Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Fixing a Leaning Toilet Can Be a Simple Process

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Fixing a Leaning Toilet Can Be a Simple Process

Article excerpt

Q: I live in an older home, 1970s, and I have noticed the toilet in the master bath is leaning off center. I tapped on the vinyl flooring next to the toilet and it is kind of soft to the touch. Is this serious and, if so, can I fix it myself? A: The toilet is secured in place using a metal or plastic flange that is fastened with screws to the wood subfloor. The flange also is attached to the main sewer drainpipe. When a toilet bowl is installed, a wax ring is used to connect the outlet, or neck, of the bowl to the flange, creating a watertight seal.

There are two bolts, one either side of the bowl, that extend up from the flange to receive a washer and cap nut. It's pretty simple, but over-tightening of the nuts can crack the ceramic bowl.

Depending on your DIY skills, it's pretty easy to replace a wax ring. First, check the toilet bowl by facing the toilet and use your knees to see if the bowl is secure by rocking the bowl from side to side. It should not move at all. If there is movement, the bowl needs to be removed.

A slow leak over many years can cause wet rot and decay damage to the sub-floor and the toilet may start to lean to one side.

If you do not have one of the new low-flow toilets, it might be a good idea to replace the older toilet or at least add a one-gallon milk jug or tank bag to the tank to displace the stored water. You will save one gallon of water with each flush, but it should be monitored because the jug or bag could interfere with the flapper valve and allow water to leak to the bowl.

The other problem with the displacement is that the bowl may need the extra water to flush properly. This can be established only by trial and error. A milk bottle or jug needs to be weighted down with gravel or small stones before filling with water. The tank bags are available at most home and hardware stores.

What to do

1: Shut off the water supply to the toilet tank. There should be a shut-off valve under the tank on a wall or through the floor. If there is no valve, shut off the main water supply to the house. After removing the toilet, add a shut-off valve so the water can be turned on during repairs. …

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