Q: Our toilet rocks back and forth. How can we fix it?
The 5-year-old toilet in our master bathroom rocks back and forth. How can we fix it?
- Mrs. M.H. Curran, Houston, Tex.
Richard Trethewey replies: Sometimes all that's needed to prevent a toilet from rocking is to tighten the mounting bolts a bit. Don't crank them down too tight, however; you could crack the ceramic. It's also possible to eliminate rocking by slipping flexible Wobble Wedges shims beneath the toilet base. Still, the smartest approach would be to remove and reinstall the toilet so you can see whether all that rocking has broken anything or opened a leak under the toilet, right where it's hardest to spot.
To remove the toilet, first empty the tank by shutting off its supply line, then flushing away the water. Now disconnect the hose from the tank, remove the nuts from the mounting bolts, and lift off the toilet. Scrape off the old wax ring, which could be stuck to the toilet or to the mounting flange, the ring on the waste pipe where the mounting bolts are attached. Inspect the flange for cracks—that could also be causing the rocking. A broken flange can be replaced with a flange-repair kit available at home centers and plumbing suppliers. Also, poke around the exposed subfloor with a screwdriver. If you find any soft spots, cut them out and patch them.
Finally, to make sure the toilet will rest securely on the floor, check the height of the flange by laying a ruler across it. It should be even with or no more than 1?2 inch above the finished floor. If the flange is below the top of the floor, buy a spacer to fit on top of the flange, then remount the toilet on a new wax ring. But if the flange is more than 1?2 inch above the floor, you'll need to call a plumber to make the fix.