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Thread: HELP Moving Toilet Drain

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member joewalsh1979's Avatar
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    Default HELP Moving Toilet Drain

    Hi everyone:

    I'm remodeling a 30+ year-old, second floor bathroom and trying to move a toilet drain a few inches from the wall to accomodate a Toto Supreme toilet (I have less than 12" from the finished wall to the drain's center line with the drain's current placement). I was hoping someone here can give me advice on how to proceed. The "best" idea I've come up with is pictured in my photo, but I'm unsure if re-routing the drain in relation to the vent is a no-no.

    I'm relatively inexperienced and trying to use this project to learn as much as I can. Can anyone here offer me some advice?

    Thanks for the help.

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  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you have slightly less than 12" to the center of the drain now, and I do not know how that is possible from the scale of the picture, doing that will make it around 17" to the center. In addition, you will have a major remodel job to connect the new toilet pipe to the main line. In fact, it is probably not a good DIY job, especially a first one.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    What's the current measurement? A regular Toto Drake (not Drake II) will work on 11" from finished wall to center of drain. You measure from where the finished wall will be to the center of the drain, ignoring molding and such. Toto also makes a Drake that will go on a 10" rough-in. Toto also has certain toilets (many "skirted" ones), like the Carlyle II, which use a "unifit" adapter to connect them to the floor, and thus can fit on a 10" rough-in (or 12" or 14").

    I don't know if you have the toilet already, but the Toto Carolina II looks like the Supreme II, except it is skirted and uses the Unifit adapter so it can go on a 10" rough-in.

    Give us some more info, and maybe we can save you some money.

    HJ is offering sage advice. Maybe better to change the commode (something you can do) than change that plumbing.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 09-08-2012 at 04:50 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Not sure where in the span you intend to run that 3" pipe (can't see the ends), but there are limitiations which include how big, where in the length, and how close to the edge you can do it. My guess is that you would not be able to run the pipe in the manner you wish without compromising the strength of the joists there beyond specs.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member joewalsh1979's Avatar
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    Thank you, everyone, for the responses, I greatly appreciate your time and willingness to help. To clarify the measurement and prove I'm not crazy, I attached another pic.

    HJ: I figured I might end up needing to hire a pro. I've had two contractors give me estimates on doing some of the work already: one of them told me the drains need to be moved, the other ignored it. The contractor who told me the drain must be moved, wanted to open up the ceiling downstairs to do it, so I'm hoping to at least get an idea of what to expect if I have to hire someone. I worry about having someone come in and slice everything up when it's unnecessary.

    WJ: I do already have the toilet, unfortunately, I guess. I didn't realize this would be such an issue, and the contractor I talked to told me the drain should be moved regardless. There are a few things in this bathroom that I know are not code compliant, and I figured that so long as I'm going to be dealing with some of it, I might as well try to address this too. You can probably tell from the section of the subfloor that's remaining, but the old toilet had leaked quite a bit, which I thought could've been due to a slight tilt from the lack of space from drain to wall.

    Jadnashua: The floor joists are 12" on center, and I was hoping to avoid touching any of them. Right now, all the 3" pipe has been run by notching the ceiling joists below, rather than the floor joists. Those ceiling joists below span 15'6" originating just to the in the right side of the frame in my original photo. I can give more measurements if I'm misunderstanding you.

    Anyway, I'll gladly take any additional input you guys are willing to offer. After reading everyone's responses, I'm thinking I'll be speaking with more pros this week, but any ideas you have on a proper solution will definitely be helpful to me and appreciated.

    Thanks again,
    Joe

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  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A wooden joist is similar to an I-beam...most of its strength is in the top and bottom few inches...the middle just holds them in the proper location. Notching either the top or bottom makes the joist the equivilent of what's left...it is not allowed! The top is in compression and the bottom is in tension...then, there are rules how close to the ends where you can place holes. the ends get compressed by the walls, and holes there are not allowed. That's why I asked where in the span you wanted to place that pipe crossing multiple joists. The hole is only supposed to be in the middle 1/3-rd or so of the joist vertically, and in the middle section lengthwise. Put a 3" notch in a 10" joist,and it is somewhat less than a 7" joist. Put a 3" hole in the middle of a 10" joist, and it's still a 10" joist strengthwise.
    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 wjcandee's Avatar
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    I can't tell for sure from the photo, but it looks as if you have between 11.25 and 11.5 inches there. Do you have the Supreme or the Supreme II? If the Supreme, Eco or regular (1.28 or 1.6gpf).

