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Thread: Shim toilet in front and back?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member adam211's Avatar
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    Default Shim toilet in front and back?

    Background:
    I just purchased a home and the toilet started leaking a little out the base. It's an old house but the bath was remodeled--new tile, toilet, etc.

    The toilet is a Gerber pressure-assist floor-mount with a rear outlet. I took it off the base, stripping off the caulk, and found a wax ring. It was definitely leaking at the outlet, I was surprised that it would do that just a few months after its installation. I was also surprised to find the back bolts pretty loose but didn't think about it at the moment. I just finished replacing the wax ring with a neoprene ring and--hurray--no leak.

    The problem:
    I've discovered that the toilet is only really contacting the floor at the floor bolts. It's lifting up in the rear AND in the front. The floor seems to be pretty level, so far as I and a cheap level can make out.

    Is this common/designed for the toilet to lift up off the floor in the front and the rear? If I tighten the bolts in the back much beyond finger tight I start to hear creaking and fear that I will break the flange off the wall, but maybe that is ill-founded. But when you also factor in that the toilet lifts up off the floor in the rear 2 inches (by maybe 1/16" or 1/32") and the front 12 inches (by maybe 1/8"), it seems better if I leave the wall bolts a little looser, but then I fear that the toilet will start to develop a leak.

    So my questions:
    How tight should the wall-facing bolts be?
    Is it normal for the toilet to lift up in the front and rear and/or where should I shim? I don't want the porcelain to crack when weight is placed on it!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Default

    Any bowl needs to set flat to the floor without rocking. Shim as needed, though we tend to shim the back and try to pin the front of the bowl to the floor. Then we use polyseamseal and caulk the bowl to the floor.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member adam211's Avatar
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    So I just tried to rock it to the front of the bowl to the floor. I loosened up the bolts a little to stick a shim under and got the front on the floor. Then the toilet started leaking again! Are the neoprene seals only good once? I have to take a bowl out now to clean up the water--do I have to replace the neoprene seal? Those are expensive! I'll keep having to buy a $30 seal until I get it right. Maybe it's time to call the plumber...

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam211 View Post
    So I just tried to rock it to the front of the bowl to the floor. I loosened up the bolts a little to stick a shim under and got the front on the floor. Then the toilet started leaking again! Are the neoprene seals only good once? I have to take a bowl out now to clean up the water--do I have to replace the neoprene seal? Those are expensive! I'll keep having to buy a $30 seal until I get it right. Maybe it's time to call the plumber...
    well Terry is practically your neighbor.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Those seals should last a few install/removal cycles but how much did you have to raise the rear to get the front down? There's a limit before the seal can't make anymore.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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