Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Tightening bolts on the base of a toilet is the one thing about toilet installation that has me the most nervous. They say not to over-tighten, but how tight is too tight before the porcelain is subject to cracking? Do I tighten until I can't tighten anymore? Do I tighten it just before I think it's at its tightest?

share|improve this question
1  
If the porcelain cracked, it was too tight! –  Matt Jul 8 '13 at 0:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I start by hand tightening as much as I can, then I tighten a little on each side and check if the toilet moves. If it does then I tighten a bit more, check and repeat until there's no movement. You're trying to avoid bowl movement, so that it doesn't shift or fall over, not to hold the floor up by the toilet bolts.

As tight as you can go will probably snap the porcelain (with a good socket you can torque a nut onto a bold quite a bit). Until you think it's about to snap is just guessing.

Snug. No movement. Enjoy.

"Too tight" is a sixteenth of a turn past where the porcelain snaps :-)

share|improve this answer
1  
The length of your wrench will affect the "feel" of tightness. I have a ratchet with a 2" handle (the most expensive wrench in my toolbox) that I use whenever I don't want to over-tighten a nut (and don't have an explicit torque setting). –  kdgregory Oct 15 '11 at 23:11
1  
Good answer. I basically tightened the nuts to the point where the toilet was level and did not move at all. One last question, though: When I lay my level across the bowl and apply upward pressure on either side of the bowl, the level indicates that there is very slight movement because the bubble moves a tad to the left and right (still within level parameters). However, I can't feel the movement myself. Does this seem fine? –  oscilatingcretin Oct 16 '11 at 17:36
1  
@oscilatingcretin I would personally be ok with it, since the normal operating conditions will have pressure in the downward position, but then I'm more paranoid of over tightening than falling off. –  Stephen Oct 17 '11 at 3:08
1  
Exactly - the point of the bolts is to hold the toilet in place, NOT to create the seal. The seal is created by the wax ring. One quarter turn too far on that bolt and you've ruined a multi hundred dollar toilet. If it doesn't move when you sit on it, it's tight enough! –  The Evil Greebo Sep 27 '12 at 10:24
2  
I almost sprayed coffee on my screen when I read "You're trying to avoid bowl movement". :) –  aphoria Sep 27 '12 at 12:40

One thing that will help prevent the porcelain cracking is to use a rubber or plastic washer between the head of the bolt and the bowl.

This will take the "excess" force by deforming slightly, and by checking for the washer deforming as you tighten you'll have an extra visual check that you've applied enough force.

share|improve this answer
    
Yeap, not only will it take excess force, it will provide good hold of the toilet so that it doesn't swing. –  sharptooth Sep 27 '12 at 10:09

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.