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Thread: Replace toilet flange

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Pbjdiy's Avatar
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    Default Replace toilet flange

    I am remodeling our powder room. I've demo'd old tile and particle board and am down to the plywood subfloor. The toilet flange appears to be original and I would like to remove it until I complete the tiling and replace it with a new one. I've included a picture of the flange. Can anyone tell me how I should go about removing this flange? It appears to be cast iron, but I don't see anything that looks like the old lead and oakum method of attachment. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The only way to attach a cast iron flange IS with lead and oakum, but I cannot tell what kind of pipe it is with the rag stuffed into it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Pbjdiy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The only way to attach a cast iron flange IS with lead and oakum, but I cannot tell what kind of pipe it is with the rag stuffed into it.
    Okay, I had assumed this was cast iron, but after closer inspection (sorry, this is all new to me) it is actually a pvc flange attached (apparently glued) to 3" pvc pipe. I have drilled off the top part of the flange leaving just the piece connected to the sewer pipe.

    Is it possible to saw/drill off this piece as well without damaging the pipe? Or should I use acetone first to try to break the glued seal?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pbjdiy View Post
    Or should I use acetone first to try to break the glued seal?
    pvc is actually solvent welded, I don't think acetone will do anything for you. There are special cutters that most plumbers use that I don't think a one time use would justify the cost for a DIYer.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Pbjdiy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpetey View Post
    pvc is actually solvent welded, I don't think acetone will do anything for you. There are special cutters that most plumbers use that I don't think a one time use would justify the cost for a DIYer.
    The pipe is black, so that means it is ABS, not PVC, correct? Does that mean it is a glue seal and can be removed?

  6. #6
    DIY Member WorthFlorida's Avatar
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    Since this is a powder room and there is plywood, I assume under the floor there is a basement or crawl space. I would cut out the connection somewhere under the floor and replace it after the tile is set. If it's ABS or PVC, it should be an easy task.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Hummm, it sort of looks like an ABS flange glued to a PVC pipe! While there are cements approved for that purpose, you are MUCH better off using the same materials. My guess is that that bond may not be as robust as it would be if they were the same materials. The safer method would be to do as stated above, open the ceiling (or the floor), cut it off, then install a new piece(s) when done with the tiling. If you use a 4x3 fitting, you can tile to the edge of it, then use an internal flange so you don't have to keep a space around it to slide the new flange over the outside. You might be able to peel it off if you sawed through the flange in a couple of places, but the pipe could end up rather rough, and installing a new one over it with a good seal could be problematic, especially with no good access to clean it up beforehand.

    Also, you'd be much better off using a plastic flange with a SS metal ring rather than an all plastic one - it's much stronger and the SS won't rust. The all plastic ones can break if someone falls against the toilet or you try to tighten it down too tight.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8

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    I wouldnt cut that unbroken PVC flange out and create more work for myself. If you dont have enough clearance for the tile to slip under the flange - go in the basement and use a 2X4 on the 3" PVC? pipe to tweak it up.. If need be, heat the PVC pipe up with a torch while you tweak it up. I''d figure out a way to get the clearance I need

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The white "thing" appears to be the remnants of a test plug. It IS possible to remove the remnants of the flange, but I am not sure if YOU should do it. If not done properly, you will crack or deform the pipe riser and then you will have to replace it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  10. #10
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    This may not be a good choice of a DIY project. A toilet connection is a fairly important one to get right the first time.

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