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Thread: Flange and Spacer Question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member BassReflex's Avatar
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    Default Flange and Spacer Question

    First time poster and toilet repair here... take it easy on me!

    So I've searched around the forum a bit and I now know a few things, but I want to make absolutely sure my thoughts are correct before installing a new flange.


    I had a new tile floor put in my bathroom (previously vinyl flooring). This raised the floor height obviously. Well, at this point in time I did not know any better and let the plumber and the tile guys just do their own thing. 6 months later I noticed my toilet started to wobble. Long story short, the all PVC flange broke and the closet bolts came out.

    I've taken my toilet off, removed the old flange (looks like it was glued and not primed so it was easy to get out). I have a 4" pipe in a concrete slab subfloor. I see that the tile guys just cut a larger hole around the existing flange and left it right on the subfloor. It looks like the plumber left the old wax ring on, and put on a second new wax ring to double ring it.

    So now that I'm at square one with a 4" pipe that is level with sub floor and I'm not able to put my flange on the finished floor as the tile guys didn't tile close enough to the drain... I've gotta come up with a solution.


    After looking around on the forum it looks like I can get a 1/2in toilet flange spacer and install it beneath the new flange which I will install afterwards... and this should bring my flange up to the correct height. This would result in having Drain Pipe -> Spacer -> Closet Flange. Since the flange will be above the spacer... I shouldn't have a potential leaking spot? Is this an acceptable solution that should hold up for a while over time? I'm very paranoid about leaks and want to come up with the best solution possible, but would really prefer not to lay a new piece of tile unless absolutely necessary. I appreciate any help and all comments. Thank you in advance.


    I'm assuming this spacer would work? http://www.lowes.com/pd_253224-138-4...ductId=3798891
    Last edited by BassReflex; 06-10-2013 at 11:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You want a flange with a SS metal ring so that it has both more strength, and won't rust. This also means you need to use SS or brass closet bolts to hold the toilet. The flange ring needs to be anchored into the slab. Lead anchors or tapcon screws can work if the slab is solid there. The toilet MUST NOT rock on the tile! Add shims, if necessary to prevent it from moving. If the toilet does not rock, and the flange is at the design height (optimally, installed on top of the finished floor, or equivalent), it should squish the wax when you set it and not leak. Since the tile can be slippery, and to prevent crud from accumulating underneath the toilet's base, use caulk around the front (leave the back open). This also will keep the thing from moving and breaking the wax seal. Polyseamseal is good for this, since it is easier to lift the toilet, when that becomes necessary - silicon would have to be laboriously cut through to release the toilet.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    no problem using the spacer under the flange. It is the over the flange ones that raise a concern .In another thread, Terry has indicated that he has used this one:
    http://www.siouxchief.com/Drainage/R...k-Spacer.NHYLH

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member BassReflex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    The flange ring needs to be anchored into the slab. Lead anchors or tapcon screws can work if the slab is solid there.
    I don't have a picture, but essentially the tile was cut so that there is room for the flange ring to sit on the slab. In order to get the flange ring to sit in the proper spot (same as on top of finished floor) would it be acceptable to use a plastic spacer of some sort UNDER the flange? Then with the flange at the correct height., I could then anchor both the spacer and the flange to the slab.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member BassReflex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    no problem using the spacer under the flange. It is the over the flange ones that raise a concern .In another thread, Terry has indicated that he has used this one:
    http://www.siouxchief.com/Drainage/R...k-Spacer.NHYLH
    Thanks. I'll look into this. I need to measure the exact distance from slab to the top of the tile, but I do know my tile is 5/16" thick. I'll look around and see if siouxchief have that spacer in different sizes.
    Last edited by BassReflex; 06-10-2013 at 12:31 PM.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Agreed, placing the spacer underneath the flange has none of the potential leak points verses adding one on top of it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member BassReflex's Avatar
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    Great, thanks for the reply. I'll investigate this... if I cannot find a spacer the correct height I may look at redoing the one tile properly.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    You can stack the spacers. And we're not wedded to the Sioux Chief; it's just one that Terry has used. Just get a decent quality one. They definitely come as thin as 1/4", but I think the Sioux Chief is minimum 3/4". If the distance from the slab to the top of all the tile is 5/16", then a 1/4" spacer should be fine. That 1/16" isn't going to affect anything, and you can use one wax ring to install the toilet. It will be almost as if you mounted the flange on top of the finished floor. If the slab plus grout bed plus tile is 1/2", then use a 1/2" spacer or two 1/4" ones stacked. You get the idea.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 06-10-2013 at 01:59 PM.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member BassReflex's Avatar
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    Ok, the gap is about 7/16 from top of slab to the top of the tile. I bought a 1/2" spacer to fillin the hole. I also picked up a 4x3 flange with SS ring. I noticed the flange only goes down about 2" into the drain pipe. Is this 1/2" gap (leaving only 1.5" in the drain pipe) going to cause an issue?

    This leads me to proper installation of the pvc flange. I am assuming you always want to prime the pvc and then cement it into place? Then before it dries I can screw the flange to the subfloor with tapcons. My only concern is if the flange needs to be replaced in the future it will be much more difficult to remove if it has been primed. I'm assuming it is a bad idea to just cement it without priming the PVC? I'm pretty sure the previous flange I removed was only cemented and not primed (it also wasn't screwed to the floor) as I was able to chisel it out with a hammer and screwdriver (wedging the screwdriver between the flange and the drain pipe). (Don't worry the drain pipe is in great condition with no gouges )

    Also, any tips on aligning the closet bolt holes properly when installing the flange?
    Last edited by BassReflex; 06-10-2013 at 06:57 PM.

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A good solvent weld pvc joint is nearly impossible to break...the cement literally melts the two pieces together. The primer cleans the surface and helps to presoften it so the cement can do its thing. IOW, you should NOT be able to remove it if it is installed properly, and if you use a quality one, don't worry about it! THat flange probably has T-slots. If you align the end away from the larger opening so each side is equidistant from the wall (well, back off slightly) it's stronger.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Probably seems obvious, but just take a tape measure and mark the spot so the almost-end of each slot is the same distance from the wall on each side; that will square the toilet to the wall when you install the closet bolts and slide them almost to the end of the slot.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member BassReflex's Avatar
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    Alright, think I'm good now. Got everything installed... went with the primer and the cement to do the job right... lets hope this oatey SS flange ring doesn't break. Got everything shimmed up and just have to caulk the front and sides tomorrow.

    Only thing I'm a little 'leery' about is I think when I set the bowl down the first time to set the wax ring, I was a little far back.... It's definitely set in there right now, but I'm hoping I didn't accidentally squish the wax ring too much before it was centered on the flange.

  13. #13
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    If you are worried about it, pull it up and do it over. A new wax ring is a few bucks and 15 minutes work when everything else is the way that it should be.

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