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Thread: Toilet flange not level

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    DIY Junior Member prospectkid's Avatar
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    Default Toilet flange not level

    Hello and thank you in advance for your help,

    I started a remodel of a bathroom and just finished lifting up the old floor (1" of mortar + thin ceramic tile over 5/8th plywood). The wood around the back part of the bowl was wet (not yet rotten, but wet about 1/2 way through) so I removed it.

    I started doing the math on how much more subfloor and cement board I would need (replacing the 1" mortar) and put a level on the flange to measure. It was not level. To make it level, I needed to lift it by almost 1/2 inch. (Also, still not sure if the flange should sit on the finished tile or even to it. Did not pay attention to the way it was before the demo. Would appreciate any help on that as well.)

    It did take some strength (mainly on my fingers) to get it to level. I looked at the hole in the joist (lucky I removed the wet wood to have access) and the PVC pipe was not hitting the top of the hole.

    It looks like the much of the stress (after it was leveled) would be on where the flange is attached to the PCV pipe. Actually, I can only see the flange and the pipe running through one joist, so I am not sure what is going on furter down the line.

    My question is how strong is the bond between the flange and the PVC pipe after they are glued together? Would I be safer to leave it unlevel (maybe just lift it 1/4" and shim the high side) and let the wax ring make up the difference? Pulling it half way up was less stress.

    Appreciate any advice.

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    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prospectkid View Post
    My question is how strong is the bond between the flange and the PVC pipe after they are glued together? Would I be safer to leave it unlevel (maybe just lift it 1/4" and shim the high side) and let the wax ring make up the difference? Pulling it half way up was less stress.

    Appreciate any advice.
    It will not come apart.it will be a "solvent weld". You will find that the will be resiliant to most stresses. If you can pull the flange up with your hands, then the stress factor on the pipe and fittings should not be overwhelming.

    The flange should sit on the finished floor as a norm, but you can get away with the top surface of the flange with the top surface of your finished floor.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Please elaborate on the drain going through a joist...?

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    DIY Junior Member prospectkid's Avatar
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    Thank you for the reply. Really appreciate it. I was hoping that it would be like a metal weld as far as strength.

    Specific to the pipe running through the joists - The bathroom is on the second floor and I was referring to the floor joists that run 16" center. The waste pipe runs "through" the joist via a circular cutout. I think that you refer to these as joists. I am a weekend warrior, so please forgive me if my terminology is wrong.

    May I ask another question?:

    I need to make up 1” of sub floor (plywood and cement board) and tile. What do you recommend as far as the thickness of each and what height should you give the thin-set.

    I can do ¼” or ½” tile. Maybe greater than 1/4” tile – it is my kid’s bathroom and who knows that they will bring in – and drop.

    Again, really appreciate all your help.

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    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    I assume you already have an existing subfloor from the original build.
    I have used 3/8" plywood srewed down every 6" in the feild and 1/4 concrete board with a 3/8 tile in the past with no issues. Thickness of thin set will vary depending on the size of your floor tile . ie: 6x6, 8x8, 12x12 etc...

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    More plywood is best. If you want to minimize the buildup, you could use Ditra from www.schluter.com - it's only 1/8" thick or so. The cement board (cbu) does nothing much to strengthen your floor, but plywood does.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member prospectkid's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the reply.

    Again, forgive me if what is below does not make sense. My head is starting to hurt doing the math on the 1" I need to make up between the current subfloor (5/8 plywood) and the bottom of a level flange. Two scenerios:

    Option I (I will work in 16ths)

    Backer board 5/16 (Lowes has 1/2" as well)
    Tile 6/16 (or 3/8)
    Thinset 4/16 (or 1/4)
    -------
    15/16

    So I have a 1/16 gap beween the tile and the flange. I can put a plastic washers between. Any issues??


    Option II

    Plywood 1/4
    Ditra 1/8
    Tile 3/8
    Thinset 1/4

    Thanks again for any advice.

  8. #8
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    I don't really think 1/16 is going to make or break this project. Your wax gasket will set to the 1/16" difference with ease. Shimming it up 1/4" as you originally stated will work just fine.

    Of course getting it as close as possible to the finished surface is always best

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    First, 5/8" ply is the absolute minimum thickness allowed for tile, and it must be in perfect shape to have a good chance. Have you checked the joist structure for it's suitability for tile (the deflection)? Keep in mind that the size of the room has little to do with what's required...it is the structure underneath that makes it strong. A small room in the middle of long joists can bend a lot!

    It's really hard to find 1/4" plywood that is suitable as a layer in a tiled installation. It's available in some areas, but really hard to find. You absolutely don't want the luan stuff they often use under sheet goods.

    If you have access, you may just want to tear out the existing flange and install a new one after you finish the tiling.

    But, you could try Ditra XL, it's thicker. I'm not sure you'll end up with 1/4" of thinset. You might, but that's a fair amount. You get about 1/2 the depth of the notches, so to get 1/4", you'd have to be using 1/2" notched trowel...that's pretty deep for many installations.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member prospectkid's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help. This is how I ended up........

    5/8 original sub floor

    1/2 additional plywood (just finished putting it down)
    1/8 Ditra
    1/8 thinset (from the 1/4" put down)
    1/4 tile

    equals one inch.

    Now that the additional plywood is down, I can really stack up the last layers (I have some 1/4 tile left from a floor I put in my basement) and it looks absolutlely perfect. Just enough space for the thinset and the flange should sit right on top of the tile.

    You guys are all great, helpful and very giving. I appreciate it.

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