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Thread: Toilet flange issue

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member stardog's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Houston, TX

    Default Toilet flange issue

    Yesterday I removed the toilet in our second bath so I could complete the installation of ceramic tile around the toilet drain. As I began the process of removing the two anchor bolts so I could clean debris and old wax from the original steel flange prior to installing two additional plastic spacers, I discovered that I could freely spin the flange around the drain pipe with my fingers. Now I am in a quandary. So I am thinking there are two possibilities: first, the original flange was initially screwed down to the concrete subfloor and maybe over time the screws deteriorated and broke off, allowing it to spin freely; or second, the "ring" part was part of an original steel flange that extended part way into the drain. In which case, perhaps the outside ring of the flange deteriorated and simply broke free of the larger flange. It is an older bathroom so I have no idea how long this has been this way, but it has never affected the overall stability of the toilet itself.

    Looking inside the drain pipe I am unable to feel an exposed lip indicating part of the original flange is still lodged inside the drain pipe. And there seems to be small ridge around the top of the drain pipe which won't allow me to lift the loose "ring" over the drain pipe. If I leave the loose ring as it is, the plastic spacer will still fit flush right on top of it. Therefore, by applying sealant between the steel flange and the plastic spacer it will still allow a waterproof fit.

    My solution is to drill into the concrete subfloor and permanently "reinstall" the flange so it no longer sits loose on the surface of the floor.. Then add a spacer or two to bring it all to the correct height. Then reinstall the toilet (with an oversized wax ring) and bolt everything back down. Does anyone have any other suggestions or input as to what may have happened to the original flange? My thinking is that as long as I can ensure a waterproof fit all around then I should be OK. Or am I missing something? Thanks for anyone's helpful suggestions.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    you can roto hammer the concrete and secure the flange as needed. Or use a repair ring secured to the floor for the closet bolts.
    If there was no give, then what you had was good enough. Sometimes a flange in concrete is there for life. We secure them anyway.

    If you attempt to add spaces, something I don't like, goo them up with Silicone. Personally, for the last 40 years the plumbers around here use two wax rings if the flange is low, and it's works out just fine.
    Adding spacers has been a real iffy solution. I've had far more troubles with those. I don't even carry spacers on the truck. I have to garantee my work.
    Last edited by Terry; 12-10-2013 at 05:14 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member stardog's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Houston, TX



    Thanks for the quick response. Regardless of the spacer issue, what do you mean when referring to a repair ring. Since I am unable to remove the current "loose" flange piece (lip on drain pipe won't allow me to lift up and over) what does the repair ring do? I can raise the "loose" ring about 1/16 to 1/8 inch above the surface of the floor before it hits the top lip of the drain pipe, so I originally though about adding some type of metal shims under the ring to force it tight between the floor and the top of the pipe, thereby (or maybe just wishful thinking) allowing me to avoid the trouble of drilling into the concrete floor. Just thinking out loud.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    FWIW, the ring is what anchors the toilet down...you want it to be solid - they put screws in the ring for a reason! Yes, caulking around the toilet also helps hold it in place, but that's primarily there for sanitary reasons, anchoring is secondary.
    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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