NOTE!  Toilets are fragile!  Dropping or setting down a toilet too hard will break it!

When everything lines up just right, setting a toilet is a snap.  Lay down a wax, set down the toilet, and bolt it down.

First, a properly set toilet:

  1. is square to the wall
  2. rests on the wax at least ¼” before it touches the floor
  3. has the wax squish between the toilet and the pipe to remove any empty air space
  4. has bolts tight enough to prevent toilet movement, without over tightening
  5. does not rock

Common problems that prevent a proper seal:

Toilet ring is too low:

This is the most common problem we run into, usually after a remodel.  When a linoleum floor is replaced with tile, the level of the floor is raised by the thickness of the tile, grout, and plywood.  The result is an extra ½” or more thickness to the floor.  The problem is, the pipe is in the same place it used to be.  From the “toilet’s perspective” the pipe is further away than it used to be.

When you set the toilet on the wax, the toilet should not simply rest on the floor.  There should be some resistance in the form of the wax squishing.  If there is no resistance on the way down, then the toilet did not make contact with the wax ring.  It is not uncommon in this scenario to need two waxes.  In severe instances, multiple waxes with closet flange spacers may be required.

Toilet ring is too high

This is the opposite of the prior problem.  If the ring was set for tile height, and then linoleum was installed, the ring will be too high.  The problem with a ring that is too high is that it will hold the toilet up off the floor.  This allows the toilet to rock, which causes the wax ring to break once the toilet is being used.  The simplest method to correct this problem is to shim the rear of the toilet, and allow the front of the toilet to rest on the floor.  Before you begin, put the bolts and washers on each side of the toilet.  Only one wax will be needed in this scenario.  When the toilet is set, rest your weight on the front of the bowl, and hold it there through the entire setting process, to prevent the rear of the toilet from settling.  Use toilet shims to support the rear of the toilet higher in the air.  Also shim the bowl alongside the bolts to avoid breaking the bow.  Without removing your chest from the front of the bowl, install the nuts on the bolts.  Once the bolts are secure you can remove your weight from the front of the bowl.

Floor is not level

This is most common on tile floors, though it can also be a problem on wooden floors when water damage has caused the toilet to sink into the floor.  Uneven floors cause the toilet to rock.  When the toilet rocks, the wax breaks and is no longer sealed.  Set the toilet on the pipe without a wax to determine how it rocks. (Front to back, side to side, etc.) Rock the toilet toward the front as though you were sitting on it, and find its lowest point. Remove the toilet and set your wax, ensuring there is enough to create a seal (See point 1).  Set the toilet over the wax, and hold your body over the front low-point. Shim any locations that are not touching the floor, paying special attention to the locations right next to the bolts.

Toilet ring is broken

If the wings designed to hold the bolts in place are broken, the flange will have to be removed and replaced.  It is time to call a licensed plumber.  Is this your problem?  Let us know at 255-1964.

Pipe is loose in the floor

When this is the problem, the actual process of setting the toilet is easy, except that the toilet moves freely.  This usually requires opening the floor to properly set the pipe.  Give us a call at 255-1964.