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Why Does My Toilet Rock Back and Forth?

Do you have a toilet that’s rocking back and forth? Would you describe your toilet as “wobbly”? Are you worried that your toilet tank may start leaking on the bathroom floor because your rocking toilet moves so much? If so, will the entire wobbly toilet need to be replaced, or can it be fixed?

Rocking Toilet Reasons

Mounting Bolts

Sometimes, all that’s necessary to stop a rocking toilet is to tighten the mounting bolts / flange bolts a little bit. However, make sure that you don’t crank the loose bolts down too tight, because doing so could crack the ceramic, which turns this easy fix into more than a trip to the hardware store.

Flange / Wax Ring

The flange at the base of the toilet is where the toilet is connected to the drain pipe in the floor. A wax ring is part of the connection at the bottom of the toilet, and the toilet flange forms a wax seal (which is there to prevent leakage of sewer gas into your home). If this develops issues you can have a loose toilet and a new wax ring may be in order. You do not want to reuse an old flange or plastic rings as this can lead to leakage.

Another way to eliminate a rocking toilet is to place flexible Wobble Wedges plastic shims underneath the base of the toilet. A DIY trick is to use some caulk with shims to keep them in place under the toilet bowl base.


If your toilet still rocks back and forth after checking that your toilet bolts are tightened,  there’s no toilet problems and the wax ring is fine, then you may have an issue with your subfloor. An issue with your subfloor may require more than plastic shims or additional washers for a toilet that rocks.

Still, if you have a wobbly toilet, we highly recommend removing the base and reinstalling the toilet to see whether the rocking has damaged anything under the toilet or started a leak underneath. Leaks at the bottom of the toilet are the hardest to locate without being pulled apart.

Before Removing the Toilet Do This

You need to empty the tank before removing the toilet. To do this shut off the water supply line and flush away all of the water from the toilet bowl and toilet tank. Next, disconnect the hose from the toilet tank and remove the nuts from the mounting bolts, and lift the toilet off the ground.

The first thing you want to do is scrape off the wax ring, which will likely be stuck to the toilet or the old mounting flange – the ring on the waste pipe with the mounting bolts attached to it.

Carefully inspect the flange for any signs of cracks, which could also be the cause of the rocking. Broken flanges can be replaced by flange-repair kits found at home centers.

While you’re in there, be sure to poke around the exposed subfloor with a screwdriver. What you’re looking for are any soft spots. If you find any, you want to cut them out and patch them up.

When You Need a Kansas City Plumber’s Help

Not a DIY-type person? If your toilet is rocking or wobbling and you would prefer to have a professional plumber take a look at it and fix it, or get options for an upgraded toilet and toilet seat or if you have a clog or need any plumbing repairs, contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to get the job done right!

Call 913-631-5201 to schedule a service appointment. All calls answered 24/7!