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Thread: Torquing the flange bolts

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member interalian's Avatar
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    Default Torquing the flange bolts

    I did a quick search but came up empty, so:

    How tight is right for the two bolts holding the toilet to the flange? The fear of cracking the bottom of the porcelain is pretty high, especially when re-seating with a new wax ring or two. An approximate torque figure?

    I recall a GM car service manual that stated the correct torque for a fastener was: "fully driven, not stripped". Hardly an exact figure...

    PS: I'm a hack mechanic, hack plumber, hack electrician and hack carpenter so I like to try my hand at anything - I just don't want to break the bog.

  2. #2
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    There is really no fixed number because each toilet manufacturer has a different set up for their quality standards.

    Assuming your flange is screwed down to the floor and does not move. Tighten the wc bolts evenly on both sides until the bowl stops moving from side to side and stops rocking. That would be tight enough

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    WEll, it's better to seat the toilet by pressing it down evenly until it sits flat on the floor THEN snug up the nuts rather than trying to compress the wax while tightening the bolts. Since the porcelain doesn't compress, you don't want much torque on them and it's easier to do that when you're not trying to compress the wax ring.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member interalian's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    The flange is firmly attached to the subfloor (3/4" plywood with 1/2" overlay for tiling, relief cut around the flange). I originally used a thick wax seal with the dreaded plastic collar (won't again) and seated the bog fully before tightening - seemed to be about 3/4" of compression on the wax ring at the time. I think the toilet has somehow been twisted in place, causing a leak.

    Any comments about applying sealer between the floor and toilet? It would prevent rocking/twisting. Obviously it would be a bad idea to fully seal it to the floor though, so I was thinking of just running a bead ~300 degrees around the perimiter.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The plastic horns in wax rings probably cause more problems than they solve. If you've installed the toilet properly, they aren't needed, but can mask a problem. You only need an extra thick ring if the flange isn't where it is supposed to be, but then may be required.

    Yes, it's not a bad idea to seal around the toilet (leave the back open) to help anchor it a little and to make it more sanitary; preventing 'misses' from seeping underneath, or dirty water from mopping the floor that can't be wiped up under there. Some have mentioned using Polyseamseal, since it is fairly easy to remove, if you need to as opposed to silicon based stuff.
    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 Senior Member Fubar411's Avatar
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    Not to railroad, but is it okay if the flange is 1/2" to 1" below the tile grade?

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    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fubar411 View Post
    Not to railroad, but is it okay if the flange is 1/2" to 1" below the tile grade?
    No, at bare minimum it should be flush with the floor

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A proper install is on TOP of the FINISHED floor. That is what the wax rings and toilets are designed for. Trying to establish and maintain a good reliable seal with a flange that far underneath the proper location is a problem waiting to happen.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member interalian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    A proper install is on TOP of the FINISHED floor. That is what the wax rings and toilets are designed for. Trying to establish and maintain a good reliable seal with a flange that far underneath the proper location is a problem waiting to happen.

    That could be part of the problem. This is a bathroom reno done 2 years ago which had vinyl floor originally. Ripped out the K3 subfloor and replaced with plywood then tiled. Likely the top surface of the flange is 3/8 to 1/2" below finished tiles now.

    However, I don't recall if I used a flange spacer to bring the flange height up but may well have - nagging feeling that could also be the problem.

    Digging into it tonight. Oh joy...

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Fubar411's Avatar
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    But the toilet rests on the tiled floor, correct?

    I have used the extenders before, but always trying to keep it close to flush, no pun intended.

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    All modern toilets are designed to have the flange sit around 1/4" or so above the finished floor. It's nice if it ever does leak to leak ON the floor, rather than IN the floor. Adding extra wax can make a seal, but it's not as robust as a thinner layer.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member interalian's Avatar
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    Problem solved - thanks for the advice.

    I must have left the mounting bolts a bit loose originally or the toilet got moved by some 2-ton Tessie. All's well now and I sealed around the front 3/4 for extra security against future movement. Should it ever fail again, I'll re-do the flange so it sits above finished floor level. Since it's exposed in the basement there'll be easy access.

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