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Thread: Lead closet bend doesn't reach floor

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Franklin1918's Avatar
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    Unhappy Lead closet bend doesn't reach floor

    Our home was built in 1918. The upstairs toilet has been leaking, and when I went to replace the wax ring I discovered that the lead bend (I'm assuming it's lead, anyway) does not even reach the top of the floor. It is pretty mangled, and there is a gap between the pipe and the underside of the wood floor. This has allowed gas to leak out. I think the water leak is due to the floor being uneven, so we have a couple issues to deal with. There was a metal flange screwed into the wood, which I removed. It was badly bent. The wood around the opening is damp, but does not appear to be rotted. Was hoping to DIY this inexpensively, but I think this is beyond my ability now. What would the repair entail? There is not access to the pipe from below.

    I'm attaching some pictures that hopefully show the situation better than I can describe it. It's tough to tell from the pictures, but the top of the lead pipe just reaches the bottom side of the floorboards, and in some spots it doesn't reach at all. It bends immediately, so there is not enough depth for an interior fitting (but from what I understand from reading other threads, that shouldn't be done with a lead pipe anyway).

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  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You may not have much choice other than to cut open the ceiling below, or tear up the floor in that room to render a proper repair. If that pipe ever got clogged, guess what, it wouldn't only be gasses that could escape, but sewage all over the ceiling of the room below. Plus, if the wood stays damp long enough, it will rot it out and could attract carpenter ants and termites. You either need to replace the entire lead toilet bend, or cut it out and transition to plastic. If you get a new lead toilet bend, it would be long enough to come above the toilet flange and be bent over it so there'd be a continuous surface that the wax ring can seal to.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Franklin1918's Avatar
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    Thank you. Never even thought about what would happen if there was a clog--yikes!

    Is soldering a new portion onto the existing pipe out of the question? I'm having a plumber come to take a look hopefully today. I don't want to cut corners, but also don't want to go too crazy since I eventually want to gut the entire bathroom and redo the plumbing anyway (I don't think I have the money for that yet).

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Your bend looks pretty bad. I replace them when they get like that.


    I normally just pull the lead out of the cast iron tee, and use a 4x3 flush bush into a insert rubber pipe donut.


  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If you do as Terry suggests, when you remodel the bathroom, it will be a simple matter to reposition the flange on top of the new floor.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member Franklin1918's Avatar
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    Thank you--that looks like a good solution. Looks like we will just have to bite the bullet and pull up the floor.

    Now it seems like the hardest part of this project is going to be getting a plumber to show up!

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