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dmaceld
01-07-2009, 07:34 PM
I find several comments in this forum where the authors say a toilet flange should be on top of the finished floor. There are also a couple of posts where in that case the poster had problems with rocking toilets due to insufficient space between the flange and toilet bottom. I have a copy of Code Check Complete which is a summary of four primary building codes. In there the authors have an illustration specifically showing the flange top level with the finished floor as being the correct installation and a big NO circle over the illustrations showing the flange on top of the finished floor and below the finished floor.

What I find of the plumbing codes the only code requirement is for the flange to securely fastened to surface below it.

Soooooo, what is the correct positioning of the flange to avoid clearance problems and still have a water tight seal?

SewerRatz
01-07-2009, 07:45 PM
Only part in Illinois plumbing code is as follows.

Section 890.360 Water Closet and Pedestal Urinal


Fixture connections between drainage pipes and water closets, floor outlet service sinks and pedestal urinals, and earthenware trap standards shall be made by means of brass, copper, hard lead, plastic, or iron flanges; caulked, soldered, screwed or solvent welded to the drainage pipe. Flanges of hard lead, plastic and iron flanges for no-hub or compression joints shall be secured to the floor. The connection shall be bolted, with a gasket, washer or setting compound, between the earthenware and the flange. The floor flange shall be set on an approved firm base. The use of putty or non-drying plumber's putty manufactured specifically for plumbing installation is acceptable

It does say it needs to be set on an approved firm base. I always put it on the sub-floor, and let the tile guys tile around it. So I make sure it will be installed flush with the finished floor.

jadnashua
01-07-2009, 07:49 PM
There are two issues...the flange must be firmly attached, and, it is designed to sit OVER the finished floor and anchor through it. If the flange is installed tight to the floor surface AND that surface is flat and level AND the flange is not poorly designed AND the toilet is standard with decent quality control, you should be able to use a standard wax ring and get a reliable, waterproof, gasproof seal. A thick wax ring filling a wide space isn't as reliable (but could last a very long time if not disturbed) as a thinner one. Since a typical flange ring is only in the order of approximately 1/4" or so, if it was ultimately level with the finished floor, would having the wax an extra 1/4" be a major factor? Maybe if you got really aggressive with a plunger, but probably not.

Issues with a toilet not fitting are usually related to a flange that is not sitting ON the finished floor and is sitting above it, or not level with the floor. Also, some people think the use of a horn embedded in the wax ring is a good idea...the higher the flange is, especially on a 3" drain pipe, the more problems you'll have since that horn does have some uncompressable thickness and width and may not fit into the throat of the flange.

Essentially, any properly made toilet should fit on any code approved flange IF the flange is installed on TOP of the finished floor properly. There are a lot of junk toilets out there that may not meet industry standards.

kingsotall
01-08-2009, 04:41 AM
I always put it on the sub-floor, and let the tile guys tile around it. So I make sure it will be installed flush with the finished floor.

OK, here goes...
WE SET THE FLANGE FLUSH WITH THE FLOOR TOO! :eek::(:(

Cass
01-08-2009, 05:02 AM
Always on the finished floor for proper tolerances between toilet and flange so the wax ring can do it's job to the best of its ability.

SewerRatz
01-08-2009, 08:44 AM
Always on the finished floor for proper tolerances between toilet and flange so the wax ring can do it's job to the best of its ability.

I do not use wax, I use the Zurn Neo seal or plumbers putty.

McMike
01-08-2009, 05:06 PM
the last company i worked for(service plumbing and remodels) had a policy of flange on finished floor, the majority of the leaky toilet floor seals we were called to repair were 3inch pvc flange 10-15 years old, below floor level, if we used thicker wax we would still have problems within our 2 year warranty, so the company requires flange to be cut out and repiped to sit on FF, those flanges that were reset on FF would easily last well past our 2 year warranty, it was very rare to see a leaky floor seal with a flange set on FF

