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Thread: Bathroom Drain Pipe Woe

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member witch_wyzwurd's Avatar
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    Default Bathroom Drain Pipe Woe

    I removed the toilet in the home I just purchased, because I'm tiling the floor. This is my first time ever replacing a flange and such.

    Here's my woe:

    The drain pipe is cast iron, and 3 7/8 inch inside diameter. The metal flange that is partly still on it is glued to the outside of the pipe, and I tried prying it off by lifting the flange from underneath the part that rests on the floor, but the ring just busted apart, leaving an inch wide ring of metal hugging the pipe. There are no screw holes in the flange for mounting.

    I've tiled up to the flange part still glued to the pipe, but my ceramic tile surface is higher than the half-flange.

    My first question: Would a wax-free toilet seal be my best option in this instance? And since my drain pipe is 3 7/8 inch inside diameter, would I use a 4x3 combination? I tried 4-inch, but ribs on seal are too wide to fit into pipe.
    I tried a 4/3, and the seal goes in pipe, and pushes in semi-tightly about 1/2-inch from the top of the seal. Is that enough of a hug?

    Or...

    My second question: Because I can't get remaining part of old flange off of the pipe, should I just try to drill holes through it myself and rest a new flange on top of it... this, I figured would also get the flange above the tile's surface. Are flanges made for 3 7/8-inch drain pipe?

    The home was built in 1951, and I'm guessing this is all original piping.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Your best course of action is to call a plumber to properly remove the old flange and install a new on that rests on top of the finished floor. Flanges should not be recessed below the floor. Other things will result in a hack job and likely not be satisfactory either in the beginning or in the future.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member witch_wyzwurd's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response, but I came to a forum to learn how I could do it myself. If I wanted to call a plumber I would've just done so.

    So with that said:

    How do I remove the flange that is glued to the pipe? By heating it?
    Are there flanges for drain pipes that have 3 7/8th inch inside diameter?

    Any answers to the original questions plus the two above are greatly appreciated.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You come to the forum to learn how to do it yourself, AND when not to try to do it yourself. The flange is NOT glued to the cast iron pipe, and it should be removed before installing a new one. YOU do not have the experience or equipment to do either task. AND if you break something in the process you WILL be retiling the floor, but a sensible DIYer would have corrected the flange BEFORE tiling the floor.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member witch_wyzwurd's Avatar
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    The flange is NOT glued to the cast iron pipe
    Ok. So if you tell me that the flange is not glued to the cast iron pipe, how about telling me how it is affixed to the pipe. It's definitely not affixed to the floor. There are no holes on it's surface, and there are no screws in it.

    YOU do not have the experience or equipment to do either task
    I just remodeled my whole house. I redid the floors, the trim work, some electrical, all decorating, painting, I even repiped some underneath the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and toilet. And I had no experience in any of it. But I did it, because I realize in life that anything is easy enough to do as long as you understand what needs to be done and you're willing to do it right. And as far as equipment goes, just like all the equipment I had to buy in order to do all the remodeling so far, I'm sure if I don't have the tools needed right now, any handyman store will. Unless you're suggesting they'll deny my money at the register?

    AND if you break something in the process you WILL be retiling the floor
    Break something? It's a cast iron pipe and a metal flange. What's there to break?

    but a sensible DIYer would have corrected the flange BEFORE tiling the floor.
    Oh, wow! Genius advice. Thanks alot. Lol. I obviously didn't retile around the drain pipe! I have ceramic tile set to go down in that area, yes, but, obviously, I didn't mortar there yet!


