How to Fix a Loose, Rocking Toilet

  • 01 of 08

    Is Your Toilet Rocking?

    Bathroom interior
    Marlene Ford / Getty Images

    Rocking is for concerts and chairs, not toilets. If your toilet is rocking or wiggling slightly but not leaking, this quick fix may be just what you need.


    Toilets rock because they are not resting flush against the floor and are raised slightly in the center because they rest on a toilet flange that is slightly higher than the surrounding floor. Sometimes this develops over time, such as when caulk hardens, or when a surrounding floor settles a little. Fortunately, it is an easy problem to fix.


    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Materials Needed

    What you will need
    What you will need. Aaron Stickley

    This repair project requires just a few simple tools:


    • Toilet shims
    • Dap caulk or tub and tile caulk
    • Utility knife
    • Sponge (not shown)

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  • 03 of 08

    Check for Leaks

    Check for leaks
    The base of the toilet should be dry. Aaron Stickley

    First, to be sure your toilet is not leaking, check for water around the base of the toilet. If no water is present, you should be able to quickly shim and seal your toilet without lifting it up from the floor. 


    If your toilet is leaking around the base, however, it likely means that the wax ring sealing the toilet horn to the drain opening has become old and compressed. In this case, you will need to remove the toilet and replace the wax ring. 


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  • 04 of 08

    Locate Gaps

    Locate gaps
    Find spaces where shims may be needed. Aaron Stickley

    Take a look at the base of your toilet and identify any gaps between the toilet and the floor. Even a small space can be the source of the problem.


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  • 05 of 08

    Insert Shims and Level

    Insert shims
    Push shims into gaps. Aaron Stickley

    Simply level your toilet by inserting shims into any gaps. You may have to try them in a few different positions to properly level the toilet. Once you can put pressure on the toilet in all four directions without moving it, you can proceed to the next step.


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  • 06 of 08

    Trim the Shims

    Trim shims
    Cut shim flush to toilet base. Aaron Stickley

    Using a sharp utility knife trim, the shims close to the base of the toilet. Take care not to cut yourself or your flooring as you do this.


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  • 07 of 08

    Apply Caulk

    Apply caulk
    Caulk the base of the toilet. Aaron Stickley

    Put new caulking around the base of the toilet. Wipe the excess clean with a sponge or rag.


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  • 08 of 08

    Finish Look

    Finished Toilet Caulking
    Clean finished look. Aaron Stickley

    Allow the caulk to dry well. Once it dries, your toilet should be as good as new.