Donn2390
01-13-2009, 10:13 AM
Now you have me worried...! I'm just in the process of installing a couple of Aquia lll. I have the old toilet removed and the flange cleaned up and ready to install.
Came back here to double check everything before dragging out the drill, and I see these comments on the flange being flush with the FF.
My flange is flush with the concrete floor, and the thickness of the tile below FF, maybe a quarter of an inch, but solidly mounted.
The old wax ring came off easily in one piece. It is about an inch and a quarter thick in it's compressed state. I'm guessing the existing wax rings must be the thicker ones.
The house is five or six years old and never had a leakage problem.
I'm heading for HD now to buy a couple of new wax rings and new water inlet pipes and some carbide drills..
I sure don't want to tear up my floor to raise the flange a quarter inch, so I'm going with the thicker ring and hoping all will work out, since it has worked for five years with the flange lower than FF.
The old closet bolts mounted in the flange are solid and appear to be like new. Is there any reason to replace them..?
Hopefully my wife will still be talking to me by the end of the day......??

jadnashua
01-13-2009, 02:51 PM
The wax must compress when you set the toilet...you need enough thickness to have that happen. There are flange extenders you can use rather than replace a flange.

Because of the way the toilet is designed, it might not leak unless there is an obstruction and the drain backs up. It could leak sewer gasses, though. Depends on your system whether you'd notice.

Donn2390
01-13-2009, 04:20 PM
Thanks, Jim. I'm getting smarter by the minute. Fortunately HD is only a couple of blocks away.
I mentioned my old seal was an inch and a quarter. On closer inspection, it's two put together....!
I'm on the way back to HD to exchange a few parts, so I will check out a flange extention.
The good news is, the second toilet should be a breeze. This one has taken much longer than expected, but I prefer to go slowly and not screw anything up. If I had to depend on my plumbing abilities to put food on the table, I'd have starved to death long ago....
Good thing we have four bathrooms, or I might have to buy some rubber bands...! Looks like tomorrow before this one is working....

krow
01-13-2009, 04:37 PM
In the older days, when lead bends , and eventually copper drains were introduced, the codes expected you to affix the floor flange on top of the finished floor. The thickness of the flange played a big part in that thought process. It would allow all tolerances.

When plastic came into play (PVC and ABS) you will notice that the flange is slightly thicker. To compansate, they amended any codes to allow for the difference in thickness. We, in Canada, place our platic flanges flush with the finished surface (level with the tile floor) and or 1/8" higher than the finished surface. This would allow you to use a sponge gasket if you wanted to. (in both cases, always fastening the flange to the floor or subfloor)

Placing the PVC OR ABS flange on top of you finished surface, you are almost obligated to use a wax gasket, whether you like them or not. The wax will squeeze much further than your sponge gaskets and the flanges do not need to be exactly level. The wax will form to its new level, or lack of level

Gary Swart
01-13-2009, 06:59 PM
I have always understood the flange was to be set on top of the finished floor and will continue to do that on any flanges I install in the future. However, if I am asked to install a toilet and find a perfectly good flange installed flush with the floor, I will not hesitate to install the toilet. Now recessed another 1/4" is another matter, but that's for another thread.

Donn2390
01-15-2009, 08:29 AM
Thanks to all for the good tips. One is installed with one to go. It turned out to be a slam dunk. With the exception of drilling four holes through tile and concrete, it was much easier to install than a standard toilet..!
Everything went smoothly, and it works perfectly with no leaks. I spent more time worrying and studying than installing. The next one will go quickly...
The flange being 1/4" below FF was simple to resolve. Fluidmaster makes a thicker wax ring, which handled the problem easily.
One benefit of having the socket adaptor is, you put it in place w/o the seal, and you can see and feel how much gap you have to deal with, and after it's installed with the wax ring, you can see and feel the results, so there is no guessing.
So far we love it, and I'm very happy I took Terry's advice and spent the extra hundred for the ADA....

dmaceld
05-05-2009, 06:15 PM
In the older days, when lead bends , and eventually copper drains were introduced, the codes expected you to affix the floor flange on top of the finished floor. The thickness of the flange played a big part in that thought process. It would allow all tolerances.

When plastic came into play (PVC and ABS) you will notice that the flange is slightly thicker. To compansate, they amended any codes to allow for the difference in thickness. We, in Canada, place our platic flanges flush with the finished surface (level with the tile floor) and or 1/8" higher than the finished surface. This would allow you to use a sponge gasket if you wanted to. (in both cases, always fastening the flange to the floor or subfloor)

Placing the PVC OR ABS flange on top of you finished surface, you are almost obligated to use a wax gasket, whether you like them or not. The wax will squeeze much further than your sponge gaskets and the flanges do not need to be exactly level. The wax will form to its new level, or lack of level

