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Thread: Help Needed Replacing Old Toilet

  1. #1

    Default Help Needed Replacing Old Toilet

    My wife and I purchased a new (old) house last fall and are enjoying the challenges that come with owning an older home (ours was built in the 1940's). With that being said, I'm a a bit confused as to how I should proceed after removing my old toilet. It seems as if the old toilet was installed directly to the floor (bowl had four holes for bolts), though it did have one 'bolt' installed into the flange. I've never seen a flange like this (no grooves for bolts) and have never seen anything like the bolt/nail that was installed into the flange. It's shaped like a nail, is approximately 2 inches long, but has a bolt head on top of it. I've included a few pictures and would appreciate any help ya'll might be able to lend as would my family (who'd love to have more than one working toilet in the house).

    Spot where the toilet goes. The toilet was installed through the two holes in the floor, though I don't know how as they are not threaded.



    Closeup of the existing flange. Note the sharp pointy thing on the left (approx 3/4" high).



    The area underneath the bathroom. Fortunately it's very accessible.


  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Those notches at the sides of the flange are designed to slide a bolt into. You may have to dig out some crud underneath it in order to slide in the head.

    Nearly all modern toilets use those bolts exclusively to hold the toilet in place.

    Most toilets are designed for 12" from those notches to the finished wall (doesn't count the floor moulding if it exists). Many will work with something less than 12", but you need to check the manufacturer's instructions and drawings.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Those nails are called closet screws.

    That looks like the foot print of an American Standard toilet.

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    Plumber canton's Avatar
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    Default 4" cast iron closet flange

    I came across the same flange recently. I smashed out the existing flange and put a new 4" cast iron flange (4" deep) on top of the 4" pipe, packed it with oakum and poured it with lead. Took all of 30 minutes and was good as gold.

  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Scrape the inside of the pipe well. Install the new floor bolts and dry run the installation of the toilet without any wax to be sure it will fit against the back wall. It should but a dry run won't hurt and will save you a lot of aggravation should there be a problem. Shim it if it rocks.

    Then if you want caulk it to the floor with white or clear Phenoseal going from the far left corner, around the front to the far right corner, leaving the back open.

    Personally I don't do this unless I had to shim it and the shims are showing in the front or it is shimed a lot and there is a large gap showing.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default flange

    You have one of the good flanges, or at least one installed the correct way, because they put the two notches where the bolts go and not the slots that some flanges have. The "nails" are closet screws that have completely rusted away. The new toilet will not have the front holes so you don't have to worry about them.

  7. #7

    Default how to remove the flange from cast iron pipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by canton
    I came across the same flange recently. I smashed out the existing flange and put a new 4" cast iron flange (4" deep) on top of the 4" pipe, packed it with oakum and poured it with lead. Took all of 30 minutes and was good as gold.
    How did you remove the flange? I am afraid that if i try to smash it out, i might break the pipe...
    and is the new flange relatively easy to put in? would i be able to use just a reqular torch to pour it with the lead, or do i need the oxygen torch for that?
    Thank you very much.
    I would not even bother with new flange if i didn't have to fix/replace the subfloor...

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A flange will often break if you hit it, but you can drill out the lead and then pry it off.

    A plumber would have a lead pot which heats it up and then uses a ladel to pour it into the joint once a new flange is installed and prepared for the lead. This is probably the best way to replace it.

    As an alternative, there are flanges that use a rubber seal and a expanding screw clamp mechanism to attach a new flange to the interior of a pipe. There are also caulk type systems that can be used.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Crack the flange good with a hammer. don't hit the pipe and you wont break that. Once its cracked you can dig out the lead with a big screwdriver. Just have a go at it, it taint hard at all............

  10. #10
    DIY Member coz's Avatar
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    In that situation I bust off the old flange and use a twist n seal flange from Oatey (the type with the rubber) you will have too clean the crud out of the pipe good.Works like a charm. It appears you had an old 14 inch rough toilet

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default toilet

    How could it be a 14" toilet if the opening is only about 11" from the wall?

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