Broken Cast Iron Toilet Flange, above finished floor - What to do?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by MI_DiYer, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. MI_DiYer

    MI_DiYer New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Hi everyone,

    First, let me say thanks to everyone on this site...I think it's great you are all willing to share your knowledge and experience with DIYers like me. Not only do I like to save a few $$, but I like to make sure it is done right and have the satisfaction of doing it right myself.

    I've been reading posts on this site for the past few days to get some advice on my current bathroom remodel. Things I have read come close, but I thought it might be best to see if some of you experienced folks could comment on my exact issue.

    The old toilet in this room had a "seepage" out of one of the bolt holes in the base. I figured it needed a new wax ring, and might as well replace the toilet with a lower flow model like the new one in my other bathroom that works 10x better than this old 3.5 gal/flush beast. After carefully removing the toilet and scraping away to clean the flange, I found the following:

    - The CI flange is broken where the closet bolt would hold on (coincidentally or not, broken on the side that "seeped")
    - The floor is tiled, but the flange is above the floor, not sitting directly on it.
    - The flange is not secured to the floor. At best, I see a strap holding it up from below. However, the run is very short to the stack, and I have read some posts that you don't need extra support becuase CI is so strong (is that true?)
    - It looks like there was water leakage in the past, maybe even from the roof (around the vent stack), or maybe from the toilet seepage, or some other old problem that was fixed. But it looks fairly dry now. There is some greenish looking stuff around. I was NOT planning on ripping up the floor and changing out boards.

    So, at first, I thought the CI is old and rusty, so I should just remove it to the stack and change all that to PVC (with a SS flange of course), bolted to the floor, sitting flat on the floor. Then, when I learned the complexities of CI removal, I'm having second thoughts.

    Here are my questions:

    Is this CI in good enough shape to last another 30 years?
    Should I call a couple plumbers for advice / estimates?
    Or should I just use a SS repair ring and set the new toilet with a standard ring and it will be fine?
    Is it okay that the flange is not bolted down, given how close it is to the stack and the metal strap?
    How can I tell if the water damage is still occurring? Is it okay to leave the wood AS IS?

    I'll post some pictures shortly to make it easier for everyone to see what I am descibing.

    I'm hoping in all of your experiences, you will be able to give me some confident advice.

    Thanks!

    Shawn
  2. MI_DiYer

    MI_DiYer New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Pics

    As you can see in the pictures, the flange is pretty rusty and it sits above the floor (from the floor to the bottom of the flange) by 7/16" on the broken side and about 1/4" on the other side.

    Attached Files:

  3. MI_DiYer

    MI_DiYer New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    More Pics

    These pictures show the 4" line going from the flange down into a 3" pipe, with a strap and the pipe joints holding it all up, and the water damage I mentioned.

    Attached Files:

  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    Maine
    well you could cut the cast below and change it over to PVC but you are also going to have to cut up the floor around the flange and replace it because the new flange won't be the same size and you won't have anything solid to screw it to or you can get any number of repair flanges that either fit in or over what you already have or you can pull the broken flange out and lead in a new one.

    For your grammar folks that's called a run on sentence.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,510
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; well you could cut the cast below and change it over to PVC

    And you COULD sell your car every time the ashtray was full, but that would NOT be the best way to fix it. Your flange was installed by a "lazy" plumber who did not want to measure when he installed it. Otherwise he would have used the two smaller "slots" for the bolts, not the ones he used. His way often results in broken flanges, the other way it almost NEVER happens. Have a plumber break the flange off and lead/oakum a new one on. It should take about a half hour and you will have the BEST installation possible. It does NOT have to be screwed down.
  6. MI_DiYer

    MI_DiYer New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Thanks for your help. I called a couple plumbers to make sure I got one that can handle lead/oakum, since some of them only seem to want to deal with PVC. I have a plumber coming this week that can do it, but he said he would look at it to determine the best approach. Based on your advice, I plan to steer him towards a new CI flange, but we'll see how it goes.
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