View Full Version : How to get out of this situation.... toilet flange in conrete

06-25-2012, 06:23 PM
Had a rough day today thanks to a toilet flange that should have been soo easy, but not with my luck it turned into a nightmare and im wondering if anyone here has any advice on what to do next time as it ended up being my very angry boss turning our sawzall into a wrecking ball and going to work on this flange.

So here's the rundown. Working on a standard Finish- his new addition- our new basement workshop/ office.

I was working in the bathroom getting the finish ready in his basement office. Everything was roughed in perfect execpt the Toilet. When the Foundation guys came in to pour the slab apparently they removed our liner around the pipe to create a gap around the the toilet stub up and the concrete floor. Well they removed it for some reason. Causing our toilet stub to be entrenched in concrete giving us no room to attach a flange- no big deal it happens. Fast foward a couple months and the room is nearly finished the floors are layed down (PURGO Sp?) drywalled etc... So i decide to just get the toilet ready to be set. Because we cannot get a regular flange on the soil stub my boss grabbed one of those PVC flanges that fits within the 3" piping due to the fact the only other option was to rip up all the floor (as purgo doesn't just pop up) and chip out the pipe taking lots of valuable time.

Heres were it gets messy. I dry fitted the flange and it fit nicely in the 3" toilet drain but it would not rest completlely flush. so it took a look and saw that the flange outlet was resting on the longsweep bend preventing it from lying flush. SO it trimmed about 1 1/2 off the end of the toilet flange- keep in mind its outlet is 5+in long-. I then cut the 3" stub up flush to the floor grabbed my glue and primer and applied a pretty good amount to both pipes as i really didn't trust thi stype of service flange. So I go to jam this flange into the toilet stub and it Stops a 1/4 off the finished floor. The metal collar is literally 1/4in or more off the finished floor. I try to use all my strenght and bodyweight to shove that guy in there and nothing happens. I tried for about 15 seconds to force it it in and it won't budge. I then Seeing the potential trouble a floating flange could cause go to rip it out and it won't budge. and i PULLED hard and it didn't move a MM.

So Now im stuck with this flange hovering about 1/4 inch off the floor and being supported by the stubbed soil pipe. I run and Grab the toilet hoping that it wont't hit it, but of course it does. The toilet had a legitmate 1/4 gap underneath all sides. IT would never mount properly seat properly, it would rock and look so stupid.

I called in my boss who was allready frusterated from a long day and he grabbed his sawzall, a Plunge cutter and goes to WORK on that thing very very angrily. I didn't think it was really my fault but he sure seemed to so i just shut my mouth and helped him. He tried to cut out the hub of the service flange leaving the 3" stub unharmed-- but it didn't really work to say the least. Im almost positive that floor is gonna be ripped up concrete slab chipped out and hes gonna be furious with me. so much harm was down to that 3" drain i dont think it will ever hold a pipe again...

SOOO to make a long story short, DO any of you guys no a better way to go about that so if this ever happens again this isn't the end result. Could their have been a way to shim the toilet and hide the 1/4 gap running around the toilet bowl. I was thinking maybe pour a plaster cast around the toilet kinda like the oldschool plumbers did? Is their anyway to fix a problem like that without making it become a huge deal and an eyesore?

Also anyone have any clue what could had made that flange stick? i removed all the burrs eveything was clean?

thanks guys.

06-26-2012, 01:33 PM
The problem with the toilet stubout should have been noticed and taken care of right after the concrete was poured. Pipes (of any kind) should never be embedded
directly in concrete. "Inside fit" flanges are bogus, only hacks use them. Your boss is a hack and an idiot, I suggest you find someone else to work for because you
are likely to pick up some very bad habits working for him.

Gary Swart
06-26-2012, 01:42 PM
I would offer a slight correction to the previous post. An inside fitting flange is OK on a 4" drain. They should never be used on a 3" drain as they reduce the diameter of the drain too much. Otherwise I agree 100% with Kreemoweet. That concrete is still "green" and will chip out fairly easily so the proper connection can be made. A small rotary hammer drill will make short work of this.

06-26-2012, 02:39 PM
I agree with Gary. It was done wrong to start with. The line coming through the slab should have been 4". Then a 4" inside flange could have been used. Your boss is a hack. Any plumber that has done slab roughs knows that. That is the main reason why they make 4x3 closet bends.


06-26-2012, 02:45 PM
The line coming through the slab should have been 4". Then a 4" inside flange could have been used.

Stubbing up with 4" also gives you more adjustment if things get knocked around in the pour.

06-26-2012, 06:41 PM
Your boss would install an inside 3" flange on a clients project too I suppose?

07-08-2012, 05:11 PM
So the problem was i got tricked by the flange. I looked at it real quick with him and It never registered with me that even though i knew it was a Street flange i forgot to account for the bump out by the collar.... thats what got caught. I should have scarfed the floor out a 1/4... bet ill never make that mistake again.

my boss isn't a hack. IDK the degree of his skills as i am an apprentice learning the game but i haven't been to a job he couldn't fix or do. To be honest on The cape ive never seem anyone use a 4x3 closet bends

What is the benefit of having a 4in closet flange and a 4x3 closet bend?? I mean a toilets flush opening is really only 2"1/4 to 2"3/4 in diameter so what difference would it really make... I can understand that a 4inch riser would be much more forgiving meaning much more room to fix mistakes. But yes we stub up with 3" pipe for all our toilets.

can anyone enlighten on the benefit?


07-08-2012, 05:20 PM
If a 4x 3 closet bend was used you would have 4" coming through the slab. Then all you need to do is cut the pipe off flush with the slab and put your flange inside the pipe. With 3" you need a space around the pipe coming through the slab in order to put the flange over the pipe.


07-14-2012, 07:52 AM
BEFORE the tile was installed, I would have used a rotohammer and chisel to remove a ring around the stub so an outside flange would have worked. But as a practical matter, I have NEVER used 3" for a closet stub up in the first place.