Broken closet flange bolt

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by wideglidejohnny, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. wideglidejohnny

    wideglidejohnny New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Central PA
    Hello everyone. First time poster here.

    I have an old toilet that has been our main toilet for about 25 years now, and yesterday I noticed that the one flange bolt that holds the toilet down was completely broken off and just lying on the floor. No idea how that happened, other than it may have just rusted away and fell off.

    My question is on how I should proceed. Is it safe to use the toilet with only one bolt holding it down? Will it start leaking at the bottom?

    Should I remove the toilet and replace the wax ring and install two new closet bolts?

    Would you recommend that I just buy another toilet? I really like this old toilet as it uses tons of water to flush and it hardly ever clogs. I realize the newer toilets use a lot less water when flushing and that worries me. My top priority is a toilet that doesn't clog and I don't mind using a little extra water if that assures me of a clog free toilet.

    I've read a lot of good things about the Toto toilets and am seriously considering one of them. In your opinion, which toilet would flush better, my old 25 year old toilet that uses a lot of water or the new Toto Ultramax II?

    Hey guys, thanks for listening. This is some nice site you have here. I'm sure I'll be a frequent visitor.

    Thanks
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,398
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Flange bolts are easy to replace although you do have to remove the toilet to access the flange. These are Tee bolts that just slide into slots in the flange. You will also need a new wax ring. Get one without the plastic funnel. With a broken bolt, you toilet can move, that what the bolts prevent. When a toilet moves, the wax ring seal is broken and the toilet can leak water if there is a back up in the drain, and will leak sewer gas all of the time. Your concerns about poor flushing without using over 3 gallons of water per flush are unfounded. True, cheap build grade toilets sold in discount houses do not perform well, but a Toto Ultramax II will get the job done as would any of the other Toto models.
  3. wideglidejohnny

    wideglidejohnny New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Central PA
    Thanks Gary for your fast and helpful response.

    So, I guess an Ultramax II may be in my future. I guess the old saying "you get what you pay for", really holds true with toilets.

    Dang, I was really hoping to find a $100.00 toilet that flushed great. No chance huh?

    Again, thanks for your help. I'll probably try to install two new flange bolts until I decide for sure on the Toto.

    Thanks
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,398
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Not a bad plan to replace the bolts for a temporary fix. You can get them at any hardware store for next to nothing. You might want to get the old toilet up before buying you repair supplies. If the flange was properly installed, it will be setting on top of the finished floor. If so, then a standard sized plain wax ring will be in order. If for some reason the flange is recessed below the top of the finished floor, then a jumbo ring will be better. When you get the flange bolts, get 2 extra nuts. When you put the bolts in place, secure them with those extra nuts to keep them upright and prevent them from sliding around with the toilet is place on the bolts. Set the toilet back in place and use you body weight to compress the wax ring until the toilet skirt is resting on the floor all the way around. Then put the washers and nuts on the bolts and snug them down. Don't try to seat the toilet on the wax with the flange bolts and nuts. They are intended to hold the toilet in place. If this is going to be temporary, you can omit trimming the flange bolt tops to size and caulking around the base if you wish.
  5. wideglidejohnny

    wideglidejohnny New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Central PA
    Thanks again Gary,

    When I remove the old toilet to replace the two flange bolts, would I need to remove the top tank, as it is a two piece toilet? I realize that if I don't remove the tank it would make it harder to lift the old toilet and also to reinstall it after the flange bolts are in place. Also, do most plumbers recommend using caulking around the base? I always thought that they actually didn't recommend that. And lastly, how exactly should the wax ring be installed? On the bottom of the toilet or sitting on the flange and putting the toilet down on top of it, or doesn't it really matter?

    Thanks
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,398
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I would not remove the tank. While it would lighten the toilet, the replacement would require a new gasket and just be a general PITA. Even with new two piece toilets, it's usually easier to attach the tank to the bowl before the install. Of course with one piece toilets, you don't have the option. Caulking is required by code in most, if not all, areas. Some places require caulking around the entire base, while others, like Washington, want the back left open. There are three purposes of the caulking. One is to prevent water from a spill, mopping, or poor aim, from getting under the toilet. A second purpose is to contain a leak in the wax ring should it occur. Finally, the caulk will help secure the toilet from moving. My comment about not caulking was based on this being a temporary fix. A new toilet should be caulked with a latex caulk (not silicone). The wax ring should be placed on the flange and the toilet lowered on to it. There is an optional wax-less seal that can be used instead of the wax ring. The wax-less seals are much cleaner to use, and they have the advantage of allowing the toilet to be removed and replaced without changing the seal each time. Fluid Master is one brand that makes these wax-less seals, It is recommended by plumbers with much more experience than I have to disregard the installation instructions with these seals and place them on the toilet first. Many of us DIY find two people make setting a toilet easier, but pros will scoff at that, but remember where you and I may do 2 or 3 in 20 years, these guys will do hundreds. Age and physical strength enter into the picture as well. Finally, the thing to remember about wax rings is that the compress, but once they are squished, that's it. No do overs with them.
  7. wideglidejohnny

    wideglidejohnny New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Central PA
    Gary, You've been very helpful. Thanks.

    I will have a go at it in the next few days and will post back with my results. Hopefully the back holds out:)

    Piece of cake? Yeah right...

    Thanks
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,398
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Well, it's not rocket science, but like many things, there are some skills required.
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