble-free operations if the problem resolves. However, if the rocking doesn't stop, you'll need to troubleshoot further.

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    Replace the Flange


    Sometimes, you may need to replace the entire toilet flange if the issue is more serious. However, that's a more complicated repair, and you will likely need to call a professional for help.


    If the toilet remains unstable, there could be a faulty flange or installation. The flange is the toilet part that sits on top of the drain pipe. Over time, it can become loose, causing an unstable toilet prone to rocking. You will need to reattach the flange to the drainpipe to fix it.


    If the flange is too damaged to be reattached or repaired, you must replace it. First, you will need to remove the toilet from the floor and remove the flange from the drain pipe. You can purchase a new flange at a hardware store. Once you have the new flange, you can attach it to the drainpipe using screws and seal the screw holes with caulk. Then, you can safely reattach the toilet to the floor.


    Make Sure The Floor Around the Toilet Is Level and Solid


    Another potential cause of a rocking toilet is an uneven or weak floor. If the floor around the toilet is not level, it creates instability and rocking.


    It's essential to make sure that the floor around the toilet is level and solid before you attempt any repairs. If the problem is with the floor, you will need to fix it before you can repair the toilet.


    Floor troubles could indicate more significant issues. Its possible water damage has harmed the integral structure of the flooring. If that's the case, the job will become relatively complicated in a hurry. 

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    Replace the Toilet


    In worst-case scenarios, you may find it necessary to replace the entire toilet. That's a challenging repair and should only be done by a professional.


    Most people would consider replacing it a difficult task that's not well-suited for beginners. Although you can find videos that show the process, the issue starts when something goes wrong. Generally, it's worth turning it over to professionals at this point. 


    You already have to bear the cost of the new toilet, so adding installation is a safeguard to ensure proper operation. The last thing you'll want to deal with is a unit with intermittent problems or won't work.


    emergency plumbing service

    You might also want to read:

    Do I Need to Call a Plumber for a Clogged Drain?

    What is a Toilet Flange?

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