• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey explains how to fix a wobbly toilet.


    1 Turn off water to toilet by closing shut-off valve.
    2 Flush toilet and hold down the lever to empty tank.
    3 Sop up remaining water from tank and bowl with sponge or turkey baster.
    4 Use adjustable wrench to disconnect the water-supply line from toilet tank.
    5 Remove the caps from the closet bolts on each side of the toilet to expose hex nuts; use an open-end wrench to remove the nuts.
    6 Lift up the toilet and set it on newspaper or cardboard.
    7 Scrape away the old wax ring with a putty knife.
    8 Stuff a rag in drainpipe to block sewer gases.
    9 If necessary, use hammer and cold chisel to chip away tile to expose the closet flange.
    10 Slip a repair plate under damage section of closet flange.
    11 Install new closet bolts into slots in closet flange.
    12 Press new wax gasket onto closet flange.
    13 Set toilet back into place; press down to compress gasket.
    14 Tighten nuts on closet bolts.
    15 Trim bolts with hacksaw.
    16 Install bolt caps over the closet bolts.
    17 Check to make sure toilet is tight to floor and doesn't rock.
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
      A strong back is needed to move the toilet, but the remaining steps are rather straightforward

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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • wrench
        Open-end wrench
        for loosening the nuts on closet bolts
      • adjustable wrench
        Adjustable wrench
        used to disconnect the water-supply line
      • putty knife
        Stiff-blade putty knife
        used to scrape away old wax gasket
      • hammer
        for striking chisel
      • cpld chisel
        Cold chisel
        used to chip away tile, if necessary, to install closet flange repair plate
      • hack saw
        used to trim closet bolts

      Shopping List

      1. Wax toilet gasket

      Used to seal toilet to floor

      2. Sponge or turkey baster

      Used to soak up remaining water in toilet bowl

      3. Bucket

      To hold water removed from bowl

      4. Newspaper or cardboard

      Used to protect floor

      5. Closet flange repair plate

      Used to fix cracked closet flange

      6. Two closet bolts

      Used to secure toilet to flange