March 17


Should Toilets Be Level? Learn More

By Robin Hatch

March 17, 2022

If you’re installing a new toilet in your home or have noticed a significant wobble in your toilet, you’re probably wondering how crucial it is that your toilet sits level.

Most toilets in the home can function even if they are not level. However, if a toilet isn’t level and rocks side to side or back and forth, it can quickly damage the wax seal and flange, resulting in leaks. It is best to verify that it is level when installing a toilet.

Read on to learn more about the risks associated with an unlevel toilet, how to level your toilets should be and how to fix a toilet that does not seat evenly.

Why Do Toilets Need To Be Level?

Leveling a toilet isn’t that tricky. Most homeowners familiar with a small DIY project can handle it themselves.

A toilet that is not level can lead to a toilet that leaks at the base. Even if you can’t see the leak, a badly cracked wax seal will leak waste.

Below are reasons why a leaking toilet is a significant concern.

  • It is highly unsanitary. The water leaking from the wax seal is more than just water. It also contains waste.
  • The floor around your toilet will be damaged, as will the floor joists near your toilet. The wood could become so deteriorated that the entire construction of the bathroom is jeopardized. 
  • If your toilet is above the basement (or the second floor), the seeping waste could cause ceiling damage.

Your toilet should be level to keep your home safe and in good repair.

It should also be leveled. It will rock if it is not perfectly flat and is more likely to leak over time. 

Perhaps your toilet has been level for years and is suddenly unlevel, or maybe it was unlevel when it was installed; whatever the case, knowing some of the reasons your toilet could be unlevel will help you fix it the right way.

Reasons For An Unlevel Toilet

Unlevel Floor – It is relatively typical for floors to be uneven, especially in older homes, and even a slightly uneven floor can cause issues for your toilet.

Loose bolts – The toilet will wobble if the bolts are loose. As easy as that.

Problems with the flange – The flange should be installed above the floor, not below it. Bolts should secure the flange, and the flange must not be damaged or corrupted.

How do you figure out what the problem is? 

You’ll need to remove the toilet, inspect the wax seal and flange, repair the fault, then reinstall the toilet. If that sounds like something you don’t want to deal with, you should contact reliable plumbing professional.

However, if you choose to resolve the issue yourself, we have some guidelines for doing it.

How To Level Your Toilet

If your toilet is already installed and begins to wobble, identifying the root of the problem is simple, but it takes time. It’s certainly not the best project for a newbie DIYer to take on, and you’ll also need to be able to move your toilet, which may be very heavy in some cases.

Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re familiar with tools and have a few projects.

Examine The Toilet’s Current Level

Before you begin, determine how unlevel the toilet is.

  • Put a short level, such as a two-foot level, on top of the toilet tank.
  • Raise one side of the level until the bubble is positioned between the two lines on the vial.
  • The distance between the bottom of the level and the top of the toilet will tell you how far the toilet is out of level. This will help you estimate how much you’ll have to shim.

Take Out The Toilet

Removing a toilet is a damp job, and most people would prefer to do it while wearing gloves.

  • Turn the water supply off.
  • Remove the tank cover and store it in a safe place where it won’t be broken.
  • Eliminate as much water from the tank as possible by flushing the toilet.
  • Remove any remaining water in the toilet using a wet vac, super-absorbent sponge, or old towels.
  • Disconnect the water supply. Put a bucket beneath the water supply to collect any remaining water in the line.
  • Remove the toilet from the floor by unbolting it. On either side of the toilet, there are two bolts. A plastic cap is usually placed on top of them. Unscrew the bolts and remove the cap.
  • Remove the toilet from the bolts and place it aside. Ideally, you should place it in a trash bag or thick plastic sheeting. 

Check The Wax Seal And The Flange

To check the flange, you’ll need to remove the wax seal. And you’d have to replace the wax seal. Wax seals are affordable, and it’s a good idea to replace them whenever you have the opportunity. Better still, if you prefer, a foam ring can be used in place of the wax seal.

Is the wax seal still intact? This could cause the toilet to wobble if it is deteriorated or poorly installed. With your hands or a flat scraper, remove the wax seal.

Is the flange in good working order or is it broken? You must replace the flange if it is broken. 

Also, check the level of the floor behind the toilet where it will be installed. It’s also possible that an uneven floor is causing your toilet to be out of level.

Putting The Toilet Back

You’re ready to reinstall the toilet now that you’ve rectified any issues with the flange, loose bolts, and the wax seal. 

If your toilet is out of level due to an uneven floor, you’ll need to use shims to level it out during this step.

With a lock washer, reinstall the closet bolts. It’s preferable to start over with a new set of them.

Set the wax seal or foam ring in place. Wax rings are more difficult to put, so if you’re worried, use a foam ring instead.

Reattach the toilet to the bolts. It can be beneficial to have an extra set of eyes to confirm that the toilet is correctly positioned over the bolts.

If the problem were the floor, you would now place shims under the toilet’s low side. Wooden shims should be avoided since they deteriorate over time. Shims made explicitly for usage under toilets can be purchased. They are an excellent choice because they are plastic, small, and stackable.

Examine the toilet’s level once more to ensure that your changes were successful.

Reattach the toilet to the floor. Reinstall the bolt cover, as the bottom washer aids in keeping the bolt in place. Instead of tightening one side at a time, tighten each side a little. Remove the extra closet bolt.

Restore the tank cover and reconnect the water supply. Is the toilet running at full capacity? Give it a couple of test flushes to see whether it’s working. Remove any dust or debris.

Use caulk or putty around the toilet’s base for a finished look. Your toilet should now be wobble-free and functioning correctly. 

While many toilet repairs are straightforward, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid problems, including the common issues and fixes below. 

  • Adhere to any codes that relate to your work.
  • If the suggestions above do not help you repair your toilet or have any doubts or questions regarding the repairs, contact a certified plumber.
  • Nuts, bolts, and other connectors should not be overtightened. Overtightening metal hardware will cause the toilet to crack. Plastic fasteners will be damaged if they are overtightened.
  • To avoid harming connectors and fasteners, use caution when turning them. Tape on pliers’ jaws or a wrench can help protect metal fasteners’ finishes.
  • Lift the tank cover carefully and place it in a safe place to avoid damaging it. Check that the repair parts you buy will fit your toilet. For example, when replacing a toilet flapper, choose the kind (flexible or solid-frame) and size (2-inch or 3-inch) based on the existing part. It may be worth it to take the existing part to the store to find a replacement.


Yes. Toilets should be level. And by now, you should be ready to deal with your unlevel toilet issues, and if you aren’t, you at least know when to call a plumber.

You might be wondering if all of this is required to correct a minor wobble. This procedure is recommended because there is no other way to determine why your toilet is shaky. It might be the floor, but it could also be a broken flange leaking water and waste into the floor.

Notwithstanding, an unlevel toilet can be possibly be leveled simply by inserting shims under it. If any shims protrude from beneath the toilet, use a sharp utility knife to score and cut away the excess. This procedure should only be used if you are confident that an uneven floor is the source of the problem.

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.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}