My brother-in-law (need I say more?) installed a new toilet over a ceramic floor. After a year, perhaps, the toilet wobbles a bit when you sit on it and, occasionally, you can hear porcerlain on ceramic grinding. I looked along the edge and noticed he used some nylon tile spacers, used for laying out the tile, underneath the toilet around the bottom edge.

I tried at first to tighten down the bolt on one side but it took more turns than I was comfortable making and it's still wobbling. I found some more of the tile spacers and put a couple under the same side but it's not a snug fit. So I'm not really sure how to proceed with this.

I could tighten the bolt some more but I'm worried I'll crack the toilet or, perhaps, the bolt actually came loose from the floor. I could also get some more spacers but I just don't feel that's the right thing to do. I'm not sure spacers under the toilet is the proper way to go about this in the first place.

  • 2
    I am guessing that the ring underneath is cracked. No matter what to fix this right you need to take toilet out and see what is going on. I know it sounds like a PITA but its not that bad. It will cost you $3 for a wax ring and you might need to get a few washers or a repair kit. Usually these aren't really hard to fix but you can't do much with toilet in the way... and don't crack your toilet.
    – DMoore
    Apr 8, 2014 at 20:43
  • I've done that before and I just hate taking the toilet out. It's not leaking at all but I'm thinking I should check how level it is to see if those spacers were used for that and some came out.
    – Rob
    Apr 8, 2014 at 21:09
  • I put my level on it and, sure enough, it's level till I sit on it and it rocks to one side. So the question, again, is should I just put some kind of spacer on the one side? And what kind?
    – Rob
    Apr 8, 2014 at 21:21
  • 2
    Rob - you fixed it wrong before or used poor materials. That is a sunken cost. You need to do it right. Take toilet out. If something doesn't look right or is broken, take a picture and there are plenty of people on here who will help you fix it. You can't say "I took it off before and that didn't fix it" to explain why you won't fix it right now. Turn off water, flush toilet, get old cup and scoop out water from basin, unbolt toilet and sit it in shower or tub -- this takes 5 minutes (not a fun 5 mins but still).
    – DMoore
    Apr 8, 2014 at 23:02
  • 1
    If you have a carpet cleaner it should have an attachment to suck water out of stuff -- this works great for sucking the water out of a toilet. Just make sure the toilet is clean first.
    – user4302
    Apr 9, 2014 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


The best approach here is (as @DMoore mentioned in the comment) to pull the toilet out and re-seat it. Not only will this let you see if the ring is cracked, it will let you get the tile spacers that it is currently shimmed with out from under the toilet. Also, once a toilet starts rocking it is only a matter of time before the wax ring get moved around enough that it will start to leak. You'll want to replace it to ensure that it hasn't already been compromised.

I'm guessing that this is more a problem with the shims themselves than it is with the ring (but again, you need to verify this). Most of the tile spacers that I've worked with when laying tile are made out of nylon, and they are slightly compressible. So, every time you've put weight on the toilet it has deformed them a tiny bit until they became flat enough to let the toilet rock. Once you get to this point, even if the rocking is imperceptible it lets them start shifting around underneath and it snowballs from there.

Once you get the toilet up and make sure that the ring and bolts are OK, re-seat it with proper shims. You'll want something that can support quite a bit of pressure without deforming to shim it - I use composite plastic shims:

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