In this post, I’ll walk you through various aspects of shimming a toilet so that you can make an informed decision.
Moreover, I’ll also be responding to the queries related to shimming toilet so that most of your doubts are cleared if not all.
So, without any further ado, let’s begin…
Toilet shims are bathroom accessories that mainly help in balancing the toilet on the floor.
What is a Toilet Shim?
A shim is nothing but a thin flat wedge-shaped piece of material used to level or fit in between spaces so that wobbling can be easily prevented.
The piece of material can be plastic, rubber, or even wood.
For a toilet, I prefer plastic or rubber as compared to wood.
Shims come in different sizes and numbers so you can use as few or as many shims as you see fit.
Commercial shims come in packages of 4, 8, and 30.
These shims are between 7.5 inches to 9 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.
Many of our readers wouldn’t be aware of the fact that the length of a shim can stretch up to 12 to 16 inches long depending upon the type, use, and brand.
And, the same goes for the thickness of the shim.
How to Shim a Toilet?
To be honest, shimming a toilet is a six-step process that you can expedite on your own without having a need for a technical expert.
Check for Gaps
First and foremost, you need to check the gaps between your rocking toilet and the floor.
Before you start your inspection make sure to clean the specks of dirt and dust if any present or accumulated in and around the base.
Saying it is a good cleaning job only if even the smallest holes under the bowl are revealed.
Afterward, start looking for uneven parts of your bathroom floor and gaps dividing it from the porcelain base.
Moreover, make sure to pay attention to the gaps’ height and width.
It is quite possible that you may need multiple shims for that area.
On top of it, the possibility of the presence of gaps all around the base can’t be denied.
It is always a good thing to go full circle to inspect the entire toilet bowl.
Insert the Shims
I’m assuming that you’ve identified the gaps in your toilet.
So, now you’ve to place the shims under your toilet.
You can use small handmade wood shims or even plastic or rubber shims will do the trick.
And, the best part is, you can afford the shims even though you’re on a tight budget.
Depending upon the gap dimensions, you’ll need one or two pieces to level out all the divisions between your floor and tank.
Inserting a shim is easy and can be done in the way mentioned below.
- First and foremost, you need to place one shim on the floor in such a way that the sharp edge is facing the toilet base gap.
- Secondly, the shim needs to be pushed with your fingers so that it can enter and fill the gap.
- When you can’t press the shim further, use a small hammer to give it the extra push – it will seal the gap entirely.
It goes without saying the same process applies to all gaps under the bowl.
When you insert all shims, make sure that the toilet is stable – there should be no wobbling anymore.
Trim the Shims
Your toilet is now safe and stable, but the work isn’t over here.
In fact, you still have to cover the shims and make your bathroom throne aesthetically pleasing.
As per my knowledge and experience that I’ve gathered over two decades, I can affirm that the best way to do that is to trim the shims.
Most shims are longer than needed so the back of each piece will remain visible.
So, the best thing that you can do is to cut the extra part using the utility knife.
At the same time, you need to be careful not to damage the floor.
Moreover, the knife may scratch the surface, especially if you’ve got a vinyl floor.
Another thing that you can do is follow the toilet bowl’s shape.
You can cut the right angle to make the shims nearly invisible.
In short, the goal is to level the shim with the surface of the toilet bowl.
By doing so, your toilet will look better and you’ll have a perfect shimmed bowl.
Test Your Toilet
It’s high time to test your toilet to see whether or not it works properly.
First and foremost, you need to check whether or not it wobbles.
In fact, you need to push it gently with your hands and see if it moves.
In layman’s terms, it shouldn’t budge and you need to make sure by checking from all sides and angles.
The next and most important task is to test your toilet for possible leaks.
No one wants to see their toilets leaking at the base so you must remember to flush it a few times.
Your toilet shouldn’t leak after installing and trimming the shims.
Caulk the Toilet Base
Trust me, the work isn’t over yet because you can still notice the shims under the toilet.
Even though they fill the gaps and fit in tightly, there is a notable difference between the average shim and the porcelain surface of the toilet bowl.
Furthermore, in such circumstances, caulking the toilet base is mandatory if you want to cover the crime scene.
But, how do you caulk around your toilet?
All you need to do is to follow the below-mentioned steps.
