View Full Version : Toilet flange problem!

08-21-2007, 09:54 PM
Previous owners of house installed ceramic tile directly over luan in small bathroom. Removed ceramic tile. Most of the tiles were cracked of course. I got all the old mortar off of luan. Plan on installing vinyl flooring. It seems they installed flange to allow for tile. The tile was under lip of flange. Now I am worried flange will be too high above luan. Is there anything I can do without messing with the flange? Flange is secure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Gary Swart
08-21-2007, 11:03 PM
I believe you will have to lower the flange. The flange has to set solidly flooring, preferably on top of the finished floor. Just how you will do this depends on the type of pipe and access to the pipe (under the floor) I would suggest to you that this could be a fairly difficult job for a homeowner and should be done by a professional plumber.

08-21-2007, 11:15 PM
Or, you can buy or build a base for the toilet to sit on, using plywood or something like this marble toilet spacer, which would elevate the toilet to the correct height.

08-22-2007, 06:25 AM
Would the big box stores carry the spacers? If I made one out of plywood, how would I do that, and which would look better?

08-22-2007, 06:27 AM
Neither will look "better". Both will look like a handyman job, but the plastic one would not deteriorate from water damage.

08-22-2007, 08:28 AM
The best solution is to lower the flange on top of the finished flooring. Depending on the materials and access, this could be easy or hard. You're right, though, there is only a limited space for the seal between the flange and the toilet...if the flange is too high, you need to raise the entire toilet up to match or it will rock and no seal will work properly for the long term. Or, lower the flange to the design height.

08-22-2007, 10:03 AM
Would the big box stores carry the spacers? If I made one out of plywood, how would I do that, and which would look better?

Here's how I would make the platform:

1. Buy a piece of plywood, the thickness of which matches the space between the subfloor and the bottom of the toilet flange.

2. Rough-cut the plywood so you have a smaller piece to work with.

3. Use a compass to measure and trace out a circle in the middle of this plywood that is the same size as the outer diameter of the flange.

4. Use a Dremel, rotozip. or jigsaw to cut out this circle.

5. Place the plywood over the flange and "dry-mount" your toilet over the flange (without the wax or bolts.)

6. Use a pencil to trace out the base of the toilet on the plywood.

7. Remove the toilet and plywood.

8. Use a jigsaw to make the cut-out.

9. Install platform. Install toilet.

10. Caulk base of toilet to make it look nice.

11. You're done.

I wouldn't worry about the wood deteriorating from water damage. There shouldn't be any leakage if you install the toilet properly. Also, it would act as a shield for your sub-floor if you did develop a leak. And, it's a hell of a lot easier to replace the platform than to replace your subfloor.

Gary Swart
08-22-2007, 12:23 PM
The platform is the simplest way to get past the problem, but as HJ points out it will forever look like what it is: a hack job.

08-22-2007, 05:06 PM
Such pessimism. :)

If the platform is only 1/4", and she cuts it perfectly to match the base of the toilet, and she caulks it nicely, it will look just fine.

Post a pic when you're done, Mary Ann.

08-22-2007, 09:08 PM
Definitely getting a plumber for this one. Top of flange is 1 1/4 " above floor.
Toilet is not even close to touching the floor. What will determine if it is an easy or difficult job? I know existing flange was installed within last five years. House does have basement, so there is access to waste pipe. Thanks for everyone's advice.

Gary Swart
08-22-2007, 10:08 PM
If there is access from the basement, half the battle is won. Another factor will be the type of pipe, but will easy access it shouldn't take a pro plumber too long to get the flange lowered to the floor level no matter what kind of pipe you have.