How to Tighten Toilet Bolts That Are Loose [5-Step Method]

In order to tighten loose toilet bolts that are prone to spinning, it’s essential to first apply penetrating oil to the nuts. This will allow you to tighten them easily. Once the penetrating oil has had a chance to soak, grasp the top of the bolt with pliers to keep it from spinning. Then, use an adjustable wrench to tighten the first bolt a quarter turn before doing the same to the second bolt. Gradually tighten each bolt in this manner until the toilet is stable and leak-free.

How to tighten toilet bolts

Why Are Your Toilet Bolts Loose?

Your toilet bolts may be loose due to a warped toilet flange that makes tightening difficult. Additionally, use, temperature change, and the settling of your house can cause toilet bolts to gradually loosen over time. Occasional tightening is necessary.

  • A bent or damaged toilet flange can cause loose toilet bolts.
  • Toilet bolts loosen over time due to use, changes in temperature, and other factors.
  • Toilet bolts that loosen right after tightening are stripped and require replacement.

If your bolts loosen quickly after tightening this could be the sign of stripped bolts. In this case, replace your toilet bolts with a new pair. However, this is a more complex job that requires turning off the water supply and temporarily removing the toilet to install new bolts.

What Happens if You Overtighten Toilet Bolts?

Overtightening your toilet bolts will crack the porcelain toilet flange. Cracked or broken porcelain cannot be repaired, so it’s essential to avoid this outcome. Follow our guide for correctly tightening your toilet bolts to achieve the best results. By gradually tightening each bolt you prevent differential pressure that will damage or destroy your toilet.

How Do You Keep Your Toilet Flange Bolts From Spinning?

If your toilet bolts are spinning when you attempt to tighten the nut, the best thing to do is grasp the top of the bolt with pliers or a pair of vise grips. Keep the pliers tight on the bolt to keep it from spinning as you tighten the nut on the toilet flange.

5 Steps to Properly Tighten Loose Toilet Bolts

In order to keep your toilet base firmly against the floor your toilet flange bolts must be properly tightened. If your bolts are too loose, the toilet could leak, causing water damage in your home. Here’s how to tighten toilet bolts quickly and easily:

Gather Your Tools

For this job, you will need a few simple tools. These are:

  • A high-quality penetrating oil, like this one.
  • Pliers or vise grips.
  • An adjustable wrench.

Before you begin, make sure your toilet is not cracked or damaged. If your toilet is leaking water, this could mean that the wax seal is damaged and requires replacement. If your toilet is in good working order, proceed with the following steps for tightening the flange bolts.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Apply Penetrating Oil

Before attempting to tighten the bolts, apply a few drops of penetrating oil to each bolt. Allow the oil to soak for 15 minutes before taking the next steps. Toilet bolts can rust and seize up for several reasons. If your toilet bolts are rusted, it’s time to replace them.

Grasp the Top of the Bolt With Pliers

Use your pliers or vise grips to firmly grasp the top of the bolt where it sticks up through the toilet flange. Do not turn or twist the pliers—this can strip the bolt. Instead, grasp firmly to prevent the bolt from spinning as you tighten the nut.

Tighten Nuts Equally

Beginning with the first side, tighten the nut as far as you can by hand. Then, use your wrench to make a quarter turn to the bolt. Repeat this process for the second side. Gradually tighten each bolt a quarter-turn at a time until both bolts are firmly in place.

Be Careful Not to Overtighten

Do not tighten one bolt more than the other. Doing so can cause the toilet flange to crack or break. Instead, it’s often best to loosen both bolts, hand-tighten them, and then gradually tighten each bolt a quarter turn at a time. This equalizes the pressure between the bolts, reducing the risk of damage.

  • Tighten each toilet bolt equally a quarter-turn at a time to prevent cracking.
  • Only tighten your toilet bolts until the toilet is no longer wobbling.
  • Tightening toilet bolts after the toilet is no longer wobbling can crack or break your toilet.

Toilet bolts do not need to be extremely tight to be effective. Once the toilet is no longer wobbling, cease tightening. Continuing to tighten past this point will crack your porcelain toilet.

How Do You Tighten a Toilet Flange Bolt?

To tighten the flange bolts of a loose toilet, simply do the following:

  • Apply penetrating oil to each of the bolts.
  • Grasp the top of the bolt with pliers to keep it from spinning.
  • Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the first bolt one-quarter turn.
  • Repeat for the second side.
  • Continue to alternate quarter turns on each bolt until the toilet is no longer loose.

This system is essential for correctly tightening the closet bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. A loose bolt can cause leaks, so it’s a good idea to carefully tighten toilet bolts once they begin to loosen.

Scroll to Top