January 29


Should Toilets Be Bolted To The Floor?

By Robin Hatch

January 29, 2022

Toilets are necessary for any home, and proper installation is required to ensure they function correctly. Plumbers, builders, and trade professionals understand that the closet flange or toilet flange, which connects the toilet to the drainpipe, is essential for toilet installation.

Whatever you call it, if not installed properly, this small and often inexpensive plumbing part can cause significant damage. Toilets that are not secured with a closet flange can wobble, crack, and even leak.

To guarantee a good seal and prevent leaks when replacing a toilet or resetting an old one, you must ensure that the toilet sits level and does not rock on the floor.

Although a wax ring seals the toilet to the floor flange, the height of the flange and the tightness of the flange bolts that secure the toilet to the floor might impair the ring’s capacity to form a water-tight seal. 

So if you’re still wondering whether toilets should be bolted to the floor?

The answer is yes. If you don’t, you risk not adequately anchoring the toilet to avoid rocking, which could harm the wax seal, drainage pipe, or floor. Leakage from a faulty seal between the toilet and the flange, or between the flange and the pipe, might harm the bolts holding the flange to the pipe or allow foul odors to seep into your bathroom.

Read on to learn more.

Hardware Needed To Bolt A Toilet To the Floor

Toilet Flange

Flanges are made in a variety of styles and materials. Make sure you’re using the right one for the job, not simply the cheapest one in the store. If you have any doubts, see a store specialist.

Toilet Flange Spacer

This is only required if the flange is located beneath the finished floor. The flange must be high enough for the wax seal to function correctly. You may bolt the flange to the sub-floor with a spacer while keeping the wax ring in place.

Wax Ring

This seals the flange to the toilet, preventing water from leaking out.

Hammer Drill and Drill Bits

You’ll need a drill of some kind. It is advisable to use a hammer drill on a cement floor. If you don’t own one and aren’t interested in purchasing one, renting one should be no problem.

Also, you’ll undoubtedly need bits if you’re drilling, and you’ll also need carbide or diamond-tipped bits if you’re putting them into concrete or a tile floor.

Silicone Caulk

This is only used in conjunction with the toilet flange spacer. It’ll be required to secure the spacer to the flange.


If you’re installing into a typical sub-floor, you’ll only need standard screws or nuts, but if you’re installing into concrete, you’ll need special hardware; there are a few options.

Although screws are common, lead anchors can be easier to install. Scrape away any remaining wax from the previous seal with a putty knife.

PVC Primer and Glue

Adhere the drainpipe and flange with PVC Primer and Glue.

How To Install A Toilet

1. Measure The Flange Height

The first item to double-check when installing the toilet is the flange height. You can see the toilet flange and measure its height above the floor with the toilet removed. Ideally, the flange height should be 1/4 inch above the finished floor.

This usually allows for nearly any wax ring while still ensuring a good seal. The flange height is less than ideal if you have tiled or replaced the bathroom flooring.

To acquire the necessary clearance from the floor, you can add a toilet flange extender, which is quick and easy to install.

Flange extenders are frequently available in 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch sizes and are used to raise the height of an existing flange to one of those dimensions. Long bolts are included with most extenders, which may be required if the flange is below the floor level.

2. Fasten The Closet Bolt

The two closet bolts that secure the toilet base to the flange must be adequately tightened. These are the long bolts that protrude from the flange straight up.

Use a nut and washer to secure the closet bolts from the upper side to the flange. This will prevent you from knocking the bolts over while installing the toilet, and it will make removing the bolts much easier in the future.

If you’re buying a toilet or a replacement wax ring, make sure it comes with extra nuts and washers, or pick up a spare pack while you’re there (they are sold in affordable sets).

Tip: The extender must be bolted to the original flange when employing a toilet flange extender.

3. Place The Wax Ring And Toilet

Select a good wax ring of the appropriate size. The version with the polyethylene plastic sleeve seals well and fits the most common drains.

You can use an extra-thick wax ring to make up the difference if the toilet’s floor flange is slightly less than 1/4 inch above the flooring. Do not try to stack two wax rings because this will cause them to leak. A flange extender or an extra-thick wax ring will be far more effective in the long run.

The wax ring should be placed on the closet flange rather than the toilet. Pick up the toilet and place it evenly on the closet flange, ensuring that the bolts go through the toilet base’s bolt holes.

Adjust the toilet’s position until it’s exactly where you want it, then push it straight down to shatter the wax uniformly. Push until the toilet’s base is flush with the floor.

4. Level The Toilet

Before fastening the toilet down, cautiously rock it from side to side and back to front to ensure the base is stable and level. It will rock if it is not exactly flat, and it is more prone to leak over time.

Before fastening the toilet down, place toilet shims between the base and the floor to avoid wobbling.

The toilet and the floor determine the amount and location of shims required; each situation is unique. Before bolting the toilet down, get it shimmed to ensure it doesn’t come loose in the future. When the toilet is no longer wobbling, secure it with a nut and washer on each closet bolt.

When tightening the washers and nuts against the toilet base, be careful not to overtighten them since this might cause the toilet to crack.

5. Caulk The Base

Trimming any protruding toilet shims and caulk around the toilet’s base using a putty knife. This will provide a bit more protection against future movement, and it will make cleaning the base area easier because there won’t be a layer of dust and debris under the toilet that you can’t reach.

If the toilet leaks on the floor, it’s a good idea to leave the back end of the base (out of sight) uncaulked so that the water can flow out and alert you to the leak before it causes harm to the subfloor.

The bolts on the toilet should not be overtightened, but they should be solid. Stop tightening if you hear metal scraping across the porcelain. Continue if you can still feel the bolts tightening against the wax ring.

Important Things To Take Into Consideration

It is critical to install your flange correctly. Any shortcuts or errors you make can cause damage to the floor, drainpipe, or toilet. Here are some more key factors to consider before or during the installation of your toilet flange.

Utilize pre-drilled holes: The flange producer pre-drilled a certain number of holes to hold the flange to the floor. That is the number of screws or bolts they felt were required to provide the toilet bolts with the necessary support. When fastening the flange to the floor, use all of the holes.

Need not be cheap: many low-cost plastic flanges are available, but professional plumbers will tell you that these flanges frequently break. Moreso, flanges made of cheap metal corrode. If you find a high-quality flange with a stainless steel ring, you won’t have to replace it for many years.

Also, remember, never to position your flange below the completed floor level. There are items on the market that might assist you in raising the flange’s height.

You must also ensure that it does not protrude more than 1:8″ above the finished floor. When the flange is too low or too high, the seal will not compress properly, causing your toilet to leak and inflicting damage to your floor as well as the release of sewage odors.


To conclude, don’t try to glue or epoxy your toilet to the floor. Your toilet is not something you should cut corners on when it comes to installation.

If you don’t secure the flange to the floor with screws or bolts, you risk damaging the toilet, the drainpipe, or your floor, resulting in more expensive repairs. If you follow these simple procedures, you should have no problems.

Robin Hatch

About the author

For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.

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