- Clean the toilet base as well as the floor around it.
- You need to apply masking tape around the bowl to prevent the caulk from spilling on the floor.
- Furthermore, you need to buy a 100 percent silicone caulk tube and put it in the caulk gun.
- You need to target all shims one by one and pull the trigger, the gun will fill uneven surfaces with caulk.
- Then, you need to use your thumb to press fresh caulk, this will help you to align it with the toilet much more precisely.
- Lastly, you need to detach the masking tape from the floor.
Let It Dry
It’s always a good idea to let the caulk dry overnight.
Trust me, your toilet is already safe will all those shims but the caulk needs time to dry and stiffen.
And, that’s the only reason why we say it’s best to caulk around the toilet in the evening.
We recommend allowing it to rest for at least eight hours overnight.
Shimming & Caulking a Toilet – I’m attaching a self-explanatory video for your perusal.
Basic Types of Shims
There are multiple types of shims, but they all serve the same purpose.
Some people improvise by inserting handmade wooden shims or even old coins, but izzysmarthomeguide.com recommends using professional tools.
The best types of shims are the ones with ridged or ribbed designs.
As mentioned earlier, shims can vary in shape and size.
Let’s have a quick look at some important types of shims that are frequently used in day-to-day life.
Plastic Toilet Shim
Plastic toilet shims are available in different shapes and colors as well as offer a cheap way to level uneven surfaces.
Also, these shims are quite easy to insert.
If you’re looking for a durable shim then a plastic shim can do the trick for you as plastic elements support heavyweight toilets with ease.
At the same time, you need to be aware of the fact that a plastic shim can sometimes crack due to continuous temperature fluctuations in your bathroom.
For example, frequent use of air conditioning to heat up your bathroom when it’s cold outside may lead to cracks in your plastic shim over time.
So, it’s advisable to refrain from activities that may lead to temperature fluctuation in your bathroom.
Nylon Plastic Shim
Nylon Plastic shim offers plenty of flexible ways to use them.
In fact, these shims are perfect for use in your toilet and even for leveling off your furniture.
The ribbed nature of these shims offers more stability and will catch on the surfaces more, and as a result, the chance of slippage reduces drastically.
Needless to say, these shims are easy to work with, and the best part is, the ribs allow them to be stacked which isn’t the case with the other plastic shims.
The nylon plastic shim ensures that they are not only easy to cut but also retain durability for a longer duration.
Flexible Plastic Shim
Are you looking for a plastic shim that offers the flexibility of a rubber shim?
Well, if that is the case, then a flexible plastic shim will do the trick for you.
These shims come with ridges that are great for stacking as well as for getting a grip on surfaces, using interlocking technology.
In fact, the bouncy material is great for dampening vibrations of things such as washing machines, dryers, etc.
Rubber Toilet Shim
A rubber toilet shim can be a good alternative to a plastic toilet shim.
These shims are great at leveling uneven toilet bowls as well as are capable of supporting heavy toilets.
Unlike plastic toilet shims, you need to insert multiple rubber toilet shims as the latter bend under pressure.
The good thing about a rubber toilet shim is that it really never breaks or falls apart.
It goes without saying, the flexibility of a rubber toilet shim makes it extremely reliable.
To conclude, plastic shims are more durable and stable as compared to their rubber counterparts.
In general, plastic shims are made from composite recycled plastic as well as come in varying degrees of rigidity.
Since plastic shims are available in both hard and soft plastics so they are not only easy to use but also are capable of covering almost all the needs in an adequate manner which isn’t the case with a rubber shim.
On the other hand, a rubber shim can be a good option in the situation where you intend to stack the shims on top of each other or use adhesive to join them.
In fact, in such a situation, rubber shims can hold up against slipping over time.
One important drawback of plastic shims is that it is quite slippery and won’t allow providing a lot of stability in high-movement areas such as washing machines and rattling pipes.
A wood shim is nothing but a wedge-shaped piece of wood that is mainly used to prop, adjust, hold, or even tweak the position of an object.
The wedges taper from less than 1/32-inch at their tip to ¼-inch at their thickest. They typically come in packs of 12, 42, or 100 and are usually quite inexpensive.
The wood shims are easy to cut and shave.
