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husbus
09-02-2012, 09:36 PM
The other night I noticed a leak around the base of the toilet and decided to replace it with a Toto Drake, since it kept clogging too. After taking the old toilet off the drain, I'm surprised I didn't have bigger problems: The old flange is 1/2" under the the tile surface and the two stacked wax rings appear not to have even made contact with the toilet in some places. There was hardly any wax stuck to the toilet. Luckily, the floor does not seem to be damaged.

I figured I move ahead with either a Fernco waxless seal or a flange extension ring. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed a long crack next to the upper bolt in the picture below. You can see it as a thin, almost vertical line.

If the flange needs to be replaced, that's probably more DIY that I was bargaining for, so I may need to call a plumber. Is there a repair for this that can be considered a permanent solution, and in that case, do you have a suggestion for specific parts?

Thanks so much in advance! :)

17198

husbus
09-02-2012, 09:44 PM
Also, if I do need to call a plumber, what should the fix look like? I've read that the flange should really sit on top of the finished floor. Is there a way to accomplish that in this situation, or how should it be "built up" to an appropriate height? Thanks again.

Gary Swart
09-02-2012, 09:57 PM
As you suspect, it isn't a DIY job at least for most of us. A plumber has the cutter that will cut from the inside and get that broken flange out and a new flange installed at the proper height in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay in minimum service charge that will be be pretty hefty for no more work than is involved, but that's the way the world turns. This time, be sure the plumber uses a flange with a stainless steel ring, not PVC for the reason you can see in front of you. BTW, this flange was install incorrectly too, it should have be oriented so the flange bolts went in the slots with the rectangles on the ends. You might want to get some pieces of tile the same thickness as on the floor to put under the new flange. Not for beauty, for support. Was this flange screwed to the sub floor or just floating like it is in the photo? They are supposed to be screwed down. I use #12 Stainless Steel screws long enough to go through the sub floor. Plan ahead so the tile pieces can be spaced where the screws go. Saves drilling a hole through tile.

Terry
09-02-2012, 09:59 PM
The leak was more likely caused by the bowl moving and not being locked down to the floor. The flange should have been secured to the floor. They sell repair flanges that will go over the floor to hold the bolts securely. Those can be installed using a rotohammer if you have a concrete floor under there. Then you would use two wax rings, and caulk the bowl most of the way around, leaving out some of the caulking at the back, so you can tell if the seal has gone bad.

Or........you can drill out the existing flange, and you will still need to attach that one to the floor.

husbus
09-03-2012, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the replies, guys!

I'm not sure what gave you the impression that flange is "floating"... Maybe it's something about the light in the picture? Anyway, the flange is sitting directly on the sub floor and is screwed into it. Somebody covered the screws with wax. The bowl was sitting securely on the floor, as far as I could tell.

Regarding the repair alternative: There's very little room around the flange, so I don't think I can fit anything that'll screw to the floor outside of the flange. I was thinking a ring that you put on top of the flange and I'd just take the screws out from where they are and put in longer screws that go through both the repair ring and the flange in the same holes. Does that sound about right? This is an upstairs bathroom, so there's wood, not concrete below.

I don't really like the idea of using two wax rings, since that has already failed once, and apparently still doesn't provide sufficient height. I'd be more interest in trying a waxless solution (Fernco). What do you think?

Regarding not caulking at the back of the toilet: I like the idea of that, but with the flange recessed like this, and a gap all around it, it seems like any leakage would just go into the floor instead of into it, unless there's just so much water that it does both. That's one reason why I was asking what a professional repair should look like. Thanks for the idea with the tile pieces, although it'll probably be a bit tricky to prepare them without getting the flange off first. I'm afraid the plumber will just want to put a new flange on the same way it is, in which case it seems I didn't get much valueu for the money. :)

Thank you!!!

wjcandee
09-03-2012, 11:41 AM
Well, what Terry tells you is exactly what a professional repair would be, since he is a pro who takes enormous pride in doing things the right way.

jadnashua
09-03-2012, 02:48 PM
The Fernco will work, but you really do want to install a repair ring to re-enforce the existing flange. There are various types, but here's one available at HD:
17209

You'd need to seal between this and the existing flange...either clean it real well and use silicon caulk, or you could use wax, just make sure to get a good seal.

Terry
09-03-2012, 03:18 PM
I'm not sure what gave you the impression that flange is "floating"...

Could it be that the flange around the bolt has cracked?
At any rate..........using the same flange without reinforcement will only see more cracking. That's why I like to use a metal ring to hold the closet bolts.

I mentioned rocking of the bowl, because normally the only way you will be breaking the flange, is if the bowl is moving around and torquing on the bolts. That also creates a leak on the wax, if it's moving.

How do you explain the cracks?

Can the flange be replaced? Yes........with some effort.
You can use a spacer under the flange to lift it higher. I don't personally like using flanges that glue or silicone over the existing flange. I've had much better success with doubling the wax.
So my vote is for raising the flange and spacing it underneath, or double wax. "With a metal ring!"

husbus
09-03-2012, 06:43 PM
Well, what Terry tells you is exactly what a professional repair would be, since he is a pro who takes enormous pride in doing things the right way.

Indeed, that's how I would define "pro". :) I will try to find a plumber whom I trust. Haven't needed one since moving to this area.


The Fernco will work, but you really do want to install a repair ring to re-enforce the existing flange. There are various types, but here's one available at HD:

You'd need to seal between this and the existing flange...either clean it real well and use silicon caulk, or you could use wax, just make sure to get a good seal.

Thanks, that's the kind of ring I was thinking of! I may be wrong, but the way i was thinking of this is that the wax ring would fit inside the inner edge of that, not requiring this ring to be sealed, if using a wax seal. However, since I'd probably go with the Fernco if using this, is seems whether the flange is sealed should be irrelevant, since the actualy sealing takes place further down in the actual drain pipe.


Could it be that the flange around the bolt has cracked?
At any rate..........using the same flange without reinforcement will only see more cracking. That's why I like to use a metal ring to hold the closet bolts.

I mentioned rocking of the bowl, because normally the only way you will be breaking the flange, is if the bowl is moving around and torquing on the bolts. That also creates a leak on the wax, if it's moving.

How do you explain the cracks?


I see your point, thanks! I figured somebody had overtightened the bolt at some point, but they sure didn't seem very tight when it took the nuts off, so you're probably right.


Can the flange be replaced? Yes........with some effort.
You can use a spacer under the flange to lift it higher. I don't personally like using flanges that glue or silicone over the existing flange. I've had much better success with doubling the wax.
So my vote is for raising the flange and spacing it underneath, or double wax. "With a metal ring!"

Gotcha, thanks! Well, I don't trust myself to get the flange raising or double waxing right, so it's either metal repair ring + Fernco, or getting a plumber. I'll get an estimate and go from there.

Thank you all!

jadnashua
09-03-2012, 06:47 PM
The waxless seal does make its seal in the pipe. If you just used wax, though, it makes it on the surface, and if the repair ring isn't sealed, it can leak between the repair ring and the existing one.

Terry
09-03-2012, 08:54 PM
I've used the Fluidmaster waxless seal with success too.
With those, I reverse the instructions, pushing the funnel onto the bowl first, and then setting the bowl.