Well, it's been a few months and the bathrooms are done, along with all the house, and we are moved in! My experience with the toilet installations was pretty much dead on with the response above. I put the ABS flanges on top of, and tight to, the finished floor. I installed Toto Drake ADA elongated toilets, a favorite of this forum's followers. It turns out there isn't enough depth around the outlet to allow the use of some no-wax seals. The flange on the Fluidmaster seal I had was too thick and the toilet missed touching the floor by about 1/8". I used a no-wax seal I got from a plumbing supply house, don't recall the brand, that barely fit. In fact there still is a slight gap but the toilet doesn't rock. If I ever install another toilet I believe I will go flush, or maybe 1/8" above the finished floor. That should allow the use on any good seal, wax or no-wax.

hj
05-09-2009, 07:24 AM
quote; I have a copy of Code Check Complete which is a summary of four primary building codes. In there the authors have an illustration specifically showing the flange top level with the finished floor as being the correct installation and a big NO circle over the illustrations showing the flange on top of the finished floor and below the finished floor.

I always install it on top of the floor. If you have a toilet with a deep recess and the flange is flush with the floor, a conventional wax ring will not have any compression. The only way a flange on top of the floor COULD cause a wiggling problem would be if the toilet has a very shallow recess, and only the most mediocre toilets would have that, AND the flange is a plastic one with a very thick flange. Normally, the ONLY way to be sure the toilet is sealing properly is to have the flange on top of the floor.

dmaceld
05-09-2009, 01:23 PM
The only way a flange on top of the floor COULD cause a wiggling problem would be if the toilet has a very shallow recess, and only the most mediocre toilets would have that, AND the flange is a plastic one with a very thick flange.

The Toto Drake is a mediocre toilet???? The flange is an ordinary Nibco or Mueller ABS flange. The seal is a Fernco wax free. All stuff one could expect to work together nicely, but doesn't.

Rich B
05-09-2009, 04:17 PM
quote; I have a copy of Code Check Complete which is a summary of four primary building codes. In there the authors have an illustration specifically showing the flange top level with the finished floor as being the correct installation and a big NO circle over the illustrations showing the flange on top of the finished floor and below the finished floor.

I always install it on top of the floor. If you have a toilet with a deep recess and the flange is flush with the floor, a conventional wax ring will not have any compression. The only way a flange on top of the floor COULD cause a wiggling problem would be if the toilet has a very shallow recess, and only the most mediocre toilets would have that, AND the flange is a plastic one with a very thick flange. Normally, the ONLY way to be sure the toilet is sealing properly is to have the flange on top of the floor.

So HJ, this means you are installing toilet flanges against code guidelines ? I have read countless posts by you and other regular pros and everyone always says you must follow the code used in your area......I have that exact same Code Check publication mentioned above and it does say that toilet flanges must be flush with the finished floor.....Does the Code in your area say you can install a toilet flange above the finished floor?

hj
05-10-2009, 08:47 AM
That "code check" book was written by someone using his opinions, it is NOT a plumbing code. There are "milllions" of flanges installed ON TOP of the flooring. The only ones even with the flooring are those in remodels or when the flange was preinstalled. It is NOT against code to put it on top of the floor, although it might go against the writer of the code check book, but I have never consulted him and do not know what his qualifications, if any, are.

kordts
05-10-2009, 12:28 PM
I just made some nice money because the installing mope plumber installed the flanges level with the finished floor. One leaked, causing the subfloor to get wet and mushy. I ended up using spacers to get the flanges where they belong, on top of the finished floor. I have never seen a flange on top of the finished floor leak yet, or cause the toilet not to set flush.

shacko
05-10-2009, 12:57 PM
I do not use wax, I use the Zurn Neo seal or plumbers putty.

If I remember putty was banned on toilets over forty years ago!! :(

Rich B
05-10-2009, 01:53 PM
That "code check" book was written by someone using his opinions, it is NOT a plumbing code. There are "milllions" of flanges installed ON TOP of the flooring. The only ones even with the flooring are those in remodels or when the flange was preinstalled. It is NOT against code to put it on top of the floor, although it might go against the writer of the code check book, but I have never consulted him and do not know what his qualifications, if any, are.

You better buy one and read it hj...the writer quotes codes from both IPC and UPC. I was just really trying to point out yet again an ambiguios item in plumbing. Some say flush with the finished floor, some say on top of the finished floor......I say do what works and doesn't leak.....if you say on top of the finished floor.....I am going with your advice because I can tell from reading your posts you do know what your doing and could fix just about anything that came along....cheers...I'm on my 2nd beer after a day of hard work that incuded some pvc pipe work for venting......

