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Thread: Lower closet flange?

  1. #1

    Default Lower closet flange?

    I am in the process of remodeling a 1/2 bath in my house and am stuck with what to do with the flange. After pulling up the old tile floors the flange sits about 1 1/8" above the subfloor. The new floor is only going to be 3/8" thick. Based on some other posts I have read I am assuming I am gonna need to lower the flange. Before I start I want to be sure I get it right the first time.

    The waste pipe and flange are PVC and in good condition. I don't have access to the pipe from underneath (finished basement). From what I gather I need to cut the existing flange and stick a new one on. I have enough room to get a hacksaw under the flange to cut it off. Will that do the trick or is there a better process?

    I was ready to just hack it off today but figured I would check with the pro's first.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    Shaan

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    When you make a PVC connection, the cement acts like that you may have used as a kid making model airplanes...it melts the two pieces together. While it may be a weak point, it makes a mess when you try to get them apart since they are effectively welded together.

    Sometimes, you can saw through the vertical portion of the flange a few places and pry it off.

    An alternative is possibly to use a RamBit to bore out the old vertical riser (assuming they used a riser and it isn't an elbow), then you could install a new vertical piece of pipe and a new flange.

    A picture would help.

    Is there a vertical piece? Can you see the edge or the socket of the fitting below?

    A properly installed flange is sitting on top of the FINISHED floor, and anchored through it into the subfloor...then, you'll have easy choice and any toilet will fit.

    Depending on what you have, you may just decide to cut a hole in the basement ceiling. Unless it is textured, it isn't all that hard to patch seamlessly. Texture takes some skill to match.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    Thanks Jim.

    The existing flange looks like it was connected over top the waste pipe. I can see the end of the flange about 1 inch below the subfloor. It looks like the elbow is about 12-18 inches down the waste pipe. I wish I could post a pic but don't have a camera right now.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It sounds like you could use an inside pipe cutter, cut the pipe and flange off down a ways, then install a coupling, enough vertical pipe and then a new flange at the proper height.

    Hard to say for sure without seeing and measuring.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Off topic--what kind of floor are you installing that's so thin? Sure you don't need underlayment or CBU or something?

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

    An experienced plumber should be able to remove that flange, cut the pipe off, and install a new one in a very short time. I am not sure that a DIYer could do it without damaging the piping to the point where it would become a minor remodel job.

  7. #7

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    So I cut the flange with a hacksaw. (Would have preferred a powertool, but don't have one.) After scraping my knuckles, I was very pleased to find that the flange was, in fact, connected over top the straight pipe. The top of the straight pipe is level with the sub floor and wasn't cut at all.

    So , can I just secure a new flange that slides inside the straight pipe?


    The flooring is brazilian redwood. This is just a 1/2 bath off the foyer so I am not real worried a lot of water getting on the wood floor from a shower. I was concerned at first about putting the hardwood in the bathroom but I think it will be ok after some of the forums I read.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If the pipe ID is 3", you really should use a flange that goes on the outside. If it is 4", you can use one that mounts on the inside of the pipe. They do make an inside mount 3" flange, but it narrows the opening which isn't too good an idea. You may need to trim a little off the height of the pipe so a new flange will fit properly.

    PVC pipe joints are tapered, and thus are hard to dry fit (don't try, just measure!). When you add the cement, it melts the outer layer, and you can slide them together fairly easily. Note, because they are tapered, especially on a large fitting, you need to hold it for a bit or it can slowly push itself off. Once the solvents evaporate, it hardens and sticks, being welded in place. If you have the holes ready, you could just screw it down after gluing, and then not worry about it - they'll hold it for you.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9

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    Floor is installed and new flange is in place. The level and fit was almost too good. Tomorrow I am gonna install the new toilet. I am hoping everything goes well with that.

    Thanks Again for all the help!

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default flange

    You DID glue the flange on, I hope.

  11. #11

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    Yeah, I used the purple primer and pvc cement, then ran the 4 screws down thru the floor to the subfloor. Its been a little over a week now and no leaks.

    Thanks Again!

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