Anchoring Bolts for Toilet


Old 06-16-07, 05:03 AM
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Anchoring Bolts for Toilet

for the experts

I am sure this has been discussed before.

Yesterday while cleaning toilet/toilet bowl, wife pointed out that area around toilet anchoring bolts was "dirty". So I pop the plastic caps to take a look. It seemed to be rust type residue and one of the bolts actually was totally loose. The bolt was very rusty and looks like it should be replaced along with a metal separator, synthetic washer, and wingnut. Is this something I can handle? Home Depot should have a replacement kit? Any special instructions for this maintenance/repair?

Sorry if my terminology is confusing and thanks to the experts for their help/advice.

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Old 06-16-07, 09:22 AM
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Yep, you can handle it.

Here's some video on removing and installing a toilet for replacment of the wax ring (which you will need to do as part of the project):

It's one of the simpler plumbing jobs. Biggest pain is getting the water out and the weight of the unit. Note in the video they have the tank separated from the bowl. This makes the unit lighter, but requires that you unbolt and remove the tank. Depends on how much weight you feel like throwing around. If you separate the tank, be sure to use new hardware & seals on it as well.

Biggest caution: Do not overtighten any hardware; you can crack the porcelain.
Old 06-17-07, 06:38 AM
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Tow Guy

Thank you for your reply. Frankly, your advice knocked me down since this seems to treat my problem like a brand new install.

Is there not another method that while not the best way would be an acceptable compromise? I don't think I would feel comfortable performing a new install by myself.

Old 06-17-07, 08:34 AM
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Sorry, there is not really another simpler fix.

What wasn't mentioned is why the bolt was loose to start with. It attaches to a flange which is attached to the drain line and the floor. This may be broken which is why the bolt is loose. The bolt is flat headed and slides in a slot in the flange. The metal holding the flat headed bolt can and does break.

We'll worry about repairing that after you pulled the toilet and looking at what you have.

When you are at the store picking up new toilet bolts and wax ring, look at toilet flanges so you see how the bolts attach to something new and can be handled with clean hands.

Good luck with your project.
Old 06-17-07, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for your reply. This is all new to me and I have to admit my plumbing skills up to now have been limited to turning water on/off and flushing toilet. Why the bolt was totally loose is unknown and no telling how long it has been this way.

One final question please. What are the consequences if I just ignore this problem?

Thx again.

Old 06-17-07, 09:42 AM
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The toilet must be firmly attached to the floor by both bolts, or the toilet will rock, causing the wax ring to lose its seal and leak. A leak will rot any wood flooring underneath a toilet.
You may have a rusted-out flange. Repairing this properly is not difficult if you follow the steps, and yes it is exactly like a new install except for adding the toilet removal, making the necessary repairs, and THEN re-installing the toilet again.
If you're not willing to do it yourself, simply call a plumber.
Old 06-17-07, 11:00 AM
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Haven't you simply tried to tighten the bolt to see if it gets tighter? - after perhaps some soaking for a couple days with a spray for rust. When you DO tighten, if you have any threads showing above the nut, you really need to hold those threads stationary so the whole works just doesn't spin in circles.

And if you do, and it finally gets tighter, is that bolt now way higher than the bolt that was NOT loose? If so, that can indicate that the underside of the toilet bolt came out of the slot in the floor flange. If not, and both bolts look ABOUT the same height - and not like over an inch or more difference in bolt heigth difference -, AND you cannot rock the toilet from side to side, then you have nothing to worry about. Toilet bolts can simply come loose. And in newer construction with the plastic floor flanges, these can distort and cause bolts to come loose, people retighten and bend/warp the plastic flange more, etc.

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