At one point or another, everybody that owns a toilet needs to do some maintenance. Although it’s usually pretty simple, sometimes it might require a bit of elbow grease. One of the most common problems related to toilet maintenance is that tank bolts get rusty and difficult to remove. Below we’ll explain how to best handle this issue.
Before You Start, Drain the Water from the Bowl
First, turn off the water supply by rotating the nearby valve. Then, flush the tank and soak any remaining water with a sponge. If you skip this step, the water may reach the floor when you loosen the bolts. Also, make sure to put a towel around the toilet, even if you have a tile floor.
Removing Tank Bolts (No Rust)
To learn how to remove rusted toilet tank bolts, consider how to remove them if they were in good condition first. You don’t need any special tools, only a screwdriver and a wrench. Hold the bolt in place with the screwdriver and loosen it with the wrench. Make sure not to tighten them with a screwdriver since it might cause problems later.
Removing Rusted Tank Bolts
As you can see, removing tank bolts is a straightforward process. However, it’s a bit different and frustrating if the bolts are rusted, and might also take you some time. It might also happen that you open the tank and notice that the tops of the bolts are swollen. If you try to remove bolts using a screwdriver, the tops might turn into dust. There are a few things you can try if that happens.
Use a Mini Hacksaw
A mini hacksaw is a very handy tool that can help you remove rusted tank bolts. Since its blade is flexible, you might be able to push it under the head of the bolt. You might also need to cut the rubber elements to be able to reach the bolthead. When you have the saw in place, you should be able to cut through the bolt easily.
Using this device would make the process much faster than with a hacksaw, but they’re a bit more difficult to find. Plus, using this tool can be a bit risky, since you may easily damage the toilet.
You will notice a metal blade on the saw, which can come in various sizes. For example, there are short, 6-inch blades that will give you more control while working. On the other hand, longer blades will allow you to do the job from distance, which some people might find easier. Using the right-sized blade, you should be able to cut through the bolt and remove it.
In any case, you should be able to cut the bolt from inside the tank. However, you need to make sure not to hit the blade upon the tank or it may damage it.
If nothing works, you should try using bolt cutters. It’s an ideal tool to use if the bolts are already loose but won’t come off. Although bolt cutters can be slightly expensive, they will definitely do the job in this scenario.
Installing New Bolts
Now that you have removed the old, rusty bolts, it’s time to install new ones in place. Obviously, it’s very simple to do, but you need to follow some rules. First, make sure to screw the nut onto the bolt, and not vice versa. Also, make sure not to overtighten anything, since it might damage the weak material or be difficult to remove when it gets rusty. You want the toilet to be fixed, but don’t worry if it’s slightly flexible – it’s still better than damaging the tank.
Overtightening Toilet Bolts: Can it Cause Leaking?
In most cases, toilets are made from vitreous china which is not as durable a material as stainless steel, for example. If you overtighten the bolts, the material will crack and cause leaking. The leaking can be just a couple of drops, but it has the potential to become a much bigger problem. But how can you be sure when to stop tightening?
We can advise you to start with a small wrench and tighten both bolts simultaneously. When things start to get firm, you should be very careful. Most likely, you’ll only need to turn them for about half a turn.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I Need to Install a New Gasket?
Since you are already replacing tank bolts, this is an excellent opportunity to check if you should replace the gasket, too. If you need to do so, almost 90% of the work will be done only by removing the bolts.
How Do I Check the Tank Bolts?
You can find the bolts by simply checking the bottom of your toilet tank. If you look closely, you may notice that there are rubber washers that keep the water and moisture inside. However, those washers can get damaged or worn out over time, so be sure to check their condition often.
If you struggle to remove rusted toilet tank bolts, we are sure that this guide will help you out. It can be a bit risky since you can easily damage the porcelain, but if you follow our instructions properly, you will have the bolts removed in no time.