How to Shim a Toilet? – All You Should Know

Dealing with your bathroom at home is definitely a hard quest. Many questions can appear: how to shim a toilet, why it is leaking, what tools I need. But don’t worry, because all of these problems can be easily fixed, especially the first one.

How do I hide the shims under my toilet?
You can hide shims under your toilet by caulking around the base of the toilet to cover the gap along the floor. If needed, you can smooth out the caulk with your finger, wiping your finger clean frequently with a paper towel or a rag.

A wobbly toilet is not that scary, and the best way to get rid of it is to shim the thing. Here we will provide some helpful tips you should know.

Dealing with a Wobbly Toilet

The main reason why you may experience sliding from side to side on your new bathroom furniture is a large gap between the toilet and floor. Fortunately, the easiest way to deal with this problem is by buying toilet bowl shims and properly installing them.

How Do You Shim a Toilet

The first thing you need to do is purchase shims for a toilet. They are usually small pieces of plastic or any other moldable material that will help your toilet stay in one place. A good idea is to buy several of them, just so if any accidents happen you can move on to a new shim and try to improve your technique.

Leveling a toilet on an uneven floor can seem hard, but in reality, it is quite an easy process. If you notice that your toilet has become unsteady, you should check if there are any gaps between it and the floor.

It is not a rare occasion, as due to some construction mistakes, the tiles in your bathroom can lay on different heights. In the case of shimming a toilet, every millimeter counts, as you need to carefully measure the present distance.

After acquiring toilet bowl shims, you can move on to cutting them to the right size. Usually, you can do it with a regular kitchen knife, but we recommend you get professional repair equipment so you can be sure of your measurements.

Cut the excess plastic from the shims and try to carefully slide them under the toilet: if they fit, it means you did a good job and now can actually start shimming a toilet.

So how to shim a toilet? The most important part is to turn the water off before you start any procedures. You don’t want to get all of your floors wet and add even more problems.

You need to unscrew the toilet bolts and take a look at the wax seal that is connected to the flange. The seal should be intact and fully cover the whole to ensure that no leakage is happening from the bowl of the toilet. Then you can proceed to get your shims under the thing.

You should remember that shims go into the gap between the floor and your toilet, take the plastic piece, and while facing its sharp edge to the toilet base, start pushing it a little until it’s completely under the leg.

If you cut your toilet shims properly, they will go in smoothly and support the whole weight of the thing. Make sure to put them both on the front and the back of the toilet, so when it stands on them, the weight distributes evenly, and no shims get cracked or jammed.

After putting all of your shims in, make sure to slightly rock the toilet to see if the structure is holding. There are supposed to be no gaps, and the shims don’t slide off from their place. Usually, to keep toilet shims stable, people glue them down to the base of the toilet.

When everything is in, you can cut off the sticking out ends of the toilet shims, so your structure looks clean. Caulking may also help you improve the overall look of the toilet, so it seems fully connected to the floor.

toilet stand

Shim Types

If you want to shim a wobbly toilet, it is important to find the right material for it. The most popular form of shims are the plastic ones; they also carry much more benefits. Plastic is an easy-to-handle material that stays strong for a long period of time, so you can be sure your shims will handle the weight of the toilet without changing them.

Moreover, plastic is easy to cut and manipulate around, so you will not have trouble with shims being too short or wide. In the bathroom, it is important to have material that is not easily corrupted by water, and here plastic comes in handy too.

While shimming a toilet, you can also use wooden planks, but be aware that this material has its flaws. Even though wood is harder than plastic, it might be hard to cut it to the right size to fit in the gap between the floor and the toilet. The plus is that you can make wooden shims yourself from the leftovers of any crafts you had previously.

shimming a toilet

You should take note that wooden shims will absorb any leaking water, which can lead to them getting soft or even fully deteriorating. Wood is a tough material to handle, and it’s important to calculate all of the problems that might appear beforehand.

Shims for a toilet can also be made from rubber. It is a rare occasion as rubber doesn’t guarantee you full weight support of the toilet, but there are quite some pros to it too. First of all, this material is very flexible and can fit into the smallest gaps.

We recommend you use rubber when the height between the floor and the toilet is barely noticeable. Rubber is also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about it getting soaked and losing its form.

All in all, a large gap between toilet and floor can be dealt with in some easy ways. Before buying any toilet shims, you need to measure the difference in millimeters that makes your toilet wobbly.

Depending on it, you can choose different materials that shims can be made of. You also need to consider what qualities you expect the shims to carry, so weigh your pros and cons before shimming a toilet.

Other Tips to Fix a Wobbly Toilet

Of course, you can always shim a wobbly toilet, but that takes some skill and time. Plus, dealing with small details is definitely not everyone’s favorite thing. Instead of investing in toilet shims, you can try caulking the thing to the ground. Please remember, though, that the structure might not be as stable as on toilet shims, but the effect of having a fool toilet leg keeps on.

Caulking the toilet can also be difficult as the specific material that is used in the process can leave stains on your floor or clothes, so before doing anything, make sure that you are not in your favorite shirt.

caulking a toilet

You may be experiencing some rocking side to side on your toilet because while installing the thing onto the floor happened some problems. The bolts in the structure might not be tight enough, so it would be worth checking on them and screwing the holders back. Make sure that there is no leakage happening because metal and porcelain can react with the liquid, and not in the best ways.

Another reason why your toilet is wobbly can be the wax sealing that is connected to the hole of the toilet. It is supposed to prevent leakage of water and any smells that go through the bowl.

Since it’s made of tough material, it might be hard at first to unscrew it from the floor. What you need to inspect is how tight is the sealing and whether there are any scabs or roughness. Unfortunately, if the wax seal is compromised you cannot fix it yourself, and the best way to get rid of the problem is to buy a new one.

shims of different materials

Shimming a Toilet: FAQ

How to cut toilet shims?

You can cut toilet shims using a regular knife or a sharp razor. Measure the gap between the toilet and the floor and get rid of the excessive material.

How do you hide the toilet shims?

Usually, to hide toilet bowl shims, you need to caulk them carefully without getting any of the substance on the bathroom floor.

Should you shim front or back of the toilet?

You should install shims for toilet both on the front and the back, so the weight distributes evenly.

Also read:

Get Rid of a Wobbly Toilet

To properly shim a wobbly toilet, you just need the right equipment and enough persistence. Take care of your home bathroom and never let any leakage get on your floor. With some easy steps, you can fix any toilet problems you have yourself and spare the time you could spent waiting for a plumber.

Do you find this guide helpful? What other problems with the toilet have you encountered? Please, tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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