They are made from softwoods such as pine and fir.
Well, if you’re looking for a wood shim for your outdoor or wet project then cedar wood shim can be a viable option as it is less prone to rotting.
Wood shims are mainly used in projects related to trim work, cabinetry, door & windows installation, bathtub installation, and flattening of floors.
These shims can be of great help when it comes to installing baseboards, crown molding, etc.
Also, these shims are good at filling the gaps in the drywall, dips in the floor, etc.
It goes without saying that the most common use of these shims is in the installation of doors and windows in rough framing.
In layman’s terms, to fill in the gap and get the windows or doors level up and plumb, installers use wood shims to plumb them.
They can also be used during the installation of a new floor as well as the filling of gaps in an old floor.
How to Shim a Wobbly/Rocking Toilet?
Before going ahead with the shimming process, make sure your toilet isn’t leaking.
If you notice a little bit of water collecting around the base of your toilet then the probability is very high that your toilet wax ring is not sealing and needs to be replaced before you expedite the shimming process.
In simple words, if your toilet is just wobbly and not leaking then go ahead and shim it in the best possible way that you could.
Just for your information, the best toilet shims come with a ribbed design that enables them to be double-stacked.
For example, if you’ve got a spirit level then place it on the bowl to know which side of the floor your toilet is slanting.
You’re lucky if you don’t have any spirit.
In order to check which side of your toilet the gap exists, you need to hold your toilet bowl with both your hands and rock it a little.
For the best result, make sure you’re in a kneeling or squatting position.
To begin with, start sliding the shims in such a way that you’re putting them at the front as well as back so that the toilet pressure is evenly distributed.
Keep adding the shims till the time you see if your toilet is stabilizing by rocking it about or by sitting on it.
Some clients of izzysmarthomeguide.com prefer tapping the ends of the shims using a hammer so that they can be driven more.
However, the core team of izzysmarthomeguide.com doesn’t recommend doing any such things as it may lead to unseating of the wax ring, and as a consequence, your toilet may start leaking.
In fact, our team recommends loosening the toilet bolts so that the shims can be easily inserted.
Don’t forget to tighten the bolts once the shims are properly placed.
Lastly, cut off the unwanted ends of the shims using a utility knife once you’re satisfied that your toilet is solid on the floor.[Related]
How to Shim a New Toilet/Wobbly Leaking Toilet?
If you’re worried about your leaking toilet that hasn’t been shimmed for a long time then make sure you follow the below-mentioned steps to get rid of the leakage.
Turn Off the Water Supply
A shut-off valve will be present on the left-hand side of your toilet.
You need to turn it clockwise.
Moving further, you need to flush your toilet in such a way that the maximum amount of water is moved out.
Then, you need to remove the toilet lid and put it in a safe and secured place.
If any water is left at the bottom of the tank then using a sponge you’ll have to remove it.
Now, it’s time to disconnect the water supply line from your toilet tank.
Your water supply line would be the braided line that runs from the shut-off valve to your toilet tank, make sure you’re disconnecting this line and not any other water line in your home.
If needed, use a wrench to loosen the supply line.
Once the bowl and tank are dry, it’s time to remove your toilet.
Remove the Toilet
Trust me, removing your toilet is an important step and needs to be done carefully in order to prevent any last-minute debacle.
First and foremost, you need to look for a bolt on each side of your toilet. At times, these bolts will be covered with plastic caps so remove them first and then the bolts.
Using a spanner or any other tool loosen the bolts.
If they are rusty then cut them off with a miniature hacksaw.
Now, it’s time to hold your toilet by the bowl and rock it about to break the wax seal.
You need to lift it off and then lay it on its side on some newspapers.
In order to prevent sewage gas from entering your bathroom, you need to plug off the drainpipe with a rag.
The old wax ring needs to be removed and don’t forget to trash it.
Just for your information, wax rings can’t be reused.
Using a putty knife, you need to scrape off old wax from your toilet outlet as soon as the top of your toilet flange.
Before dumping your toilet flange, make sure to check whether or not it’s under warranty period.
Needless to say, replacing the toilet flange with the toilet already removed is an easy task and will not consume much of your time for sure even though you’re expediting the process on your own for the first time.
Does it make sense?
