Advice for adding flange.

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Blooze, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    The toilet in our kid's bathroom was swinging side to side if you bumped it hard with a knee. I checked the bolts, only to find that there were no nuts on the toilet, just those plastic nut/cap holder jobbies. Took those off and went to put brass nuts on where one side tighted down fine, but the other told me very quick that the bolt felt broken. We decided to pull the toilet to replace the bolts. Lo and behold when the toiled was pulled there was no flange to be seen, just a pair of bolts used for wood floors inserted into the concrete slab with mollies. The mollie on the one side had fell apart and pulled out. The floor is ceramic tiled, with a square section left out around the cast iron pipe to a depth of about 1/4 - 3/8" from the top of the tile to the concrete slab. The drain pipe is about 1/8" below the floor surface and more to one side (front of the toilet). I've attached a drawing to maybe explain better.

    For now I replaced the mollie and reinserted a new bolt. We put a flanged extra-thick wax ring down around the pipe, but at the front it had to sit partially up on the tile due to room. Reseated the toiled, it was up off the floor we guessed about 1/4-3/8" before compression of the wax, and tightened it down. Well, it doesn't move now, but the one bolt that was pulling out started again so I just stopped at that point. Doesn't seem to obviously leak yet, but the water valve was leaking a bit while I ran to HD to get a new supply line and it went under the toilet so the grout still looks a bit wet right past the edge of the bowl base. I'll need to get that dried out to be sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does leak sometime.

    We plan on replacing that toilet (and our other one which I will assume is mounted exactly like it) down the road and was wondering what would be the best way to fix this mess. I know virtually nothing about plumbing, but this was obviously not the way to go about things. Unfortunately we needed the toilet back in commission, so we just tried to put it back the way it was for now.

    Thanks in advance for any help/advice!

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,329
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I appreciate the need to do a quick "just for now" job, but that really isn't going to be satisfactory for long. Given the facts that you have no plumbing experience, and the proper repairs will require some expertise, your best course of action is to call a plumber. You need a real flange that is properly connected to the drain and anchored securely to the sub floor, and the flooring must be in good condition. This is a pretty good undertaking even for a fairly experienced DIY. All toilets with the exception for a few Toto models using a different connection method, install the same way, so repairing the flange situation now will not impact replacing the toilet later with a new one.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    What is the ID of the CI pipe? If it is 4", then the easiest thing would be to pick up a flange designed to stick into the pipe, then tighten it down. It will have a ribbed rubber sealing gasket to make that seal, and either screw or bolts to expand it to tighten it up. You'd have to make sure the inside of the pipe was pretty clean and smooth first to ensure a good seal, though. THen, you'd need to drill some holes into the concrete to anchor the flange to the slab. If it is a 3" ID pipe, then it gets a lot more involved - you'd have to excavate enough concrete around the pipe to install a flange on the outside rather than the inside. An old-school, well skilled plumber would probably install a new flange and use a poured lead joint, and this is still probably the highest strength, longest lasting way to do it, but if you're lucky, it's 4" ID, and you can do it yourself.
  4. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX

    It's ceramic tile on a cement slab, so no subfloor. Wood I can do, that's easy. Plumbing not so much besides replacing a supply line or shutoff valve kind of stuff. We figured it's been this way for the three years we've been in the house and who knows how long before that, so if we can get 6 months or so till we decide what we're going to do with the bathroom remodel then we'll be happy.
  5. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    I didn't even think to measure the pipe, but I'm pretty sure it was 4". At 10pm last night I just wanted it back together :eek: I know we're going to be putting in new toilets, most likely this summer, so we figured it's been this way for the 3 years we've lived here (and who knows how long before that) that if we can get by till then it'll all be good. I'm sure our other toilet is mounted the same way.

    FWIW, there is probably 1/4" of pipe exposed out of the concrete. Maybe a hair less, so that there was about 1/8" or so gap from the top of the pipe to the bottom of the toilet horn. We used the thicker wax ring because there was right at an inch or so from the bottom of the square "hole" in the tile to where the horn starts to develop on the toilet.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England

    Attached Files:

  7. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    Something like this:
    C888GPM.jpg

    Would it be a good idea to fill in part of the gap around the pipe (eg. the corners) for more support of the flange? It's a good 6 x 6" square around the pipe, maybe even a little bigger than that as I didn't measure it at the time.

    Even if I don't attempt the repair, at least I'll know how it should be done which is just as important to me.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    That would work, but I prefer those that also expand to help make the seal. It still shouldn't leak, as there's not normally much pressure in a drain system as long as the interior of the pipe is not all corroded or covered with crud (might need a steel brush to clean things up some).

    If you have a gap all around the pipe, you can also use one that fits around the pipe...those also come in both plastic and metal. I'd consider filling around the hole with something...maybe hydraulic cement which doesn't shrink, and actually expands slightly to make a good seal. You'll need a carbide bit and a hammer drill will work better than a stock one to drill holes for fastening the ring, which is essential for any, except maybe one that is leaded in and fully supported around it. You might be able to embed lead anchors if you put in hydraulic cement, but since you have to work fast, and positioning is critical, you may not have time to get them in in the proper position. The sooner you drill the holes after things firm up, the easier it is to drill.
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