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Thread: Curious about toilet flange installation

  1. #1
    DIY Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    Default Curious about toilet flange installation

    I was replacing a toilet last week. Went to remove the old hold-down bolts from the flange. Could not get them out without cutting the tile as it was put in at an orientation so that the non-slotted holes were used. See picture. The flange had slotted holes but was installed in such a way so that the slots are useless for a toilet install. I was just looking for some commentary from the pros as to why a flange would be installed this way. House is 14 years old. Original toilet pulled. Fortunately I was able to reuse the existing bolts so no worries, just curious. Also, can anyone tell me why the opening at the bottom inside the flange where it attached to the drain appears to have a jagged, cut-out opening? Did someone modify an incorrect part when they installed it originally?
    Thanks -TSPORT
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If the flange was where it was designed to be, you could remove the bolts easily...it is designed to be installed on TOP of the FINISHED floor. Those slots are stronger than the long ones, so they are the preferred location, but the all-plastic flange is not a favorite. The rough edge is because that flange came with a knock-out plug so it could be installed and not leak sewer gases while the room was finished. It is designed to be broken out when ready to install the toilet at the end of room prep. You can take a rasp or some rough sandpaper and smooth them over if you wish, but normally, since the toilet's outlet is centered on the flange and is smaller, they have no effect.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You have a poor quality flange that is installed incorrectly. There are probably ways to hack this and make it work, but I would always be concerned about its reliability. The best thing for you to do is to hire a plumber to install a new flange and live happily ever after.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    You have a poor quality flange that is installed incorrectly. There are probably ways to hack this and make it work, but I would always be concerned about its reliability. The best thing for you to do is to hire a plumber to install a new flange and live happily ever after.
    The 'wrong' part of this install is that it was tiled and the flange wasn't moved to the top of the finished floor leaving it recessed and capturing those bolts. The small slots are stronger than the long slots, so this IS an acceptable way to install a flange. But, on changing the floor, the flange should have been changed as well.
    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 Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jadnashua;314138]The 'wrong' part of this install is that it was tiled and the flange wasn't moved to the top of the finished floor.........................

    I am 99.9% sure the white tile floor is original to the house. Probably just typical builder grade "production" work for new construction in a tract development. Quantity over quality. How hard would it have been for the installer to just place a spacer the height of the tile underneath? There are over a hundred houses in the neighborhood. I bet all the flanges are set about the same. (it's not perpendicular with the floor, either but I used a thicker wax ring to prevent an issue). Thanks for all the input. I learned a few things.
    - TSPORT

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That is the ONLY way I have installed flanges for over 60 years. It is also the only way to be sure that the flange does NOT crack because of pressure from the bolts, although with an all plastic flange it can still "warp". The only thing wrong with it is the fact that it was installed before the tile and was not placed at the proper elevation. Another possibility for an error is that you appear to have an "offset" collar, unless it is just the angle you took the picture.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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