View Full Version : toilet flange not level with floor. please advise!

07-09-2012, 08:41 PM

My wife and I just bought our first house and we were told by the inspector that there was a leak under the toilet (the previous owners had just replaced the wax seals). So we took the toilet off and found that there was only a closet flange screwed into the plywood with no seal between the 3" pipe and the ring:


The metal closet flange was bent, which could have been why it was leaking or because there is a gap between the ring and the pipe as you can see in the picture. Rather than just replacing the metal ring with another, I thought I would try to make something that would be a bit more safe, so I bought a 3" inside fit flange. I had to use a dremel to clean out a bit of old product that had dripped down the pipe that was preventing me from inserting the flange, but after smoothing it I was able to insert the flange. However, as you can see from the pictures below, the pipe coming from the floor is not perpendicular to the floor and also is raised off the floor slightly, causing the flange to not lay flush on the floor:


Does this slight slant matter, or will the wax seal take care of this? Should I use a reinforced wax seal or a standard one? Should I cut off 1/2 inch from the pipe so that the flange lays somewhat level with the floor (even if at a slight angle)?

Thank you for your time!

07-09-2012, 09:01 PM
It looks to me like the subfloor is in bad shape where the toilet had been leaking. The flange must be screwed down solidly to the subfloor. If the subfloor is solid enough to hold screws well, I would install a spacer under the flange to make up for the thickness of the missing tile (flange should be on top the tile) and see if it will screw down flat.

If it is 4" pipe, you are ok with the inside fitting flange. It it is 3" pipe, I would only use an outside fitting flange. The flange needs to be properly cemented into or onto the ABS closet elbow.

It's been said that most plumbers avoid the plastic flanges because they tend to break.
The better flanges have a stainless steel ring.

07-09-2012, 09:16 PM
Thank you for your reply! The flooring is linoleum, not tile. The subfloor looks wet in the picture but the wood is not rotten (i got to it before any real damage was done). It is now dried out and holds a screw well. The flange rests above the floor that much because the pipe pushes it up that much. I cannot force the flange down as the pipe itself is also at a slight angle (not perpendicular), so if I push down it makes one end of the flange higher than the other.

The pipe is a 3" inside diameter. I have both an inside fit and an outside fit flange (the outside fit one has a metal ring). Please forgive me if I don't know what I'm talking about; this is my first house and my first real plumbing project.

07-09-2012, 09:28 PM
If that is just a piece of 3" pipe sticking up and not a fitting, then you can cut off a little bit as needed so that the outside fit flange will go down tight to the subfloor when cemented.

Plastic pipe fittings will not bottom out in a hub/joint when dry fit with no cement. They will go on further when both surfaces are properly primed & cemented.

08-02-2012, 11:21 AM
Here was the repair on the flange.There was a hub 90 that the old closet flange had been glued into. Whoever had done the floor had removed the 5/8" underlayment. Basically, the flange was too high for the finished floor. I cut out the old insert flange from the 90, and installed a new spigot flange with stainless ring.

08-02-2012, 12:48 PM
Beautiful-looking repair! Very helpful for this DIY-er to see how a true professional would handle that situation!

Smart of the homeowner to give up the DIY urge and to call you instead.

What's the cable running next to the flange? Phone? Electric? If the former, at least they know where to look if things get static-y in the future. If the latter, my imagination runs wild: electric Throne instead of electric-chair?

(I noticed this when the thread first started: that flooring, at least in the photos, looks very realistic. Would have fooled me in the photo at least.)