    Are there any sensible users here that can lend a helping hand? Thank you.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    The flange is attached with molten lead and oakum. Go to the Handyman store and tell them you want tools to heat a poured lead joint so you can remove it. On the way home, stop at your home insurance company and make sure the fire insurance is paid up. "A man's got to know his limitations." Dirty Harry.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    There are many things that a homeowner can do with little difficulty. This ain't one of them. In fact, it can turn into a project for a seasoned professional depending on the condition of the cast iron. The closet flange is leaded into the closet bend below it. Special tools are needed to remove the lead and finally the flange. Melting it out does not work because you can't get the fittings hot enough without risking cracking them and or burning the house down. Even if you do manage to drill and chip the old lead and oakum out then you are sitting there with an open hub that will need a new flange leaded into it. Again, special tools and skills. Do yourself a favor and leave this to a pro with the tools.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member witch_wyzwurd's Avatar
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    Tools required:

    1 Power drill (mine's a $20 key-chuck from store)
    1 cheap screwdriver ($1)
    1 drill bit (unless you break a couple like me; but that's because I bent it too far a few times... about $1; mine came in a set of bits that cost me like $15)
    1 prybar (like $7)
    1 hour or less of time

    So. In other words. All I had to do was drill some holes through the led. Stick my cheap screwdriver in the holes and pry up the led. Then after the led was removed, all I had to do was use my screwdriver like a chisel and clear away the oakum. Then pry out the flange with a prybar. Took me less than an hour. Saved a whole lots of money.

    I hope you learned something from the unexperienced, tool-less fool. :}

    No special insurance required!

    But, I'll give it to ya "hj"; I did break something. Two things actually. Two drill bits. Oh no! But I didn't break the bank!

    Thanks for your replies.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    OK, now how you gonna put her back together? Got a set of caulking irons handy? Know the difference between an inside and an outside iron? How much oakum goes in there and how tight does it get packed? How much lead on top and are there any special requirements for a good pour? How about a lead pot? For that matter do you have any idea what type of lead to use? What about the Oakum? Home depot don't sell it. so here's what you are going to do. Stuff a plastic flange in there and use three tubes of silicone, yes? Not code but hey, look at all the money you saved. You will be glad to know that I have saved your posts in order that I might better support a debate that we licensed professionals have been having for quite some time so thanks for that.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member witch_wyzwurd's Avatar
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    A-ha! I am studying this aspect. Since I am new to this, I am slowly moving a step at a time towards a finished product. 3 tubes of caulk... no, of course not. I will guarantee you that I will find the way, if there's only one, to finish with a secure method for doing this. And not a slop job. And, you're right, led and oakum will most likely not be the solution... I'll agree to that... or maybe it will. Just depends how I get pushed to solve this. You'll have to admit though, that I'm graduating into higher levels of toilet drain pipe and flange knowledge rather quickly... no? So, yes, I will post back here with my solution... and... if you're lucky... a photo of what I concoct.

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    3 tubes of caulk made my tire stop going down on my truck.


    I'm on top of my game james!
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You should be able to find a Fernco adapter that will make the transition from the cast iron. They do make some flanges that will fit into the CI hub, but I do not know if they would be long enough. There are also doughnut fittings that will adapt from the CI to PVC pipe. This method uses a short piece of PVC into the doughnut then a regular flange over the pipe which would be cut to a length that would allow the flanges to set on top of the finished floor. I would suggest shopping at "real" plumbing shop as opposed to a Big Box store as they would more likely to have what you need and be able to offer specific advice on just how to use the products.

  13. #13
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    I wonder what city and state Witch_wyzurd lives in?

  14. #14
    TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP MACPLUMB 777's Avatar
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    Exclamation Bathroom drain problem !

    GET ONE OF THESE IT WILL BOLT DOWN AS A REPLACEMENT FLANGE

    http://www.instantset.com/closetrings.jpg

    MACPLUMB 777

    E-MAIL
    JERRYMAC@TROJANWORLDWIDE.COM


    35 YEAR MASTER PLUMBER, HEATING, ELECTRIC, DRAINS, FIRE SPRINKLERS, WATER HEATER
    AND BOILERS SINCE JAN, 1989

    281-706-1631 7 DYS A WEEK SALES AND TECH. SUPPORT
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  15. #15
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Isn't the normal thing to do simply install a spacer on top of the old flange if the floor is too high?

    Like a 1 minute fix not including going to the store
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

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