Jetta Whirlpool Baths
05-11-2009, 07:33 AM
Funny this thread should pop up. I have upgraded two of my toilets in my home. The 1st floor install went as normal. The wax flange with funnel locked the toilet in place where it would not budge. The upstairs install, (with the flange flush with the tile floor) went down fine however did not compress the wax nearly as well and the toilet could easily slide back and forth. Flash forward a month or two now, and I am have residual water coming out the side of the toilet. What I can only assume, is that the wax did not pinch down and over time the force of the water being funneled by the ring made it fall off the toilet and that superior Toto flush has so much water go thru it, it causes the excess water to go around the wax thru the 1/8th gap or whatever it is and end up next to the toilet. :(

I am off to HD to see if there are any thicker wax rings, or just to grab one without the funnel to stack with the one i have.

Noth Jersey
05-11-2009, 09:06 PM
Has anyone ever used this thing?:

http://www.set-rite.com/video.html?v=5XeTjnH7OUc

Redwood
05-12-2009, 07:35 AM
The Toto Drake is a mediocre toilet???? The flange is an ordinary Nibco or Mueller ABS flange. The seal is a Fernco wax free. All stuff one could expect to work together nicely, but doesn't.

No!
The Drake has a larger outlet so poorly designed flanges will not allow it to seat properly...

I use PVC/ABS flanges with a stainless steel ring and set them on top of the finished floor. I do not use all plastic flanges!

ckl111
05-14-2009, 06:56 PM
I have never had any problems with the flange being installed on top of the floor but to double check, I dry fit the toilet without a gasket. This way, you can check if the toilet is rocking because the flange is hitting the toilet horn.

If it is, the toilet flange HAS to be lowered because the addition of any gasket will make it worse and forcing the toilet down will essentially squeeze all the wax out.

I find a bad tile job a much more common problem for toilets rocking than a flange installed on top of the tile. If you keep tightening the bolts trying to eliminate the rocking without using shims, you will either destroy the flange or crack the toilet.

Another problem I have come across in the past is the plastic funnel that comes with some wax rings. If it doesn't sit properly into the flange or around the toilet horn, it can actually prop the toilet up causing it to rock.

keyonman
08-08-2009, 04:05 PM
I am new DIY here so please go easy. I just redid my second floor bathroom and installed tiles on the floor. I did install 1/4 inch hardibacker cement board over the original wood subfloor and then proceeded to install the tiles (1/4 inch thick) over it. My question now is this: When I removed the toilet, the flange is sitting above the original wood floor. It is still in good condition but now with the hardibacker, the tile and thin set , it now is below the finished tile by about 3/4 inches. What ar my options here before I install a new toilet? If I have to raise the flange, that means I have to cut it because it was glued to the pipe. I might have to call a plumber here as I am worried that I might mess this up. Your suggestions are appreciated. Thanks

Gary Swart
08-08-2009, 05:29 PM
A plumber has the tools that will cut the old flange out without messing up the floor. Then he can install a new flange properly. I would urge you not to try this yourself. You might find the cutter, but you might screw the whole thing up and have to call the plumber anyway. If you only a 1/4" or so, extension rings would probably work OK, but I think 3/4" is way too mucho. Also, don't use a wax ring with the plastic funnel. That's a gimmick that causes more problems than it could possible solve.

jadnashua
08-08-2009, 06:38 PM
If there ever is a next time, the toilet flange lip is supposed to sit on top of the finished floor. Now that your new floor is in, that may be impossible without a lot of extra work. To raise it, it may be easy enough to do yourself if you have access from below. If cut from above, you have to have enough depth to either install a coupler, or a tool to bore out the old pipe from the fitting below (a RamBit is one brand). Depends on your exact configuration. Whether you feel up to it or not, only you know for sure.

Now, a waxless seal, Fernco and Fluidmaster both make some that might work for you...not the best, but should work.

If you ever had a leak, having it that low, it could leak into the floor for a long time before you knew it. On top of the floor, you'd likely notice the dampness. Now, a toilet shouldn't leak! But, then again, people buy insurance all the time just in case.

