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Thread: How to trim out an out-of-level toilet?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member deltasmith's Avatar
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    Apr 2010

    Default How to trim out an out-of-level toilet?

    I have a recent model American Standard low flow toilet, installed on a very much out-of-level floor. The toilet works great, partly because it's got a much better design than the first generation of low flow flush toilets, and partly because I went to great lengths to ensure that I installed it perfectly level, (it replaced a first-gen low-flow that would not work if more than just a tiny bit out of level).

    Now my problem is that the toilet is jacked up so high in the front in order to be level, that there's a huge gap between the floor and the front of the toilet (a tape measure tells me that it's 7/8" at the worst point at the very front of the toilet). I would appreciate ideas about how to trim this out so that it doesn't look like you could lose a small child between the toilet and the tile that it sits on (or the tile that it hovers above, depending on whether you are looking at the front or the back). Currently it's sitting on tile at the back, and then I have three other support points near the front that are made out of stacking those plumbers wedges that I've read in other posts on this site are not nearly as well regarded as door shims. Four of the soft plastic toilet shims stacked together give me the 7/8" max gap support in the front-most part of the toilet, and then I am using two or three of the shims in a stack to support the sides near the front.

    A word to the wary - if you haven't already gotten yourself into this kind of situation but you are thinking about investing in a new throne, ask yourself if you really need the "elongated bowl" model. I thought it sounded like a good idea when I was shopping, but if your floor is out of level, then it makes a bad problem that much worse, by amplifying the distance between the highest point and the lowest point of the floor upon which the toilet sits, and this acts to increase the max gap.

    One option is to say to heck with being level! Just shim it enough to keep it from rocking. But my previous experience with the toilet I replaced was that being level really matters. Still, I haven't investigated that idea with this newer toilet, and maybe the new one would be more tolerant of being out of level than the toilet it replaced.

    Currently I'm thinking that 7/8 out of level is probably enough to interfere with the flush reliability of a low flow toilet, and so I need to shim it to level and then figure out how to trim out the huge crack at the base. It's too big a gap to fill with caulk. I could put some backing material in, and then put caulk over the backing material, but I think that would still look pretty crappy. My current best idea is to fill it with backing material, then caulk it out flush with the porcelain, and then run a strip of white vinyl tape over that (I'm thinking the tape would look better than a 7/8 tall strip of caulk). There's a similar idea competing with this thought - there's a kind of tape that is made for trimming a tub-to-floor joint where part of the tape sticks to the tub and part sticks to the floor (they score the non-stick backing so you can fold the tape laterally to help make this work). That probably works great on a tub with no curves, but on a toilet that has a curved footprint with a continuously varying outside curve, the tape isn't likely to bend to accommodate that footprint unless I cut notches in it, and at that point the cuts to accommodate the curves are probably going to look like crap.

    Does anyone have a solution for this kind of problem?


  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    If your floor is that far from level, the only thing you can do is hack the job with shims and caulk. It will always look terrible, but will probably work. I would be concerned about what has caused the floor to be that far out of level. Surely it wasn't built that way so something has happened to cause the problem. Sorry this isn't more positive or constructive, but I see no way to sugar coat this.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member chefwong's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    District of Columbia


    Almost 1" gap is pretty knarly. Not sure what the situation is or budget, but I suppose correcting the floor is not open to discussion ?

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    I prefer to have the bowl touching the floor.
    If the bowl is lower in front, that just means more water in the bowl. I prefer too much to too little. Are you sure that the bowl you have is level?
    It's easy enough to check the floor, just drop a level on it. 7/8" of an inch in 2 feet? That's a bunch.

    Some guys will shim, and then caulk or grout the bowl up in place. I have done this a few times. It's not real pretty, and that's why we tend to just leave them touching the floor in front. If you're walking around in a crooked home, you're probably used to it anyway.

    Unless the door is hitting the bowl, it should be elongated.
    That is unless you work for Consumer Reports, then you can have the tiny round bowl.
    Someone has to buy that junk.

    American Standard Cadet 3 elongated bowl with a built in lean.

    You may want to check your bowl for level.

    Last edited by Terry; 08-06-2012 at 11:58 AM.

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