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Chances are, at one particular time in your life, you have experienced the discomfort of a rocking toilet. This usually happens when the ground where you installed the toilet becomes uneven after same time. Anther cause is when the toilet flange happens to be higher than the floor, which in turn raises the toilet, making it wobbly.
The good news is that this is something that can be corrected, and I would say without necessarily seeking professional help, because all you have to do is shim the toilet. Here are the essential tips and steps on how to shim a toilet, guaranteed to solve the issue completely.
- Tighten toilet bolts
In addition to the aforementioned causes of an unstable toilet, sometimes it could be because of a loose bolts at the base. And in this case, you don’t have to go through the whole shimming hassle. Therefore, it’s important to begin by ensuring that they’re tightened properly.
Here all you need is a sizeable wrench or a pair of pliers, in order to check the bolts. However, you have to be careful enough not to over-tighten them because it could crack the porcelain, making the situation even worse.
- Get the supplies ready
Now, if the toilet still seems to be unstable even after tightening the bolts, then you have to shim its base. When it comes to shims, I recommend the plastic ones designed with ridges because they remain sturdy for a long time and they’re also available at most local hardware stores. Wooden shims often compress faster and are also considered vulnerable to moisture. In addition to the shims, make sure that you have a rag, utility knife and caulk.
- Check for any leaks
Fixing your toilet when it’s leaking at the base can be ineffective, and that’s why before you get the shimming started, look for any traces of water at the base. Toilet leaks at the base are associated with depleted or flattened wax ring which requires you remove the toilet in order to have the ring replaced. This will save you from the trouble of fixing the shims and later re-doing them when it’s time to fix the leakage issues.
- Identify the gaps
These are the places that need to be filed up with the shims, and it’s good to identify and mark all of them, so that not a single space is missed. It’s easier to see the spaces between your toilet and the surface by rocking the toilet sideways. However, if that doesn’t work for you, slide a piece at the base and mark the farthest it slides through. Those areas that tend to swallow-up the whole shim are the ones that you should pay close attention to.
- Fix the shims
This isn’t as simple as it sounds, and those who have ever tried this can attest to that. It requires patience and several trials to bring back the toilet to its usual position. Being that the spaces could be varying in terms of the width, you’ll have to try placing the shims differently to see the one that fits better at what particular space. After every fixing, you should try the toilet to see if it’s balanced already, and if not, repeat the process until it becomes levelled.
After achieving the desired balance, it’s now time to trim off the edges that are exposed, and this is where your utility knife becomes handy. Remember to always trim every piece close enough for them to remain even with the base, also paying attention so that you don’t ruin the floor.
- Caulk the toilet base
After trimming the shims properly, it’s now time to caulk the base. I prefer using tile and tub caulks which happen to be the same colour as your toilet or floor for a neatly done job. That aside, apply thin and even layers of the caulk at the entire base, until all the visible gaps and shims are fully covered. Thereafter, smooth the layers out, and if you’re using your fingers, keep wiping them clean with the rag.
That’s it everyone; the six simple ways on how to shim a toilet and have your comfort back. To avoid ruining your work, it’s important to avoid using the toilet until the caulk is completely dry, as stated on the pack. It’s also safer when you keep checking on the progress in order to identify any issue that might need to be corrected.