Install the Toilet Without the Wax Ring
Irrespective of whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned professional, mapping out the areas where you need to shim your toilet without the wax ring shouldn’t be a problem for you.
It goes without saying, without the wax ring, your toilet is less rigid, isn’t it?
If you’re done with cutting the toilet bolts then the next thing that needs to be done is to slot in the new ones in your toilet flange and install your toilet. Make sure not to tighten it aggressively.
Have a close look beneath your toilet and start looking for gaps and most importantly, don’t forget to slide in your toilet shim.
Once your toilet is solid on the floor, you need to mark the areas wherein you’ve installed the shims.
Finally, you need to remove your toilet and lay it on its side.
Replace the Wax Ring
The below-mentioned steps are equally good for both installing a wax ring on a new toilet and replacing a wax ring on an old toilet.
First and foremost, you need to gently slide the wax ring into your toilet outlet, you need to do it carefully so that deformation can be avoided.
We recommend an easier way of doing it by putting it in warm water for a few minutes or even in the sun for a little while.
By doing so, sliding will become easier for you.
If you’re looking for an alternative method then you can use rubber gasket seats which work the same way as the wax rings but uses rubber seals instead of wax seals and most importantly, are less messy.
Install the Toilet and Shim It
Trust me, installing your toilet and shimming it will be a cakewalk if you’re doing what is mentioned below.
We’ve been recommending these steps to our clientele and the feedbacks that we’ve received so far are positive and promising.
To begin with, you need to remove the rag from the drainpipe and lift the toilet above the flange to align it with the toilet bolts and then put it down gently.
Moving further, you need to slide in the shims on the previously marked spots, pushing them gently with your hand.
Make sure to put in a washer and a nut on each bolt and tighten.
You need to tighten the bolts alternatively in such as way that the toilet level is maintained.
If you’ll tighten the bowl very much then it may lead to a crack as the bowl is made up of ceramic.
Moving further, you need to seat your toilet in such a way that it is comfortable and sturdy.
In case, the shim’s edge is visible then you need to cut it at an angle using a utility knife.
The Toilet Water Supply Needs to be Connected Back
This is the last step wherein you need to connect back the water supply carefully in order to prevent any last-minute debacle.
You need to turn on the shut-off valve in the counterclockwise direction after connecting the water supply to your toilet tank.
Once done, flush your toilet a couple of times if not more to ensure that things are in place, and also, don’t forget to check the base so that no leakage can be ensured.
Finally, you need to put the toilet tank lid back in place.
Best Toilet Shims | An Unbiased Review
Let’s have a quick look at some of the best toilet shims that we’ve been recommending to our clients at izzysmarthomeguide.com.
These shims are a value-for-money product and have performed extremely well in our evaluation process.
Nelson Wood Shims
The Nelson Wood Shims come with thin-featured tips which makes them easy to install and use.
Moreover, these shims are reusable and made from 100 percent wood.
During the manufacturing process, no chemicals, additives, fumigation, or treatment has been added to these shims so if you’ve got children and pets in your home then Nelson Wood Shims can be a viable option.
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Moreover, the actual dimension of a single pine shim is 8″ x 1.25″.
The pine wood shims are about 1/4 inch thick on the thick end, and taper over their length of about 9 inches to 1/32 inch, or less, many are tapered 1/4 inch to a feather edge.
You can rely on these high-quality shims for your cabinetry and carpentry projects, and trust me, they will not disappoint you for sure.
All in all, it’s a value-for-money wood shim that you’ll never regret investing in.
Yarkor Table Shims
If you’re looking for an easy fix for your wobbly furniture then definitely, Yarkor Table Shim can be a viable option.
Not only is it affordable and long-lasting but also consists of essential features that put this little beast in a different league altogether.
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During our evaluation process, we found Yarkor Table Shim to perform extremely well on important evaluation parameters.
Moreover, our clients have given good feedback about this little beast.
Trust me, Yarkor levelers will not rot, swell, swarn, or even wrap in tough outdoor conditions, thanks to its anti-slip base that makes this little beast more stable with a sloping design.
The USP of this shim is the softer TPU that ensures your furniture and tables are free from any kind of damage.
On top of it, this rubber shim is capable of withstanding vibration and shakes.
