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Thread: Advice: replace or leave existing Closet Flange

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member DIY007's Avatar
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    Default Advice: replace or leave existing Closet Flange

    Hi,

    I am replacing the existing tile floor on a concrete slab in my powder room with new tile. I pulled the toilet and found the pvc flange was almost flush with the tile, 1 wax ring was used; it was tiled around the flange. The flange is primed/glued on the outside of the 3" pipe. It is NOT screwed into the slab and the front and back of the flange is solidly sitting on mortar. The sides of the flange (were the brass bolts go, is void by about 1/2").

    My new tile is slightly thicker than the tile I am replacing and therefore the flange will likely recess 1/8 - 1/4" below the new tile if I tile around the flange.

    I had originally planned to cut the flange off with an inside pipe cutter and put a new flange sitting on top of the tile.

    Cutting and installing a new flange looks like a bear of a job, I can cut the top of the flange, but don't see how I can easily remove the portion of the flange primed and glued around the outside of the 3" pipe. Plus looks like i need to chip out a lot of concrete around the pipe.

    I did notice one side of the flange has a crack on the outside lip where the closet bolt was sitting.

    Looking for some guidance:
    A: Leave the flange as is, tile around it, try to screw it into the concrete, and use thicker wax ring.
    B: Remove the flange (How do I remove the portion glued to the 3" pipe?), prime and glue a new flange in place above finished tile floor. I saw the Twist-N-Set Flanges, but that goes inside the 3" pipe making the diameter smaller.\


    Thanks!
    DIY007

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    You don't want to use an inside flange on 3" pipe.

    What you were planning to do is certainly one "right way" to do it -- that is, to remove the old flange and install a new flange mounted on top of the finished floor. A+

    However, you are also correct that this will likely be a significant DIY job, and the ways to make it easier (i.e. inside flange) are actually not good solutions.

    Accordingly, given what you've got, a straightforward solution would be to use a stainless-steel repair ring to repair the portion of the flange that is cracked (I assume that cracked portion is PVC and that's why we recommend that if folks are going to use a PVC flange that they get one with a stainless ring). Sioux Chief makes one called the "Ringer"; it's a stainless ring that screws onto your old flange. Then, I wouldn't bother raising the flange and would just use two wax rings to form the seal. Get one with a horn and one without. Stack them on the flange as follows: hornless one on the bottom, one with horn on the top so it doesn't slide around, mount toilet on top and compress carefully and straight down, and you're set.

    We also don't recommend flange extensions that go on top of the flange, because they are more prone to leak than a stack of two wax rings.

    Oh, and when you are installing the toilet with closet bolts, get a brass closet bolt set that has two washers and two nuts per bolt. Use the first washer and nut to secure the closet bolt to the flange, and the second washer and bolt to secure the toilet to the flange. That's our recommended way, and it makes for a nice firm connection all around.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 10-21-2012 at 07:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    Oh, and when you are installing the toilet with closet bolts, get a brass closet bolt set that has two washers and two nuts per bolt. Use the first washer and nut to secure the closet bolt to the flange, and the second washer and bolt to secure the toilet to the flange. That's our recommended way, and it makes for a nice firm connection all around.
    I've seen this mentioned before but have a question about this.

    I have a AS Cadet 3 upside down right now. Laying a level across the bottom and measuring to the bottom of the pocket is 5/8" deep. Taking into account the thickness of the flange, is there room for that nut? Okay, the nut is on the closet bolt at the mount hole in the toilet base and the nut will protrude into the hole a bit. In my case, a nut has zero clearance on one side unless it's postioned with the flats parallel to the somewhat elongated hole in the toilet base.

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    DIY Junior Member DIY007's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick response wjcandee !

    Should I mess with trying to fasten the flange to the concrete? It is solidly supported. I would need to drill the concrete with the flange in place.

    Also, any advantage to using a thicker wax ring ( I saw these at the bigbox stores), as opposed to 2 wax rings as you recommend? For sure, I will need more than one ring's thickness, when I removed the toilet, the existing single ring barley looked compressed, just don't know if 2 is too thick.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    When I removed the toilet, the existing single ring barley looked compressed, just don't know if 2 is too thick.
    If you don't have wax sticking firmly to the bowl and the floor, you can have sewer gas leaks. Better too much then too little.
    The reason many plumbers just carry the thinner wax rings, is for fewer parts in the trucks. You can install them singly or as doubles.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The bolts are what hold the toilet down...if the existing flange is already cracked...you do want to add a repair ring (sealed well to the existing flange) if you're not going to replace it, AND it must be anchored into the concrete. It has slots for your new toilet bolts. As long as you use a 'normal' sized nut to anchor the toilet bolt to the flange, it will not interfere with the wax seal...the wax will just mold around it as it does with the bolt itself. The bolt holes are outside of the toilet's horn anyways.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    As long as you use a 'normal' sized nut to anchor the toilet bolt to the flange, it will not interfere with the wax seal...the wax will just mold around it as it does with the bolt itself. The bolt holes are outside of the toilet's horn anyways.
    The extra added nut on the bolt "may" protrude into the hole in the toilet depending on the flange thickness, relationship to the floor and the depth of the pocket around the toilet horn. That nut "might" make contact with the sides of the hole in the toilet due to manufacturing tolerances or lack of quality control.

    He's speaking about a Cadet 3. Not all brands have that issue.
    Last edited by Terry; 11-09-2012 at 07:38 PM.

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