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Thread: Help with recessed flange.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member SugarHollow's Avatar
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    Default Help with recessed flange.

    I am replacing a toilet that is a piece of junk with a TOTO Drake. After I removed the toilet, I discovered the top of the flange is about 3/8 inch below surface of the tile floor. Furthermore, the edge of the tile cutout overhangs the some parts of the flange rim, so I do not have unfettered access to the flange. The original installation used a single wax ring with funnel, and to my knowledge it never leaked. What do you all recommend I do here? By the way, the top surface of the anchor screws in the flange appear rusted. Should I replace these? Is it normal for them to rust? This toilet was installed by the builder when this house was built in 1997.
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    UPDATE: Well, my new TOTO Drake (elongated bowl w/ Sanigloss) has been in for about three weeks, and so far, no problems. I'm shocked - my first toilet installation and I didn't screw it up - a miracle. This is a great toilet - I am so happy to be rid of that Mansfield 160 (hope I can name names here). I went with the single extra thick (No Seep 10) wax ring - haven't seen any water on the floor, so I guess I did OK. While the toilet base is near perfectly level, I could not get the tank to true level and get contact on all three points. I don't know how important that is, but the toilet is doing its job. Thanks for all who offered advice and guidance - it was much appreciated.
    Last edited by SugarHollow; 02-17-2010 at 10:03 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member jc60618's Avatar
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    Get a closet flange extesion kit from home depot. One extesion ring will probably get you flush with the tile. Go ahead ad replace the rusted screws with stainless steel or galvanized screws. Finally when your ready to set the toilet use a wax ring with out the funnel. The funnel will reduce the opening and created clogs.
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    Last edited by Terry; 01-26-2010 at 01:04 PM.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Or, put a regular wax down first, and then a wax with horn on top of that, and then drop the bowl down.

    Been doing that for 35 years.

    Installing a Drake


    Install kit for toilets
    Notice that the bag of bolts includes four nuts and four washers.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Or use a #10 wax ring which is probably thick enough by itself. I am not a fan of "extension rings" or spacers.

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    DIY Junior Member SugarHollow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jc60618 View Post

    Get a closet flange extesion kit from home depot. One extesion ring will probably get you flush with the tile. Go ahead ad replace the rusted screws with stainless steel or galvanized screws. Finally when your ready to set the toilet use a wax ring with out the funnel. The funnel will reduce the opening and created clogs.
    Thanks for your help. I considered a flange extension but I didn't think I could do it without somehow clearing the tile completely from the rim of the existing flange. If I'm right about that then I have to figure out how to remove the tile overhanging the flange.
    Last edited by Terry; 01-26-2010 at 01:04 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member SugarHollow's Avatar
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    Just so I'm clear, are you suggesting I put wax rings down on the flange then set the toilet down on the wax rings, or put the rings on the horn of the toilet then put the toilet on the flange? I'm guessing the latter so the ring with the funnel will be closest to the flange (bottom). In the kit you pictured in your reply, are the extra nuts and washers used to tighten the bolts to the flange before I put down the toilet? Also, do you recommend I replace the flange screws? Is there a gasket or some kind of seal below the flange? Thanks so much for giving your time to this website, this is a fantastic resource.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Plumbers always replace the bolts first.

    Then they put the wax on the flange, not on the bowl.
    I can't tell you how many times I've pulled a bowl that a handyman set, and the wax wax covering the hole.

    Drop the regular wax on the flange, then put the wax with the flange on top of that.
    Or you can do like hj mentions and use one #10 wax.

    I like to sell both rings, that way, depending on the home, you can use one wax or two.
    Either way, they will be able to do it.

    I have not had good luck with the white plastic extensions.
    I've had much better luck with an extra wax ring.
    Last edited by Terry; 01-26-2010 at 01:05 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    What is the deal with the 4 nuts and 4 washers?

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    4 nuts and 4 washers?
    This is how plumbers work.
    They do it right the first time.

    They don't sell them that way at home centers.
    It's all about pennies there.

    For plumbers, it's all about doing it once.

