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Thread: Removed 50 year old toilet and the flange situation is bad....

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Kaylw022's Avatar
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    Default Removed 50 year old toilet and the flange situation is bad....

    I just removed a 50 year old toilet and the flange situation was not what I expected. It looks like concrete or something around the flange. There is some material all over the bolts, but it does not look anything like pics of old wax rings. Some of the material is very hard, some very dry and chipped away, some looks like concrete. Is there anything I can do with this or is it time for a professional?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    hard to tell with the cloth over it, but, it is probably hardened plumber's putty. IF so, it will scrape, or chip, away from the flange and floor.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member Kaylw022's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip, it might be plumbers putty... I took the rag out to take another pic and more of it started to crumble, even the parts I thought were really solid. Another pick below. If it is just a lot of plumbers putty am I ok chipping it all off and trying to see what's under that? Why would they have ever used so much plumbers putty in the first place - anything I need to worry about when trying to install the new? Appreciate any additional insights.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    You gotta get all that old putty and crud off the flange and then you can better see what shape it is in. If it's broken there are a good many repair flanges that will work.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member Kaylw022's Avatar
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    Do you think they used all that putty instead of a wax ring?

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    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    It is indeed plumbers puddy, thats the way it was done before using wax.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The bolts appear to be in good shape, so the flange is probably also. They used that much putty because it was cheap, and that is the only way they knew how to do it. We didn't have wax rings in the 50s and 60s. Anythign that chips off is putty, if it doesn't chip then it is cast iron. You will NOT hurt the cast iron.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    I remember when wax seals weren't preformed. The wax came in a can that had to be applied to the bottom of the bowl with a putty knife.

    John

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Yep and plastic gloves hadn't been invented either so it made a helluva mess
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Until you get all that crud cleaned off so you can see the flange, it's just guesswork to give any real advice. If the flange is still in good shape, then you won't need to do much. But, if the flange is rusted badly, broken, or in otherwise bad condition, then a new flange might well be in order. My basic thought is to do whatever is necessary so as not to have a temporary fix that won't be good for at least another 50 years. This is not the time to do a half a$$ job to save a few bucks just to get by. A lot of repairs can be DIY, but if removing the old flange and installing a new one is necessary, then a pro might be the wisest way to go.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    I would hit it with a hammer.

    You're not going to mess up the flange unless it is so rough that it needs replacing anyways.

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    In the Trades Pipewrench's Avatar
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    Another problem you appear to have is they tiled around the toilet base. A new toilet won't match up. It also looks like the top of the flange is flush with the finished floor. You won't get a good wax seal. Some people will tell you to just double the wax ring but that is what I call "ghetto plumbing". Plus the toilet will probably rock.

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    DIY Junior Member Kaylw022's Avatar
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    Appreciate all the advice so far, please keep it coming. I got most of the old putty off and the flange looks like it's in good shape, but the bolts don't appear to be anything I could remove. The bolts also look good, but not so sure about reusing those....

    Here are some updated pics, appreciate any advice on next steps.

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  14. #14
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    It does appear the flange is flush with the floor which is not really proper, but a thick wax ring would make up that slight difference. What bothers me is the flange bolts. The appear to be bent, and old flange bolts seem to me to almost always be corroded. If you can get flange cleaned off around the bolts, you may find they can be removed and replaced. Flanges usually are slotted to allow the flange bolts to slide in. Otherwise, I would be inclined to remove the flange, fill in the floor, and have a new flange installed on top of the finished floor where it really should be. I agree the flange itself looks to be in pretty good shape.

  15. #15
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you're not redoing the tile, good luck finding a toilet that will cover that old hole...
    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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