TedL
08-09-2009, 08:04 AM
I am new DIY here so please go easy. I just redid my second floor bathroom and installed tiles on the floor. I did install 1/4 inch hardibacker cement board over the original wood subfloor and then proceeded to install the tiles (1/4 inch thick) over it. My question now is this: When I removed the toilet, the flange is sitting above the original wood floor. It is still in good condition but now with the hardibacker, the tile and thin set , it now is below the finished tile by about 3/4 inches. What ar my options here before I install a new toilet? If I have to raise the flange, that means I have to cut it because it was glued to the pipe. I might have to call a plumber here as I am worried that I might mess this up. Your suggestions are appreciated. Thanks

Get two 1/2 inch flange extenders. Caulk between original flange and extender #1, and between the two extenders.. That should leave you 1/4" above the finished floor, just right.
http://oatey.com/Plumber/Shared/ProductGroupDetail/107/Closet+Flange+Spacer.html

keyonman
08-09-2009, 09:22 AM
Thanks for all your replies. I will check the Closet Flange Spacer and the waxless seal. If there are anymore suggestions, please keep them coming. I will not install the toilet for another week as I am still finishing the rest of the bathroom.

Before I installed the tiles, I did try to see if I could remove the old flange. I found out that it was glued to the pipe. I knew then that I would have to call a plumber then or after I installed the tiles. If I had called the plumber before I installed the tiles, would he have done anything different than if I had called him now with the tiles installed. Of course I am assuming that he will cut the pipe and extend the flange to the finished floor.

BTW, are all original flange installations always flued to the pipe? I was just wondering because when a "professional tiler" installed tiles ( after removing the old linoleum) on my first floor bathroom I am pretty sure that it raised the finished floor. I am almost sure he did not replace the original flange when he installed the new toilet. I am just wondering now if there is a leak below the ff that I might not be noticing here.

Thanks again.

TedL
08-09-2009, 12:50 PM
BTW, are all original flange installations always flued to the pipe?
Plastic? Yes, unless the original installer forgot to do so.


I was just wondering because when a "professional tiler" installed tiles ( after removing the old linoleum) on my first floor bathroom I am pretty sure that it raised the finished floor. I am almost sure he did not replace the original flange when he installed the new toilet. I am just wondering now if there is a leak below the ff that I might not be noticing here.Thanks again.
There are flange extenders. There are extra thick or doubled wax rings that will fill a big gap. Both approaches leave orig. flange in place. Reliability of seal varies.

keyonman
08-13-2009, 07:56 AM
I was at Home Depot to check the closet flange spacer mentioned above and also the waxless seal recommended above. I did come across a Fluidmaster Wax Extender Kit. Basically, it is an extra thick reinforced wax bowl gasket. It did say that it is recommended if floor flange is too low ( 1/4" to 1" below finished floor surface). Since mine is about 3/4" below ff, do you guys think this will work better than the spacer or the waxless seal? Thanks again for any additional info here.

justbrad
08-14-2009, 08:30 PM
Before reading this thread I planned to glue down a new pvc flange to fit on top of the tile we just laid. It is about 1/2" thick. Will that be enough clearance for a new toilet (we don't have it yet, but are looking at a Toto Vespin, if it matters), or should I chip away some of the tile and set the flange closer to floor level? :confused:

jadnashua
08-15-2009, 01:08 PM
If you use a flange (could be pvc) with a SS ring on it, that would certainly fit any toilet and be stronger. An all pvc one should allow the toilet to fit, but having pvc slots to anchor the toilet isn't all that great of an idea...swap the flange for one with a SS ring (not the blue, painted steel more easily found) and be sure it will both work and not break. PVC gets brittle when it gets older, so the metal is better.

cpmarks
01-31-2010, 07:09 PM
If the top of the flange is level with the finished floor will a standard size wax ring be good enough or should a thicker one be used? Is it possible that the thicker one will have too much wax and cause problems or can you not really have too much wax.

jadnashua
01-31-2010, 08:52 PM
Depends on the toilet. Measure how deep the well is on the toilet, then compare it to the thickness of the wax ring. If it will compress at least say 1/4" or so, then it should make a decent seal. If you have too much wax, it can clog things up, but the horn of the toilet normally prevents that if you get it aligned well.

Hammerlane
04-25-2012, 06:36 AM
This topic will never be settled.
Neverending question:
bottom of the flange should have been in full contact with the finished floor
or the top of the flange should be on same plane as finished floor like diagram 2 below??