    The first washer and nut secures the bolt to the flange.
    And the second washer and nut secures the bowl to the floor.

    A plumbers time is worth more, so anything that speeds him up is like gold.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you use a spacer or extension, you need longer bolts, and definitely need the extra nuts and washers to secure the spacer to the flange, after you apply a sealant between them.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    4 nuts and 4 washers?
    This is how plumbers work.
    They do it right the first time.

    They don't sell them that way at home centers.
    It's all about pennies there.

    For plumbers, it's all about doing it once.

    The first washer and nut secures the bolt to the flange.
    And the second washer and nut secures the bowl to the floor.

    A plumbers time is worth more, so anything that speeds him up is like gold.
    Wow...

    What did I do to deserve a response like that?

    It's just an extra pair of washers and nuts, if you can't find those at a "home center", you're pretty lost to begin with aren't you?

  12. #12
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    What response?

    Have you ever been on a job site and asked a journeyman why he and generations of plumbers were doing something that way?
    That's the kind of answer you get.
    To the point, and with a reason, If you're lucky.

    At the home center, what size washer and what thread would a homeowner pick up?
    And on what Isle.
    Or would he buy two packs, and rob one?

    My customers get the "plumbers pack", with four nuts and washers.
    And real stainless braided, not the light weight stuff of unknown material.
    Last edited by Terry; 01-24-2010 at 10:12 AM.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member SugarHollow's Avatar
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    OK, Terry, I hope you don't mind me dragging out discussion of this simple job further, but I want to understand the rationale behind what I see and do. First, if you look at the picture of my flange and drain, you can see that the plumbers who installed it did some cutting around the lining of the cavity through which the waste passes- why is that? Shouldn't a flange and pipe cavity line up exactly w/o any need to cut material away? Would the cutting done there compromise the waterproof seal between the flange and the attached pipe? Do I need to apply some waterproofing to the cut edge? I removed one of the original flange screws and found that it was not just rusted at the top, but all the way down to near the tip of the threads. Is this normal after 16 years of operation, or does this reflect moisture leaking where it shouldn't? When I replace the flange screws, should I use the same size screw or go with longer or wider ones to insure they "grab" well (can you see I'm a complete novice?).

    I was hesitant about using two wax rings, but if you're OK with that, then so am I. But I want to understand why the rings are placed in the order you recommend. So the wax ring w/o funnel goes down on the flange first, then the ring with funnel on top of the first ring. At first I would have thought to use the reverse order, but now this seems to make sense because the funnel on the upper ring should tend to prevent the ring below it from expanding into the drain cavity when the toilet is set on top and the rings are compressed. I also wondered if it might be that you get a better seal/connection between the rings by matching the flat, bottom side of the funnel ring with the flat spacer ring. Anyway, I am curious to know the rationale for the ring order.

    Finally, I was going to replace my gray plastic inlet line with a white vinyl line made by AquaFlo. You emphasized the braided stainless steel above. I liked the white color but if the vinyl is not durable, I can live without it. What are your thoughts on the vinyl vs. the braided stainless steel?

    Many thanks! My Drake arrived today, time to get to work.
    Last edited by SugarHollow; 01-26-2010 at 01:03 PM.

  14. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Another possibility is to utilize a waxless seal. Two companies that I know of make them: Fluidmaster and Fernco. If the inside of the pipe is or can be made clean, they should work. I've used the Fluidmaster version (sold at HD and plumbing supply). I've not seen the Fernco version except at plumbing supply houses, but your results may differ. It costs more, but a side benefit is it is reusable so you could remove the toilet say to paint behind it without having to clean off and then replace with a new wax ring. Handy when remodeling when you need the toilet to work overnight.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I've used the Fluidmaster Waxless with the Drake and other toilets.
    If you use one, push it onto the horn of the bowl, and then install the bowl.

    If using two wax rings, then yes, the horn on top prevents the wax from squishing into the center.
    It's how I was taught to do it 36 years ago.
    Most plumbers don't like vinyl hoses.
    We've seen too many burst.
    They do look nice though.

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