All in all, a great product that you’ll never regret investing in.
Tahikem Plastic Table Shims
The Tahikem Plastic Clear Table Shims are definitely one of the best on our list, and trust me, for all the good reasons.
It consists of a non-slip threaded design that helps in leveling any furniture.
Moreover, it can also help you in getting rid of shaking problems in your toilet, door, table, etc.
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The multi-purpose plastic shim can be used to level a wide range of things including bookcases, windows, plumbing fixtures, doors, cabinets, toilets, playhouses, tables, kitchen furniture, and bedroom furniture.
To be precise, the USP of the Tahikem plastic shim is the non-slip base and the slanted design. It is made up of transparent PVC and has got excellent durability and reliability.
And, the best part is, you can stack these little beasts together if needed to fill larger gaps, and trust me, they will match your expectation in terms of performance.
Qualihome Nylon Plastic Shims
The Qualihome Nylon Plastic Shim comes with a unique design that helps in stabilizing toilets, tables, shelves, and other furniture in a hassle-free manner.
The good thing about the Qualihome Nylon Plastic Shim is that it doesn’t require any tool for installation.
All you need to do is to insert them wherever they are required.
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Since these shims are made of durable & premium quality nylon plastic so they will not get damaged easily.
Moreover, they can easily absorb the daily tear and wear, and will not easily get deformed even under tremendous weight.
These multipurpose shims can also be used for stabilizing a wobbly laptop as well as to silence rattling rods and pipes.
Do I still need to convince you?
Wobble Wedges Flexible Plastic Shims
If you’re on a tight budget then Wobble Wedges Flexible Plastic Shims can do the trick for you.
Not only is it affordable but comes with all the essential characteristics that you might be looking for in your favorite flexible plastic shim.
This multipurpose flexible plastic shim can be used as a stabilizer for an uneven table, bed frame, bookshelf, dresser, etc.
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You can use this shim for leveling your furniture so that wood and ceramic floors can be protected.
I’ve personally used this shim for multiple things including stabilizing the uneven bases of my furniture, leveling my large kitchen pieces of equipment, and most importantly, fixing wobbly tables.
The USP of this shim is the flexible soft rubber spacer which can fit in small spaces to absorb vibrations and silence a rattling water pipe.
Wadoy Plastic Shims
The last shim on our list is none other than Wadoy Plastic Shim.
Trust me, the Wadoy Plastic Shim doesn’t need any introduction and possesses almost all the qualities that you might be looking for in your favorite plastic shim.
(Check Current Price On Amazon)
To be honest, recently, I’ve started recommending this product to my clients, and they are really happy and satisfied with its performance.
You can use this nylon shim to level your toilet as well as furniture and mark my words, it will never disappoint you.
It is uniquely designed so that friction will the ground can be enhanced, and as a result, it doesn’t slide easily.
These shims are made of hard rubber, and after placing them in gaps, the extra part needs to be cut with a utility knife.
Definitely, one of the best plastic shims on our list.
In this section, I’ll be responding to the queries related to SHIMMING TOILET in order to clear your doubts as well as help you in the best possible way that I could.
Feel free to contact our core team if your question isn’t answered or if you still have any doubts related to shimming a toilet.
Does it make sense?
Why use toilet shims?
Toilet shims are usually made of plastic, wood, or rubber and resemble small wedges that are meant to be squeezed between gaps in order to prevent things from feeling shaky and unstable.
Are plastic shims strong?
Plastic shims are durable and stronger when compared to wood shims, and are also cheaper and lighter than metal shims.
How thick are toilet shims?
The toilet shims are 1-1/8 inch wide x 2 inches long with the tapered wedge thickness from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch.
It’s A Wrap
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for being with us till the end.
Secondly, I would like to bring to your notice that I along with my core team have put loads and loads of effort into coming up with this idiosyncratic superlative piece of information.
And, in case, you liked our effort and want to appreciate us then please do share this post with like-minded people and the ones who are in search of similar information.
After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?
Long story short, we’ve tried to the best of our capabilities to provide you with legit information on the topic of how to shim a toilet so that you can make an informed decision.
In case, you’ve any doubts or queries then please feel free to contact us and our team will be more than happy to assist you.
That’s all, as of now:):)