<8" Rough-in!?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Rick Routh, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    Needed to replace my toilet because the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl were corroded (cheap toilet and really hard water). However, when I measured the rough-in it was exactly 9". Knowing this was off, I decided to pull the toilet before I went to purchase a new one. Once I did, I found the scene pictured below -- even worse than I thought. An offset flange is already in place. The actual pipe center is less than 8" from the back wall and off-center to the right (12" from the right wall in the photo, 20" from the left).

    What do I do now? Call a plumber? Are they going to have to tear up my foundation to make this right so I can have a normal toilet that mounts correctly?
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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Am I correct that the tank was sitting against the wall with the water supply sticking out of it?

    I don't know if this is viable or not, but let me mention this: The 12" rough-in Drake actually has 1-1/8" behind it, so you can get it in on an 11" rough-in, and, usually, on 10 7/8. This despite the fact that some of the spec sheets say 3/4" behind, and some say 1-1/8".

    The spec sheet for the 10" rough-in Drake says 3/4" behind. If, in fact, it has the full 1-1/8" that the regular Drake does, then you could get it in on a 9" rough-in. I just don't know the answer, though. Maybe someone who knows can champion or bludgeon my idea.

    You can get the Drake in with the water supply only a smidge to the left of center, but that looks maybe too tight; I'm thinking that you may need a 90 out of the wall. Certainly if the Drake idea is viable, we can measure and figure out the rest.

    The Drake is 19.5" wide, so you've got 2-1/4" on the one side. It'll fit; maybe not the most comfortable. I don't know about where you are but code is usually 15" from finished wall to center; I'm assuming this isn't somewhere where it needs to be inspected?

    EDIT: I guess I should point out that, as Jim notes below, the right (and, depending upon where you are probably the legal) thing to do is move the drain. My thought was "Poor guy, pulls up toilet and discovers horror. Maybe this could give him a quick and admittedly-dirty solution." What Jim says is correct, of course. Sorry you couldn't just reattach your tank with a decent set of tank-to-bowl hardware.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  3. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

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    Yes, You need a plumber
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Okay, look at it this way...code says you need a minimum of 15" from the midline of the toilet to each wall, so given that and the fact you have a non-standard rough-in, you really should move the toilet flange. Now, depending on which way the drain line runs, you might not need to tear up too much. Unless this is a post-tensioned slab (more common in earthquake country), cutting a slab isn't normally as big a deal as most people think.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    In my opinion, the is not a DIY friendly job, especially for a novice. Off set flanges are junk and should never be used. Just because they are made and sold does not mean they are an acceptable fitting. As others have pointed out, there are some factors that we can not see and perhaps can not be seen until more demo is done. Again, in my opinion, a plumber, while not cheap, will likely be the least expensive way to get this done right. Lots of ways to do things wrong, usually only one or two ways to do it right.
  6. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    wjcandee,
    You are correct that the tank sits against the wall with the supply line. And the old (child-sized) toilet sat AGAINST the wall (the reason the rest of the wall is painted is because you literally could not touch the white part with a brush).

    Jim,
    I want to actually fix the problem, not just cover it up (again). The house is certainly not a post-tensioned slab. Built in the mid-90s in North Texas, they cut every corner possible. Every time I touch something I find that not only was it not done well, it was hardly done at all (no matter what "it" is).

    I had talked to a friend who suggested the offset flange route when we were discussing the 9" rough-in. At that point I was comfortable with widening the slab enough to get the extra clearance. But for this I'm looking at opening the slab AND new sewage plumbing, right?

    Another thought I just had was moving the wall(s)? Behind the wall to the left is the main intake for the AC which is extremely large (I can comfortably hang out in there, I think some of it was supposed to be closet space for the next room in the original blueprints). Behind the wall straight back (with the supply) is a hall closet which isn't used. And behind the wall to the right is a hollowed out area for a massive old-school entertainment center. We could easily ditch the ancient entertainment center, I just don't know what I'd be looking at as far as plumbing in that wall since the shower butts up against it.

    I've put in a call to the only local plumber I trust, but I'd like to do as much of this as I (legally) can.


