What Causes a Toilet to Break?

Written by steven symes
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What Causes a Toilet to Break?
A toilet's bowl and tank can crack easily from hard blows, among other actions. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Porcelain toilets can crack or break easily if you do not treat them with care. Every time you not only move the toilet but install new parts, unclog the toilet or just use it on a daily basis, you need to avoid certain practices and activities that will break the toilet, which you will have to replace.

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Hot Water

Toilet bowls and tanks have cold water in them constantly. Some people may pour hot or even warm water into the tank or bowl to remove a clog or clean the toilet. Pouring warm or hot water into the toilet will cause the toilet's porcelain to expand rapidly, and the porcelain could crack. You can unclog or clean a toilet without using hot water and cracking the toilet, which will ruin the toilet completely.


When you install new parts in the toilet tank or are removing or reseating the toilet, always be careful with your tools. Hitting the inside or outside of the toilet tank or bowl can crack the porcelain since the tools are made of metal and are often quite heavy. Stop turning wrenches well before the handle has a chance to contact the toilet. Never use a hammer to tap any part of the toilet into place.

Heavy or Sharp Blows

Heavy or sharp objects, such as scissors or even your feet, can crack the toilet's porcelain. Avoid running in the bathroom since you not only can trip, but you can inadvertently kick or land on the toilet and break it. Do not store heavy or sharp items above the toilet or they could fall on the toilet and break it. Placing heavy objects on the toilet's tank cover can place enough pressure on the toilet to break it.

Nuts and Bolts

When you install the toilet, you must tighten nuts onto bolts to anchor the toilet tank to the bowl and secure the bowl to the floor. Under-tightening the nuts onto the bolts will allow the tank to wobble or the toilet bowl to rock, leading to leaks and other problems with the toilet's operation. Over-tightening the nuts, though, will crack the toilet. When you are tightening the nuts onto the bolts, stop once you feel resistance from the nuts, meaning you have tightened them enough.

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