If your toilet seems wobbly or leaks at the bottom, replace the toilet anchor bolts. The anchor bolts secure the flange to the base. Over time, the bolts can rust from moisture. A beginning DIY enthusiast should be able to replace the bolts. Here are some tips for replacing toilet anchor bolts.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- work gloves
- face mask
- old towels and newspapers
- paint scraper or putty knife
- adjustable pliers
- adjustable wrench
- spray lubricant
- wax ring
- anchor bolts
Shut off the water supply to the toilet; the knob should be beside the toilet. If you can't find the toilet shutoff, turn off the main water supply at the water meter. Look for a lever on the water line, and rotate it clockwise to shut off the water. Set the toilet lid on towels or newspapers, flush the toilet, and sponge excess water out of the tank.
Remove the Old Bolts
If the bolts have caps, insert the flat blade of a screwdriver under the caps to remove them. Unscrew the nut securing the water supply line with the wrench, and set the water supply line and nut aside.
Spray the bolts with the lubricant, and let the lubricant set for several minutes. Clean up extra oil with a rag. This should help make the bolts easier to remove with a wrench.
Place adjustable pliers on the tip of one bolt, then attempt to turn the nut to the left with the wrench. Loosen the bolts a little at a time alternately to keep the toilet balanced. Save the bolts to use as a guide for buying a replacement.
If the bolts still won't budge, measure the length of the bolts so you can buy the correct size replacements. Hold the tip steady with pliers, and cut them with a hacksaw.
Lift the toilet. Get someone to help you, if needed. Move the toilet back and forth to break the seal. Place the toilet on its side on a soft surface. Take the old wax ring off with the putty knife or paint scraper. Stuff the toilet drain pipe with towels or newspapers to keep sewer gas from entering the room.
Install the New Bolts
Replace damaged toilet flange, if needed. Remove the newspaper or towel from the pipe, and press the new wax ring in place over the flange.
Insert the bolts into open grooves on the flange. Alternate tightening the bolts to keep the toilet balanced. Align the toilet with the flange bolts, set the toilet on the bolts, and rock the toilet gently to secure the wax ring.
Install the washers and cap holders over the bolts, trim the end with a hacksaw within an inch of the nuts, and then screw on the caps Replace the toilet lid.
Reconnect the water supply line, and restore the water to test for leaks. If the toilet still leaks, or you don't trust your skill, contact a professional who can provide plumbing services.