    As an aside: I don't know how many of you are plumbers, but kudos to you. I grew up having to learn how to fix stuff that broke because we never had the money to pay someone else to do it, but of everything I can fix plumbing is the one thing that I just cannot find a way to enjoy. (I was also the kid who wouldn't play with finger paints, but have no problem swimming in transmission fluid, go figure.) So when it really hits the fan (like this) I am SO grateful that there are people who truly have a passion for it. To those of you who do, THANK YOU!
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Rick: I'm one of those who is not a plumber. Spent a lot of time in apartment buildings as a young professional, and you called maintenance to fix stuff. So it was embarrassingly-recently that I learned how to fix a leaky toilet. I'm trying to make up for lots of lost time. But here's a story: I spent almost ten years in Dallas and Irving. Had a friend who coincidentally lived in my apartment building. Blonde, tan, fit, good-lookin'. Executive at a very popular nightclub. The kind of woman that where I'm from (NY): (a) would not be very nice and (b) would expect others to look after her. My friend was refreshingly not that way. She had me over one day. I realized that we had basically the same apartment. Except she had a ceiling fan, a really-nice chandelier in the dining area and a dimmer. "How'd you get them to put in a dimmer?" I asked. She looked at me like I was from Pluto. Or New York. "Sorry?" "The dimmer. I don't have one. Or a ceiling fan or a chandelier. I didn't know they'd do that for us." Long pause. "William, just 'cause I'm a girl doesn't mean I don't know how to do electrical." She was from East Texas. Of course she knew how to do electrical. And fix cars. And all the names of all the Cowboys. And which ones needed to be traded. Naturally, I was charmed.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  8. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    Haha! Yeah, I spent my summers growing up in a small town in western Nebraska. Not only did you learn how to fix stuff, you learned how to do it with whatever scraps you could find. There was a five-and-dime in town, but anything more specific than that was 19 miles away. I admit I have looked at people funny when they've complained about something like a toilet handle being broken. "Why don't you just fix it?" "You can DO that!?" Good times.

    Back on topic: And I don't mind if the answer is "wait for the plumber," but is there anything further that I can do to reduce my expense at this point? Should I go ahead and remove the offset flange and see which direction the drain line runs?
  9. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    :D Good times, indeed!

    As to what you can do, I'm to a big extent not the person to ask, but I do remember seeing a few posts on here from the most experienced of the plumbers, that advised folks they were counseling not to "help" the plumber by, IIRC, pulling out the old flange, etc. It seemed like they wanted to see the old setup in all its demented glory, and perhaps feared removal of stuff that they might have wanted to keep. Assuming the guy you called is going to come over and give you an estimate before just getting down to work, I'm thinking he's the best guy to ask about that. But naturally I defer to the people that really know.

    When I first saw your photos, I actually thought, "Wonder what's on the other side of those walls." If the toilet is centered in that space, is it comfortable and inviting? Do you figure that on balance, it's not worth starting to rip out walls at this point?
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    22,316
    Location:
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    As I noted, code requires at least 15" to either side of the toilet, and to make life easier for you, you want the flange 12" from the finished all. Now, if you can easily move the walls, and can do that yourself, that may end up less expensive than moving the flange. But, if you don't want to go to that effort, go for a plumber. An offset flange often isn't your friend, either so getting one that goes straight has advantages, too.

    When you look down the pipe, how far down does it go before it turns? Normally, you can see that and which direction it turns. If the turn is quite high or goes back towards the wall, you may need to tear up the wall to replace the flange. And, if it makes a turn immediately beneath the floor, depending on which way it turns, to maintain the proper slope, you may have problems. Drains really don't like to go uphill or even flat...they should slope down all the way out.
  11. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    It goes down 12-18" (I think closer to 12, but it's hard to tell looking down through the gap between the drain and the offset flange) then turns directly toward the back right corner. I'm assuming it's heading toward the kitchen then down to the street. We live on the corner and that direction is the busier of the two streets. Since I want the toilet forward and right, am I looking at tearing up the slab, extending the current horizontal (I'm assuming slightly slanted toward the street) pipe then a new 90* and flange. That doesn't seem so bad. I'm assuming legally the plumber has to be the one to connect the pipes (I know legally only licensed irrigation techs can replace sprinkler heads in my town). As such I will still wait for my plumber before proceeding, but I think I'm feeling a little better about this after seeing the pipe seems to go the right direction down there.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
    New England
    I was worried that the pipe might be just beneath the slab, and that would mean extending it might bring it too high to easily make a connection. Sounds like that's not an issue. There's a limit on how many degrees the line can turn before a cleanout is required, but it sounds like that won't be an issue.
  13. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Texas
    Plumber is coming first thing Wednesday morning to take a look at the situation. Will update as soon as he gives his opinion.
  14. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    So the plumber gave me a quote to move the drain AND inlet (and in doing so also update the valve and change spiral hose to braided) which was within what I was hoping for AFTER I did some of the labor. So they did the jackhammering and plumbing.

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    So then I had a patch of wet concrete, a third of the floor cut out, and access to the back wall. So my original valve replacement has now turned into...
  15. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    IMG_2801 (Medium).JPG IMG_2800 (Medium).JPG IMG_2803 (Medium).JPG

    Mismatched paint (some flat, some textured, some faux finish), nasty 20-year old laminate sheet floor? Now's the time to change that!

