View Full Version : Leaking toilet and corroded flange repair

05-23-2012, 09:12 AM
Hi, I was doing some research and a lot of the results seemed to take me back here. I figured I'd ask directly. I have very little plumbing experience.

Last night I got home to a toilet that started leaking immediately after a bathroom break at 10:30pm. It was leaking from the bolt holes and upon further inspection, I found that both bolts had been completely rusted through and in two pieces. When I lifted the toilet I found that the wax ring had a smidgen of wax left on one side of it. When I looked at the flange, it appeared to be a cast iron flange that had completely corroded. Unfortunately, I'm relatively certain that it needs replacement. The flange also seems to be recessed as it sits on the concrete and not the tile.

I found some videos and sites that suggest a cold chisel to break off the flange and then replacing it with whatever new flange I may purchase. I'm not sure how to proceed. I had purchased a wax ring with a funnel (which seems to be the incorrect purchase or possibly half of the correct purchase based on what I've read thus far) and a bolt kit of an unknown metal. I was tired and frustrated, sue me.

I think I have to get a stainless steel flange, some stainless steel concrete bolts, a cold chisel, latex caulk, and a regular wax ring to fix this, but I'm not sure. What do you guys suggest and how would I get those corroded bolts out of there?

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I'll post more pics when I can tonight, probably around 7pm, maybe a bit earlier.

--- Update 1 ---

It is a bit gross. Taken immediately after lifting the toilet.
http://i.minus.com/kKpZdwP4f9bbm.jpg (http://minus.com/lKpZdwP4f9bbm)

--- Update 2 ---

A gallery of some close ups of the flange.

05-23-2012, 06:54 PM
Is the flange actually rusted away, or just looking nasty? CI can last a very long time, but that doesn't mean it will look nice (but it doesn't need to, either!).

If you clean it off and it's intact and the slots where the bolts go are okay, that you don't need to replace it. You need new toilet flange bolts (get brass ones) and maybe a jumbo wax ring. Terry uses one with a plastic horn and one 'normal' one stacked together with the one with the horn on top. You can also use a flange extender, if it can be cleaned up enough.

If it does need to be replaced, while you can do it if you have the tools and skill, this may be one where it's best to hire a plumber.

WHen resetting the toilet, it MUST sit level without rocking. That is likely what caused the leaks. Plus, you also likely have a partial backup in the sewer line, as otherwise, the waste would likely have just gone down.

05-23-2012, 09:07 PM
Thanks jadnashua.

It appears as though, once through the grim and rust, the flange is broken. It also looks like the tile is cut just close enough for me to possibly have to cut some more if I want to replace it. I initially thought there were two bolts that were corroded through, but I only pulled one out of the broken side that was being held in place by plaster or something. The flange also doesn't seem to have any screws securing it to the concrete, it looks to be plastered (or flimsy cemented) in place.

After talking with my uncle, I realized that I may have over reacted when I saw the initial mess but after cleaning it up a bit, I feel that I didn't and that this was a hatchet job. Is there any reason to install a flange or tile the way this has been done?

Also, I had duct taped the hole while I was at work and my girlfriend says that the toilet flushed just fine. Does the pipe need to be sealed for both toilets to flush properly? You might be right about the blockage, but how would I fix that?

I live in an apartment, would anyone happen to know the likelihood of that be part of the association's responsibilities? I think it is unlikely.

Given that the current CI flange doesn't appear to be screwed in, I'm thinking I can just purchase an extender and, after cleaning it out a bit, plop it on top and drill into the concrete to secure them together. Thoughts?

Gary Swart
05-23-2012, 09:56 PM
It appears that the tile was done in a remodel and rather that redo the flange, they cut the tile around the flange thus recessing the flange. Not an uncommon situation. The thing you need to understand about the flange and wax ring is the only time you will have a water leak is when the drain is clogged. Your toilet will flush fine even if the wax ring is compromised, but the other purpose of the wax ring is to block sewer gas from entering the house. The only proper way to deal with a clogged drain is to have a plumber auger the drain clear to the street. DIY hand snakes are not sufficient to do the job, and will often make the problem worst. Now as far as the broken flange is concerned, you can do a patch job and perhaps get by. The better alternative is to have a new flange installed. The current CI flange is not screwed in because it is leaded solidly to the closet bend. So, your choices are to try to DIY the job with patchwork for cheap, or have a professional plumber do the job right.

05-24-2012, 01:12 PM
First, unless you OWN that appartment building, you likely shouldn't be working on the plumbing! Also, in most places, on a multi-family dwelling, a homeowner isn't allowed to do the work, only a licensed plumber. Now that that is out of the way...you are at risk for much liability if any repair you do creates a problem not only for your unit, but any others.

There are flange repair rings that you could use to restore a place to hold the toilet bolt(s). The existing flange would need to be cleaned up and dry, then silicone or urethane caulk would be used to create a seal between the pipe/flange and the repair. You'd want to drill some holes to then hold the two together and go into the concrete.

By far, the better solution would be to install a new CI flange, and that generally requires a knowledgable plumber.

05-27-2012, 09:04 PM
Hey there...
Did you check out the video 'Complete Toilet Flange Extender Kit' by Set-Rite on YouTube yet? I have used this product before...sounds like it might work for your situation.