(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Toilet is Rocking or, How Tight Should the Nuts Be?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member riker1384's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default Toilet is Rocking or, How Tight Should the Nuts Be?

    I just installed a Kohler Cimarron, my first toilet. It's working and not leaking, but it rocks a bit back and forth. I tightened the floor bolts for some time, and they seemed like they could keep going without much effort, but the instructions said not to over-tighten. Is there a rough torque standard?

    The seal instructions said to twist the base back and forth, but the toilet instructions didn't and I was going by those. In case that's relevant.

    Jamie's instructions for installing a toilet
    Last edited by Terry; 01-09-2009 at 01:17 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    The toilet bolts should not be overtightened, but they should be tight. If you hear the sound of metal on porcelain, stop tightening. But if you still feel the bolts tightening against the wax ring, keep going. If the bolts come out of the flange when you are tightening them, then you either messed up when you put them in the flange or your flange needs to be repaired. The trick is to use a very small wrench when you're tightening the bolts, so you can get a better feel for how tight the bolts are getting.

    If you are satisfied that the bolts did not pull thru the flange and they are reasonably tight, you can keep the toilet from rocking by caulking the base, if it's a minor rocking, or shimming and then caulking the base, if the rocking is more severe. But make sure the toilet bolts are tightened down first.

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    I'm not sure of the material the flange is made of but PVC flanges can break and when the toilet is off you may not see it. As you tighten the toilet down the flange pulls up because it is broken and PVC will flex. If it feels very loose keep tightening. As far as the rocking goes, yes, it must be shimmed. If you don't sooner or later the toilet will leak on to the floor due to a failed wax ring. I would pull the toilet, clean and inspect the flange closely, then reinstall the toilet and shim it so it doesn't rock. If there are 2 shim points try shimming in the direction that is more level.

  4. #4
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,423

    Default

    And if your on a ceramic floor you will have to grout to fill in the gap at the floor to improve the looks and to augment the shims.

    Or on a wood floor shim it and wipe caulking in to the gap all the way around.

    Last edited by Terry; 09-05-2009 at 01:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,390

    Default

    Wax has very little elasticity...if the toilet rocks, you have likely overcompressed it in one part, and when you rock back the other way, it leaves a gap. Take it off, figure out where you need shims, then put on a new wax ring and set it back down on the shims so when it is down all of the way it doesn't rock. Fix the flange first, if it is a problem. If the flange isn't sitting flush on top of the finished floor, it could just be too high, then it just won't work right. The flange should be fastened down through the finished floor into the subflooring with no gap underneath it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member riker1384's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I'm retyping this all because my login expired and I lost my draft.

    The floor is small tiles, about an inch across.

    The toilet was rocking just enough to make a clunking sound, a fraction of an inch. I've tightened the nuts to the point where the washers are starting to bend, so I stopped The nuts became gradually tighter but there was no distinct feeling that they were done, and yes I'm using a short wrench. Now it moves less and doesn't hit the tile and make the noise.

    Are they really that touchy, that I should redo it? I have little more money or time for this and no competent help. Can I try caulking it and seeing how it turns out? If it leaks I should be able to see it from the basement below. I'll have to at least take the tank off at some point to paint the wall, so I could maybe plan on redoing the seal then to be on the safe side.

    I was asking about the nuts also because another toilet has been solid for 2 years but the plastic bolt-cap anchors weren't put in, so I'll have to re-tighten the floor bolts if I put those in. I don't want to screw that one up. That one also isn't caulked, so I might do that, but neither was the one I just replaced and it was fine for 20 years.

  7. #7

    Default

    If it's not leaking, and the bolts are getting tighter, then you don't need to redo anything. You would know if the bolts had pulled out of the flange, because they would instantly become very very loose. Just caulk the base and be done with it.

    On the older toilet, you don't need to remove the floor bolts to install the plastic caps. Just stick the caps over the bolts, providing that the bolts have been cut short enough. If you want, you can caulk the caps in place. I would never pull a toilet that wasn't leaking just to install bolt caps.

    To cut the floor bolts, I would use a hacksaw, or better yet, a Dremel cutoff wheel, if you have one.

  8. #8
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    2,686

    Default

    I would pull the toilet, clean up the flange and toilet base and see what's going on with the flange. The set the toilet on the flange with no wax ring. If it rocks, or is otherwise not sitting solidly on the floor, you've got a problem. A fixable problem, but one you need to know exists before trying to fix some other problem.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member riker1384's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    The rocking is about 1/8" now and I'm leaning towards caulking it and maybe redoing it later when I have to get at the walls, as there's no concensus. Is there some good book about plumbing & other home work, some sort of reference I can look at? Home Depot sells a book but it looks too heavy on pictures, too light on text.

    I wasn't going to pull the other one to put the bolt cap washers on, just undo the nuts. i just don't want to mess it up if it's tricky to re-tighten them properly. Without the plastic anchor/washers I could glue the caps in place or something, but it'd be nicer to have the pop on and off like they're supposed to.

  10. #10
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,423

    Default

    I thought that the comments made were quite clear..........

    Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,390

    Default

    If the toilet rocks, the wax ring will or has failed. You need to ensure it doesn't rock while setting it down onto the wax ring. NO rocking after installation, or it will or has failed. Wax is NOT like rubber - it will pull away and not rebound, leaving an opening. Other than gasses, you may not notice any leaks unless there is a clog, then you'll get water leaks as well.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12

    Default

    I disagree with the assertion that if a toilet rocks slightly the seal has failed. The wax ring is over an inch thick, (somewhat less after smushing down) and the rocking is ~1/8". If he caulks the base, there will be no rocking, and the seal will be preserved, provided that it was sealed properly in the first place.

    Not all bath floors are perfectly level, and not all flanges are perfectly flush with the floor. Thus, a slight amount of rocking is not uncommon and is easily dealt with by caulking the base.

    People around here act like pulling a toilet is as easy as opening a window. If it ain't broke (or leaking) don't pull it.

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,390

    Default

    Once you smush the wax down, it doesn't rebound. If you have rocking, you smush it down further. At that point, you are relying on the flexibility of the wax to remain attached and keep the seal. This is unlikely, but possible. You need to figure out where to shim the toilet before you place it down for the "final" time with the wax ring installed or you risk compromising the seal.

    You might want to try one of the waxless rings which don't rely on wax for the seal - the parts are more flexible.

    Jamie's instructions for installing a toilet
    Last edited by Terry; 07-05-2010 at 04:58 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •