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Thread: Toilet drain problem ?

  1. #1

    Default Toilet drain problem ?

    I would very much appreciate anyone's advice on whether and how to correct a problem.

    I was nearing the end of my bathroom remodel, but my pace was slow and my better half demanded that I call in a contractor to finish off the tile flooring more quickly. The floor is 5/8 plywood with another 3/4 ACX that I added to give it real nice stiffness. I asked the contractor to put down modified thinset, ditra, then unmodified, then 13" porcelain.

    All went mostly well, but there might be trouble around the toilet drain. When setting the tile, the contractor cut a round hole to fit around the toilet drain pipe. The hole is a bit large in my opinion, but more critically, that tile and its hole is a offset to one side of the drain pipe. The result is that about 1/3 of the hole edge is over 1 " away from the drain pipe and outside the bolt points for the flange. The tile hole is also located underneath a good part of the closet flange bolt flange and the extra subfloor that I added is visible through the slot under the flange

    I have several worries: That the closet flange has less support around one third of its perimeter, there is a clear leak path through the closet flange slots to subfloor if the wax seal shifts or breaks dwn over time, and it will be a much messier process to dig out the wax ring in the future.

    Should I ask the contracter to cut out this tile (or half of it) and replace it with one that is cut closer to the drain pipe. If so, what precautions should they take to avoid piercing the ditra. To make life easier for everyone, would it might make sense to cut the tile with a grinder, chip it or half of it away, and then lightly grind down the thinset for the replacement and new thinset.

    Thanks for any advice on this matter.

    JohnC

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Is the flange at finished floor height or did the tile guy just go around it? The flange should be sitting on the finished floor.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default flange

    The floor is not "supporting" the flange, and if there is ever a leak it will not matter how the tile is cut around the pipe.

  4. #4
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default flange

    I don't think your tile contractor did a professional job. Not being able to eyeball your conditions, he may even did you a diservice.

    He should have had you get your plumber to take the old flange off and then tile nice and evenly up to the pipe using a new flange that the plumber left there for a tile gauge, then come back and install a new flange on top of the NEW TILE FLOOR.

    I'll say this too, most tile contractors around here will work the same way. They leave you or your plumber to deal with the floor after the fact.

  5. #5
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    If the drain pipe was there when the tile was set, the tile contractor definitely screwed up and should make things right. You imply that the hole was cut in one tile; maybe he didn't orient the tile correctly when he set it, but if it's a matter of replacing one tile only, he should be happy to to do it just to maintain his reputation and get a good referral in the future. Breaking out the tile over Ditra requires some care. This might be a good question to pose in the John Bridge Tile Forum (http://www.johnbridge.com).

  6. #6

    Default Thanks

    I should have provided more info about the drain pipe.

    I previously cut the old closet flange of f and there is only an open 4" ABS drain pipe stub at the old floor level. I have a new closet flange that will insert within the existing abs stub so the flange will rest on top of the new tile floor.

    I had two choices for the new flange, and I would appreciate persons opionens on the matter. First was a souix chief 3x4 that glues/cements into the existing 4" abs stub. I like to keep my future options open however, so I instead purchased a flange insert that does not glue/cement into the stub. Its extension piece that goes into the drain pipe has a slightly conical shape with external threads and a fairly sturdy 1" wide rubber gasket on the threads. I was told a tight seal will be obtained by pushing the extension into the drain pipe so the gasket makes intial contact within the drain pipe, and then rotate the flange so the gasket moves along the threads into tighter contact. The plumbing supply distributor that I spoke with sells both types, and he said most pros like the second one. Between the gasket seal, height difference, and gravity they are confident that flushes will not backsplash up into the subflooring. I liked it because if I need to replace it into future I won't have to rip up flooring for access (I don't think there is a cemetable closet flange for adapting into a 4x3 closet flange adpater). I also liked it because it is single piece construction made entirely from abs and so the flange won't rot. If it ever breaks from mishandling a toilet, I can just insert another.