    Depending upon which model you have, it may be that it will fit on what you have.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member joewalsh1979's Avatar
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    Jadnashua: Thanks for the explanation, I've been reading up on these rules and your description helps. If I end up doing anything myself, I will definitely post back with my plans before I start cutting into the joists. As of right now, I'm planning to hold off on doing something along those lines after getting everyone's advice.

    WJ: I have the Supreme, eco 1.28 GPF, MS864114E. I don't have any experience with Totos and I haven't found anyone local who does either (I live in a rather small town). Do you think I could do a successful install with >12"?

    Thanks guys.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Before you start cutting floor joist, read this. It looks to me like you have a 11.5" rough-in on the current drain. It is a little know fact outside of the plumbing field, that toilet rough-in requirements are very inexact. No toilet requires more space than the size they are rated, and most take less. Since you have the Supreme already, there's an easy way to see how much rough-in you actually need. Set the toilet on a floor with the tank against the wall. Measure from the flange bolts holes to the wall. This will be the minimum rough-in this toilet will require. Here is an illustration what this may mean for you. I have 2 Toto toilets in my home. One is a Drake, the other is a Dartmouth, both are classified as 12" rough-in toilets. Both are set on flanges that are exactly 12" rough-in, but the Drake has 1-5/8" space behind the tank, and the Dartmouth has 1-7/8" behind the tank. I don't know what the Supreme will measure, but since you only need to gain 1/2" for it to install on the present drain, I will be quite surprised is there isn't space to spare.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Here's the spec sheet for your toilet. It shows an inch behind on a 12" rough-in. http://www.totousa.com/Portals/0/Pro..._MS863113E.pdfThese things aren't always reliable, and it's not entirely-clear whether that's from the tank top or elsewhere, but that's a good clue. I can't tell from your photo what you actually have. It looks like less than 11.5 but more than 11.25. Many Totos will fit no problem on 11.5, some will fit on less.

    It obviously isn't convenient to dry-fit the toilet in the room's current state. Gary's suggestion is excellent. Put the toilet against a flat (and level) wall. Most likely some outcropping from the back of the toilet will contact the wall before the base does. Measure from the wall to the center of the bolt holes, and VOILA, you have the minimum rough-in. If the spec sheet is riight, it's going to be 11".

    Also, if you use the slots in your flange for the closet bolts, you have some additional wiggle room as far as distance to the wall.

    On this one, I'm guessing you have more than enough room (like maybe more than 1/4" extra), but this shouldn't be a guessing game when you have the thing right there to measure.

    Let us know what you find.

    Gary: Are you saying that the Drake will fit on 10 3/8"? I was thinking its minimum was 10 7/8".

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You can usually fudge at least 1/4" extra with the slop in the flange bolt hole of the toilet and/or the slots in the flange. the horn on the toilet is about 2-1/8" ID (don't know the OD), but as long as that is entirely over the at least 3" hole of the flange and is sealed properly with the wax, you shouldn't have any leaks or performance issues. IOW, you have a little bit of fudge factor.

    Also note, that the spec sheet shows 'nominal' sizes...Toto is probably one of the more exact manufacturers in the toilet industry, but there will always be (hopefully) slight variations in size.
    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 joewalsh1979's Avatar
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    Everyone:

    I'm glad I decided to post, all of this has been very interesting. I took Gary's advice, and measured 11" from the middle of the flange bolt holes to the wall, so I do have enough room to install the toilet with the drain as-is. I feel like this bit of sagely common-sense should've occurred to me without having to ask, but even if it had, the spec sheet calling for a min. 12" would've still been a question mark in my mind: with little experience, I'm always most worried there's something I don't know. So, hearing from everyone has been a huge help in that regard, and generally very instructive. WJ and jadnashua: you guys have given me some great advice that will help me understand how to think about these-type problems in the future as well. So, thank you all for taking the time to help me out, you've saved me some headaches and $$.

    Joe

  13. #13
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    After reading WJ's question, I remeasured my Drake. If found although the flange is at 12", the toilet is not set exactly square. One side is at 12", but the other is 11-3/4". I then rechecked my measurement from the wall to the tank, and found it is actually 1-1/2". This means it would have installed on a 10-1/2" rough in. This is tighter than desirable of course. While my original figures were off a bit, I believe that if the Supreme is anywhere near the same as the Drake, there is still 1" to spare.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    joewalsh -- it was fun to help

    gary -- thanks for measuring. Very interesting; it apparently may be able to fit even tighter than I had thought!

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