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Thread: Closet Flange Issues

  1. #1

    Default Closet Flange Issues

    OK, I'm redoing the floor in one of my bathrooms and installing a new Toto Drake toilet. First problem: the toilet drain pipe is 13.5" from the wall instead of 12". Second problem: the problem was apparently addressed before using an offset flange that is oval in shape -- note that this is not very consistent with a round wax ring as the oval is bigger than the wax ring (it should come as no surprise, then, that there is water damage to the subfloor). Third problem, the flange is broken and the closet bolts attach through a very thin metal collar inserted underneath that is quite bendable. Here's a picture. You can see the oval shape and there are two protrusion/notches on the front that appear to be what was supporting the old wax ring so it didn't fall into the pipe, though in actuality it had partially fallen down into the pipe. The flange currently sits way above the floor as well (which actually would probably match up well with the new flooring once all is said and done). When I move in, there was linoleum down and they just put the toilet on anyway on top of a little plywood base they used to try to raise the toilet up high enough to match the flange. Again, it comes as no surprise that there is water damage to the floor underneath.



    The good/bad news is that I'm serious considering replacing this particular piece of floorboard anyway because it has been wet before and, as it turns out, this room is at the edge of the house and the builders left 30" between the last floor joist and the wall so it is pretty flexy, especially around the hole in the floor -- tile is planned for the floor so I'd rather shore up the floor now. I'm thinking about removing a section of plywood, inserting a bit more reinforcement between the joist and the exterior wall and putting a new piece of plywood down. I'm thinking of removing the old flange while the floor is up then, assuming I don't break the drain pipe, put the new flange in to match the height of the new floor.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    Thanks,

    Mike

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Tear up the subfloor, add some reinforments, cut the pvc drain pipe and reposition it to where it will give you the standard 12" install without the offset flange, then install the new flange on top of the finished floor.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    On a 12' rough you want 12.5" to 13" from the rough wall (the studs)
    The rough dimension is the measurement from flange center to finish wall...doesn't include drywall or tile.
    IF you put the flange too close the tank will lean forward and jeopardize the seal, as well as look awful.
    Too far and there's trouble down the road...anyone leaning back on the tank will slowly break the seal, the tank, or the tank bolts.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyPlumber
    On a 12' rough you want 12.5" to 13" from the rough wall (the studs)
    The rough dimension is the measurement from flange center to finish wall...doesn't include drywall or tile.
    IF you put the flange too close the tank will lean forward and jeopardize the seal, as well as look awful.
    Too far and there's trouble down the road...anyone leaning back on the tank will slowly break the seal, the tank, or the tank bolts.
    Thanks,

    The center of the drain pipe is 13.5" from the drywall. I don't plan to do anything further to that wall. The toilet, when lined up with the current closet bolt would be in a good position relative to the wall. Unfortunately with the toilet lined up with the closet bolts, The wax ring doesn't reach the front of this flange. I think it has to go . . .

    Mike

    Once I have the floor up I'll check to see what I may be able to do with the PVC.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    Tear up the subfloor, add some reinforments, cut the pvc drain pipe and reposition it to where it will give you the standard 12" install without the offset flange, then install the new flange on top of the finished floor.
    Hmmm, will see how much it would take to re-pipe the PVC (IOW, how much room I have to reach down into the floor to move things. The PVC is currently coming straight up from pretty far below. I was hoping to use a proper offset flange but I'll reconsider.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeO
    Hmmm, will see how much it would take to re-pipe the PVC (IOW, how much room I have to reach down into the floor to move things. The PVC is currently coming straight up from pretty far below. I was hoping to use a proper offset flange but I'll reconsider.

    Mike
    I have a nickname for those: "Toy restrictor"
    They're a common place for solid objects to get stuck...you often wind up having to pull up the toilet .
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyPlumber
    I have a nickname for those: "Toy restrictor"
    They're a common place for solid objects to get stuck...you often wind up having to pull up the toilet .
    Turns out I was wrong -- pulled up a section of subfloor and there isn't much room before it takes off in another direction. Furthermore, there is a junction piped in right at the end of the 90 that sends it up to this toilet. Tub and another toilet com in right there. Grrr. Without repiping a LOT of drains, I don't see how anything other than a better offset flange is going to work.

    Mike

    PS At least I didn't find a body in the wall. I keep thinking I'm gonna one day!

    PPS Thankfully there ain't no kids and the dogs only take stuff OUT of the toilet

  8. #8
    Commercial Plumber markts30's Avatar
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    You could hire a plumber to fix it if you wished (or have a go at doing it yourself...)
    I would cut the pipe at the hub of the fitting you can see in the photo then use a ram-bit to drill the rest of the pipe out of the hub.
    You could then glue a couple of street 16th bends into the reamed hub to offset the pipe towards the wall...
    Then stub up to where your closet flange will be even with your new finished floor and glue it on after you finish tiling....

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Worst thing you can do is to cut corner now. They will come back a bite you. The last fixture you want with a problem is your toilet. Other leaks can be a PITA too, but nothing is a bad as a toilet drain or a poor toilet installation. What you describe is approaching the outer limits of a DIY job at least in MHO. We DIYers need to know the limits of our abilities, especially when the job is going to be buried under a finished floor or wall. It would be my advise to call in a plumber to do this right the first time. I believe you'll be time and money ahead.

  10. #10
    In the Trades kordts's Avatar
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    markts30 hit it on the head. I use a "pipe shredder" bit to ream out pvc fittings, same principle as the rambit. You can save the fitting and rework. Yours is the ideal situation for it. They make 10-12 and 14 inch rough in toilets. So if a regular flange puts you out a little farther, go with a 14 inch rough in. I hate offset flanges. I have only installed one in my life, every other time I was able to rework the pipe to make a regular collar work.

  11. #11

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    Thanks everyone for your replies. I measured everything up, took stock of the surrounding supports, pipes and ventilation headers. I ordered some parts and we'll see what works best. First choice is the double 22-12 degree offset solution, provided there is enough room. I'm doubtful because there is really only about eight inches of vertical space to work with. If that doesn't work there is really no choice but to go with the offset flange. I realize that isn't the optimal solution but sometimes you gotta make lemonade.

    Mike

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