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    The new yellow. Didn't look so... yellow when we picked it up, but I'm hoping the darker laminate tile and a dark-ish shower curtain will help tone it down. At this point we're in it to win it, and it will be easier to paint over this than the dark blue that was in here. 2nd coat and corners/edges are today, clean up the floor and put leveller down tonight, then I'll put the tiles down tomorrow night. Should have a toilet in by Friday! (You guys won't be happy with my toilet choice, but this project is already WAY overbudget from the original $20, so I'll omit details regarding the final purchase if you will forgive me and have some sympathy.)
  16. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    If you're getting a Champion or even a Cadet, you really can get a Toto Drake for a remarkably-similar amount of money. Just do a little shopping. Research CST744s or CST744e.

    The toilet is the thing in there that's expected to LAST -- longer than the paint, the tile, etc.

    And you don't have room in that little alcove for a plunger.

    No mercy, Dude. Make us proud.

    PS You're certainly an energetic guy! "Well, I had the toilet off, so I decided to paint behind it. And as long as I was doing that, I decided to paint the bathroom, and put on a second coat, and edging and new tile and a new shower curtain. On a weekday." Impressive.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  17. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    I completely understand what you're saying about the toilet. I do. But my budget is TIGHT after this plumbing work. The $100 AquaSource at Lowes is already a substantial upgrade from what was in place. Do you have any recommendations under $200?

    As for the energy. I had my quarterly adrenal fatigue this morning and had to work Friday night and all day yesterday. But with some AWESOME help from my wife, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now! I could not do this amount of work (and be a functioning human in real life) without the help of my wonderful wife!

    IMG_2822 (Medium).jpg IMG_2823 (Medium).jpg IMG_2824 (Medium).jpg

    Sealing all the edges is tomorrow. I went to do it today and forgot a crucial piece of information: my caulk gun was broken! After sealing we'll go back and touch up paint. Then come payday we'll finally have a toilet in there again!
  18. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    1,973
    Location:
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    Google CST744S#01 or CST744S#11 (#01 is cotton white and #11 is colonial white). Cotton White is like Kohler or Eljer white, Colonial White is like AS White. Pull up the items with the prices, ignoring what you see in the search results. I think you'll find what you're looking for by doing that.

    If you substitute an E for the S on the above, you will have a 1.28gpf toilet which is Watersense-rebate-eligible. I was interested to see that some water districts in Texas are indeed offering rebates up to $100 for purchasing such a toilet. Here is the national list; you can sort by state and see if you happen to qualify: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/rebate_finder_saving_money_water.html

    You don't need to buy the Toto seat, although many people really like it. Any elongated seat will fit the bolts, although not precisely the bowl. We like a harder seat, and thus have a nice wood Mayfair seat on our Drakes.

    You probably know this, but you will need a wax ring and some closet bolts. Get a closet bolt set that has two sets of nuts; first nut to attach to flange like the pros do, then second to attach the toilet. I have noticed that some pros here recommend the wax ring without any built-in flange, but I notice that Terry sells one with the flange, so I guess that's a personal choice. You will only need one wax ring because your closet flange is now properly positioned above the finished floor.

    PS What an incredible improvement in appearance of that bathroom! Wow! Nice work!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  19. Rick Routh

    Rick Routh New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas
    :( No rebate offers for us (though our neighbors in Fort Worth have a sweet deal!) The best deal I can find is a local plumber offering $20 off, but I'm assuming they'll mark the thing up more than $20 over what I could find online. Online, the cheapest I see for either of those is $209. Is there anything drastically wrong with the AquaSource?

    And thank you for the compliment! It's not quite what I wish it could be, but I don't have the money for new shower, cabinets, lights, mirror, and counter (ha!) I DID, however, spend a couple extra bucks (literally) for pre-finished composite baseboard trim. I don't have to paint it aside from covering up my nails and it won't swell or grow mold if it gets wet. I'm still sealing like crazy to keep the floor and walls dry, but it's nice to know that I won't have to worry about the trim being damaged by water in the future.
  20. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    1,973
    Location:
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    The bathroom definitely looks very nice in the photo!

    Besides falling in the "disposable toilet" category, the beefs about the Aquasource that I see on the Lowe's web site are, among other things, that the seat is real flimsy so most people end up buying a new one, that the tank to bowl bolts are likely to rust and so probably one should get a decent tank-to-bowl set (and get a set that lets you secure the bolts to the tank first and then secure the tank to the toilet; i.e. two nuts and two sets of rubber and metal washers per bolt), that the hardware to mount it to the floor is cheapo, and that the flush handle can break. You'll have trouble finding original parts, most likely, which is a very good reason to steer clear of the dual-flush Aquasource, which has a much-more-complicated flush mechanism that is cheapo and likely to break. They are pinching every penny every way they can to hit that price point, which is why most of the positive reviews are from folks who just installed the thing. I'd be interested to see reviews from folks who put them in 5 years ago, and what, if any, problems they are having. Most of these do seem to be self-installs, because the fiscal equation changes when one has to factor in the cost of installation; in that case, it's worth $100 today to buy a better toilet and save $300 two or three years from now, including installation. But when you put it in yourself, then that $100 (minus the cost of a new seat and some decent hardware) stays in your pocket until you need to repeat the process.
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