a man using screw to tighten the toilet tank bolts

How Tight Should Toilet Tank Bolts Be?

The toilet tank needs to be stable and solid at all times, so you will be able to use it properly without any leaks. To do so, you have to set up the toilet tank bolts appropriately and ensure that they will be tight enough to avoid any leakage. So, how tight should toilet tank bolts be in order to ensure that the tank will remain sturdy?

Toilet tank bolts should not be tightened very firmly because that way you run the risk of breakage of the tank or the toilet bowl. These elements are quite fragile, and the role of the tank bolts is to keep them together, not to break them. However, they should not be very loose either since that way they might cause a tank leak.

If you have set your mind on installing the toilet tank by yourself, you will need to learn how to do that the right way. The toilet tank bolts have an essential role here, so you need to understand how you will need to set them up. To find out how tight the toilet tank bolts should be, keep up with this article!

Should Toilet Tank Bolts Be Tight?

Toilet tank bolts are essential parts of the structure of a toilet since their main role is to keep the tank and the bowl together. When they are connected properly, you avoid the possibility of a leak occurrence when flushing the toilet. In addition, you should remember that the purpose of setting up tank bolts is primarily to keep two parts together, not to carry the weight of another element.

toilet tank bolts keep the the bowl and the tank together
Image from Joe Tominsky Jr

This being said, it is necessary to acknowledge the fact that the toilet tank bolts do not need to be extremely tight. Namely, you need the tank bolts to prevent leaks from the tank, meaning that they should not be very loose. On the other hand, you do not want them extremely tightened because this might lead to the breaking of the tank or the toilet bowl.

In some cases, you only need your fingers to adjust the toilet tank bolts, signalizing that they should not be significantly tight. However, how you will tighten the toilet tank bolts and whether you will need additional tools depends on the type of bolts and elements that the toilet includes.

How To Tighten Toilet Tank Bolts?

You may wonder how to achieve the perfect tightness of toilet tank bolts that will prevent leaks, but also keep the toilet tank sturdy and stable at all times. If this task seems confusing, it is wise to follow several steps in the process to make sure that you have done everything right.

Step 1: Turn Off The Water And Empty The Tank

When you decide to do something with your toilet, it is important to stop the water flow. Namely, you do not want to work while water is leaking all around you. Once you do that, make sure to empty the tank by simply flushing the toilet.

When the water is turned off and the tank is empty, you will have greater access to the tank bolts.

tightening toilet tank bolts with wrench
Image from Rashiek Ferris

Step 2: Tighten The Tank Bolts

For this step, you will need a screwdriver and a wrench. You will use the head of the screwdriver to slide it into the heads of the bolts, while the wrench will serve you for holding the nut in place. You need to ensure that you get a strong grip on the nut – otherwise, you will end up turning both the bolt and the nut.

Two full clockwise turns of the screwdriver will be enough for setting up the bolts. However, make sure you check that you cannot turn the screwdriver anymore. That way you will know that you have tightened the bolts correctly.

Some people tend to use a wrench instead of a screwdriver, but this can make the tightening tricky. In other words, if you are not careful, you might end up with extremely tight toilet tank bolts.

Step 3: Test Out Your Work

Once you finish tightening the tank bolts, you should check whether everything is working properly. You will need to turn on the water again and let the toilet tank fill with water. In the meantime, check the area around the toilet carefully for leaks.

If everything is dry around the toilet, that means that you have done everything properly. On the other hand, if there are leaks, that will mean that the bolts are too loose and will need tightening.

toilet tank bolts installed
Image from Joe Tominsky Jr

When You Should Stop Tightening The Toilet Tank Bolts?

If you have followed the steps for tightening toilet tank bolts, you have probably done everything correctly. However, it is quite common for people not to be sure when to stop tightening the bolts, especially if it is their first time doing this.

Luckily, there are ways that will help you determine that you have tightened the bolts enough. First, you can see if there is any wobbling. If your toilet tank wobbles, that means that the tank is loose and it needs more tightening.

Another sign that will show you that the toilet tank needs more tightening is the appearance of a leak. You should bear in mind that leaks might appear even after 24 hours, so pay attention after installing your toilet tank.

5 Tips To Keep In Mind When Tightening Toilet Tank Bolts

When you come to the phase of tightening toilet tank bolts, it is useful to have some general tips that will help you in the process. This way you will ensure to set them up properly, making sure they are not too tight or not too loose. You can always go over these tips to ensure that you have done everything correctly along the way.

  • Use rubber washers for protecting your toilet tank from extreme tightening. They go below the nut of the bolt, and they ensure the protection of the porcelain of the tank.
  • Tighten the tank bolts with your fingers first, and then use a screwdriver and a wrench.
  • Check for wobbling before you continue tightening the tank bolts.
  • Make sure that all of the tank bolts are tightened equally.
  • Keep an eye on leaks while testing your work. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Are Toilet Tank Bolts?

There are different sizes and types of toilet tank bolts, but generally, the usual size is 5/16 size× 2¾ length. This size is usually compatible with most toilet brands and models.

Why Is It Necessary To Tight The Toilet Tank Bolts Equally?

By tightening the toilet tank bolts equally you prevent the cracking of the toilet tank or the toilet bowl. These elements can easily crack and be damaged, so it is recommended that the tightening is done equally on each side.

What Tools Are Needed For Tightening Toilet Tank Bolts?

In order to tight toilet tank bolts, you will need a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. Sometimes, you might be able to tighten the bolts with fingers, but it is recommended to use appropriate tools.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you do not need a professional plumber to tighten the toilet tank bolts on your tank. You just need the right tools and a careful following of steps, and you will easily get the job done. So, do not wait up and fix your toilet in a matter of minutes. 

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