    I will say that the 4x3 Souix chief had a stainless flange ring, and the ring can be manipulated a bit to sit flush on slightly non-flat surfaces. Stainless is better than regular steel and coated steels that I have seen rot, but even 304 stainless will rot if you give it enough exposure time with the wrong corrosive agents.

    Do persons still think I should pull the tile ?? Or would this be an unreasonable request for the contractor.

  7. #7
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    As long as the tile goes under the toilet you will be ok, just grout right up to the drain pipe before you set the flange. Secure the flange to the floor after you set it.

  8. #8

    Default Mounting Closet Flange on top of porcelain tile

    Thanks again for the help.

    When they grout the floor, I'll ask them to trowel some extra around the drain pipe to support the top face of the closet flange.

    Could someone recommend a drill bit that can be purchased at stores for drilling screw holes through porcelain tile. At HD I saw some Black & Decker carbide bits for cutting glass and tile, but I wonder how effective carbide would be for porcelain. They also sold Bosch "blue granite" drill bits. The Bosch packaging mentions a diamond and carbide drill tip.

    I also wonder if my "standard" forward and reverse single speed power drill (not cordless) is the correct drill for the project.

    JohnC

  9. #9
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    See http://www.diamond-drill-bit-and-too...Drill/MAIN.htmA diamond drill bit might be a little too exotic for Lowe's or HD, but a full-service tile supplier might carry them. A variable-speed drill is preferable; recommended speeds can be found at sites like the one I cited.

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Porcelain can be VERY hard. You can drill a hole with a carbide bit, but you'll probably only get a few holes. Diamond should last a very long time. If the holes are on the floor, build a small dam with say plumber's putty and fill it with water to keep the bit cool. If vertical, use a spray bottle and keep the bit wet. The glass bits will work, but again, very slowly and won't make more than a few holes. You can get them in diamond as well. A good reference for tile related info is www.johnbridge.com
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default Fasteners for flange into slab?

    I relocated the toilet in a bath during a remodel. The repair around the toilet flange area ("work done by others", as they say) doesn't look as solid as I'd like, so I'm reluctant to use any kind of expansion anchor to receive the bolts holding the flange in place. Does anyone know of/recommend something I could epoxy in place to receive a 1/4-20 screw or another suitable flange fastener?

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default flange

    I am not sure which plumbing supply distributor you talked to, but most professionals would not use either one of those flanges, except as a last resort. A 4x3 glue inside flange has a small enough opening. By the time you reduce it further so there is room ouside for the rubber gasket the opening is getting much smaller than I like it to be.

  13. #13
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    the inside diameter on that type of flange is no smaller than a 4x3 flange. The flange will work fine but it would be prefferable to glue a standard 4x3 flange inside the 4" Pipe.

  14. #14

    Default Thanks Again

    Wow. The diamond drill bit website is one of the most thorough product websites I've seen. I ordered a core bit today. They promptly followed up and called as promised to make arrangements for 2 day freight. If it means anything, I mentioned the referral from this forum.

    Also thanks everyone for the closet flange advice. I couldn't agree more that the glued/cemented 4x3 is the best seal with the drain pipe, but I am very much worried about my options if the thing ever has to be replaced. I am not the handiest with tools and I tend to be slow with projects. If it ever needs replacement, then I think I will have to either (a) cut out the stucco ceiling in the living room below or (b) cut out the surrounding floor tile/ditra/thinset layers/plywood layers. The 4" drain pipe only has about 3" vertical run below the original floor level before it transitions into an elbow.

    Are there more convenient replacement options for a cemented closet flange in these circumstances.

  15. #15

    Default

    Are you sure you and the guy at the diamond bit place are on the same page? You said you ordered a core bit, a core bit is for drilling big plugs out of concrete, brick and block. for pipes to go through, and it takes a core drill, its not like a thing residential houses would really need, it's usually for commercial construction.
    And as for worrying about what if the wax leaks....well if the floor is level, even pretty level, its not going to leak. Measure and cut small pieces of half inch copper pipe for spacers under the flange on the side that the guy doesn't have tile and screw it down. Use like big 'ol brass screws you would use in a door hinge, flat heads.

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