Is a loose toilet a big deal?

Here’s an issue that we see in 90% of home inspections – Loose Toilets.

It sounds silly, but it’s true! We literally see this condition all the time!

So is this item a big deal in the great scheme of a home inspection? The answer is no – most of the time.

Usually, the fix is simply that the floor bolts just need to be re-tightened on each side of the toilet. This can be accomplished with just about any type of wrench and takes mere minutes to complete.

But occasionally, we run into a situation where the condition of the toilet being loose – usually for extended periods of time without being repaired, causes the toilet to be offset from the floor connection. There is a wax ring located at the base of the toilet that provides a gasket connection for the wastewater and solids to pass through.

Over many years, the wax ring can break down, which could cause leaking. But the condition of a loose toilet over time can also cause the toilet to become offset from the wax ring, which can also lead to leaking. This usually is from the simple rocking motion that people make when sitting on the toilet and/or getting up from it.

And over time you can end up with a scenario similar to the one that occurred in the pictures included here….

So I received a frantic phone call from a realtor friend of my wife who lives in Massachusetts, who suddenly noticed prominent water stains located on her kitchen ceiling.

My first question to her was, “Is there a bathroom located above the kitchen?”

The answer was yes.

So my direction to her was, “Please go upstairs and push on your toilet to see if it rocks back and forth.”

Lo and behold, the toilet was loose. In fact, it was very loose, rocking back and forth very noticeably she said!

So my next instruction was for her to tighten both of the floor bolts, which they promptly achieved.

And then I advised them to continue monitoring the kitchen ceiling, and if additional staining is noticed, at that point the wax ring under the toilet may need to be replaced.

Checking back with them a week later, they said they had not noticed any additional leaking.

But then they asked me how do they remove the stains located on the ceiling from the leak?

Well we’ll save that for the next blog!


Michael McCarty

NH Licensed Home Inspector # 316

HUD 203k Consultant # 1939











0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *