Everything comes to a halt when a toilet breaks down in a home. A major repair issue I had in my older toilet was when toilet anchor bolts went spinning out of control. This is one of those issues that need fixing immediately before the problem gets too much to handle. A toilet sliding off the plumbing flange across the floor is not a viable option!
There are different explanations for why this issue might occur in the first place. Rusted bolts are a major culprit for this kind of breakdown. The fast fix is to replace those rusty bolts with new ones. There could additionally be a problem with smaller bolt holes and an accumulation of debris on the bolt threads.
The toilet anchor bolts could spin from rust or debris build-up. If this condition persists, then it can lead to major complications. That is why spinning anchors need to be replaced to keep the toilet securely in place. It is an easy DIY repair to take on. I’ll tell you all the details below.
Toilet Anchor Bolt Function
Before fixing your toilet bolts spinning problem, it will help to understand what role these bolts play in how a toilet functions and is secured to the bathroom floor. The bolts hold the toilet in place and are attached to the toilet flange on the bathroom floor. These attachments were all put into place when the toilet was installed.
Loose Bolt Explanations
As stated above, rust is the most common reason for a toilet anchor bolt to fail. Rust occurs when the bolt is exposed to oxygen and moisture. Once the rust forms, it can quickly lead to decay. The result is a spinning sensation, and the entire toilet seat is compromised.
If rust is an issue with your toilet anchor bolts, you should keep your bathroom flooring dry. Be sure to check for condensation after your showers. Also, watch out for kids splashing water from their bath!
There could also be a problem with the original anchor hole size. The vast majority of bathroom fixtures are universal. One size should fit all. However, it is vital to match those sizes correctly. A hole that is too small and an anchor bolt the wrong size can trigger the spinning. This problem might have occurred during the original construction as an oversight.
One Reddit user was dealing with a spinning anchor bolt problem only to discover the entire flange was installed wrong. That leads to a much bigger repair problem than simply replacing the toilet anchor bolts.
Debris and moisture accumulating around the bolts can also contribute to the spinning problem. Moisture will always be a concern in the bathroom. That moisture can attract debris particulates. That can act as an abrasive element that will cause the anchor bolts to fail or spin.
Stopping the Spin
Once the issue is identified with the anchor bolts, you can start doing the repairs! Failure to do so can result in the toilet seat becoming detached from the floor. That can create serious problems if the seat shifts and compromises the central plumbing flange. It can trigger a flood situation that no one wants.
Correcting the toilet anchor spinning problem will help you secure the toilet in place and make it safe for use once again.
As you take on this repair, I strongly recommend you wear rubber gloves. These are the steps to take for an easy do-it-yourself fix to your toilet anchor bolts spinning problem:
Step 1: Take Out the Preexisting Toilet Bolts
The first step to replace your spinning toilet anchor bolts is to remove the preexisting bolts. You will need an adjustable wrench or a pair of pliers. You should also have a screwdriver handy.
If the bolt still spins on your first attempt to remove it with the wrench, it will need to be secured into a fixed position. That is accomplished by inserting your screwdriver into the bolt slot. Once secure, you can use your wrench or plier to hold the bolt. Turn until you remove the bolt and use the screwdriver simultaneously.
Step 2: Clear Out the Bolt Hole
You will probably not know the issue of why your toilet anchor bolt is spinning until it is removed. You should clear out the bolt hole with a cloth. Avoid using a paper towel because it can tear and leave debris behind.
This is when you compare the hole size with the bolt. If it is not a match, then that could be your problem. If the replacement bolts don’t fit in that hole, then you may need to drill a new hole. That will make the hole bigger and allow for a perfect fit.
It might be a good idea to remove the old bolts before buying the new bolts. You can take the old bolts to the hardware store for a perfect match. As with most repairs, replacing your toilet anchors should not be a guessing game.
You will discover that the most common size for your toilet anchor bolt is two and a ¼ inches. These are the bolts used by popular toilet bowl manufacturers such as American Standard, Sloan, and Zurn. They are referred to as “toilet flange bowl sets.”
Step 3: Replace the Bolts
Be sure to match your drill bit size to the bolt size. Again, clear any debris from the hole before moving to the next step. Once the new hole has been drilled, you will be ready to replace the bolts.
You might be able to use the same bolts if they haven’t been damaged. Just clean them thoroughly and spray them with lubricant. If the bolt is rusty, it should be replaced with a new one. Ensure it is sprayed with lubricant before you replace it.
With a final tightening of the bolts, your toilet should be completely anchored into place once again. Just be sure that you do not over-tighten the toilet anchor bolts. That could lead to your toilet becoming cracked.
Most toilets are made from durable porcelain or ceramic. However, that does not make them indestructible. An overly-tightened bolt combined with constant use can lead to a fracture. That will mean a complete bowl replacement.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is the type of repair project that will generate a lot of questions. Here are the answers to those questions.
Is there a way to prevent rust from occurring on toilet anchor bolts?
The best approach for rust prevention is picking the right replacement bolt. A brass or stainless-steel bolt will not rust. You can also apply clear nail polish to the bolt heads. That will act as a sealant to keep out the moisture.
What tools and materials do I need for this repair task?
If you have a well-stocked toolbox, you won’t need to buy any special tools. You might just need to purchase spray lubricant and the actual bolts. Here is a complete list of tools and materials for this repair:
- Adjustable wrench
- Spray lubricants
- Plastic bolt cap
- Toilet bolts
- Rubber gloves
Do I need to shut off the water?
Whenever you are doing any kind of toilet bowl repair, it is advisable to shut off the water to the fixture. A simple turn of the valve at the back of the toilet will take care of this task.
This video provides an easy-to-follow tutorial for toilet anchor replacement. You will be able to follow along with your repair. Repairing your toilet anchor bolts from spinning can be an easy DIY task. That will help save money on a plumber service call. That is the goal of every homeowner!