Cut Out For Flange

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by jdjd, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. jdjd

    jdjd New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NE
    The toilet flange itself is not an issue. I am using a product from Set-Rite that includes a gasket, 2 spacers and a flange extender that will raise the flange to the correct level for the finished tile.

    As a newbie, I am concerned about the tile cut for the flange - see the attached picture. The toilet would face north in this picture, with a partial tile and only a little of the flange in the tile behind it.

    I borrowed a cheapo wet saw (one of those $50 big box store models) to cut out for the flange (and other tiles), but there is only about 2" on either side of the flange circumference. The distance between the 2 sticks on either side of the flange is 7 3/4".

    I'm looking for alternatives on how best to cut out for the flange. I know how to do it on a wet saw, and could use nippers to clean up the cut. But given the small amount of tile on either side of the flange, ~2", I expect the tile could/would easily snap off.

    But what about the following idea?

    Why not just take out a big rectangular notch - see picture. Yes I lose a little bit of tile on each corner, more on the front corners than the back ones in the picture. But I would think these missing corners would not show when the toilet base is placed over the tile.

    Yet in all my searches I've never seen this alternative suggested. There must be a reason.

    Is this an acceptable alternative or not, and if not why?

    Or are there other less error prone alternatives?

    thanks

    Attached Files:

  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,626
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IF the bowl is large enough to cover the corners, (which is often NOT the case), it will work. Otherwise, make a series of tangential cuts to create a "round hole".
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,348
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Are you aware that the flange is supposed to rest on top of the finished floor? If it is recessed you will have to used a thicker wax ring, perhaps two rings, possible spacers ring(s) to compensate. The cut out should be large enough for the outlet of the flange to pass through but small enough to allow the flange ring to set on top of the tile. The fit does not have to be perfect. Notches in the tile to allow for screws to anchor the flange to the sub floor will be easier than drilling.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,973
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It is easy to cut circles with a wet saw when it has a small diameter blade. Just score the circle in the top of the tile and then drill a series of small holes through to the bottom. Then turn the tile over and join the dots with the wet saw. With a large wet saw I just make many radial cuts and then use nippers.
  5. Voere

    Voere New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    wa.
    I had a similar situation with a tile floor. Instead of cutting a round hole in the tile. I notched it out and installed one of these type supports. May not be the proper thing to use but it worked for me. I was lucky the tile and the support were the same thickness. All I did was removed a couple pieces of tile and chiseled a little more tile to install the support. Worked out fine for my needs.

    click on the link

    http://www.siouxchief.com/Specialties/Toilet/Closet-Flange-Floor-Support.DBONO
  6. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    What I would do is score the circumference of the circle with a hand held tile scorer, or even a glass cutter; then with your wet saw, make a bunch of cuts from the "South end" of the tile to the scored line every 1/4 inch or so, leaving a bunch of "fingers" that are easily snapped off at the score line. Start out in the center, and as you break off the center fingers, you will have more room to make more cuts around the circle. 2 inches of meat around the hole should be no problem to hand hold while you snap off the fingers.
    I've done this, and it works well. If you want to you can use a tile file to make the cut look really neat after you use a nipper if need be. This would give good support under the flange as well.
    Another way would be to cut the tile into 3 sections and use a carbide encrusted rod hack saw blade to cut the part circles out of each section. these blades work well on ceramic tile, but I never tried it on porcelain ones.:)
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  7. jadziedzic

    jadziedzic Member

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Here's something to consider if your toilet flange is connected to a 3-inch pipe: One of those "slide inside" flange extenders will reduce the diameter of the flange opening by about a half-inch or so, causing about a 30% reduction in cross-sectional area of the pipe. Will that contribute to clogs? I don't know, but it seems to me it would. In a similar situation I decided the "right" approach was to have the flange removed and a new one installed at the proper height. As others have noted, the flange is supposed to rest on top of the finished floor, so I tiled up to the outside of the riser before the new flange was glued in place.
  8. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    lets not fly off on a tangent here hj.

    Radially yours,

    Bob

    :D
  9. pipehacker

    pipehacker New Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Iowa
    I think that you are both just looking for a piece of the pi.
  10. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    well, you are 3.414% coorect

    Ahh, make that 3.14. Getting older, can't remember everything exactly. Makes a big difference in calculations, though!:eek:
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  11. jdjd

    jdjd New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NE
    Follow-up on gap around flange

    Thanks for all the great the feedback. I will probably try BobL 43's approach.

    RE: Are you aware that the flange is supposed to rest on top of the finished floor?

    Yes. The Set Rite kit comes with a gasket, 2 spacers and an extender that fits into the existing flange. The 2 spacers will sit 'basically' level with the top of the tile, and the extender sits above that or on top of the tile.

    RE: One of those "slide inside" flange extenders will reduce the diameter ... causing about a 30% reduction in cross-sectional area of the pipe. Will that contribute to clogs?

    Interesting comment. I'll check with the manufacturer. I agree that the best approach is to remove the old flange and install a new one at the proper height. I'm trying to save a few $ since this is something I can do myself.

    RE: Another way would be to cut the tile into 3 sections and use a carbide encrusted rod hack saw blade to cut the part circles out of each section.

    I though about this, but if I understand it correctly, then I would have a 'crack' along each side of the toilet where the 2 side sections sit next to the 3rd larger section. Wouldn't this look ugly?


    I've included another picture of the flange without the paper cutout.

    Someone else told me most times a square or rectangular cut will show along the sides toward the back of the toilet where it curves in towards the back. The toilet rounds to the back and the corners of that square cut will show.

    This got me to thinking about the gap I have between the existing flange and the Ditra covered with thin-set. The gap matches the hole in the new underlayment I put down. The gap is 1/4" wide in most places, but does go to 1/2" in part of the circumference. The overall diameter from one side of the gap to the other is 7 3/4".

    I planned to bring the tile to the edge of this gap. Am I possible too far away from the flange in places and if I cut my hole to the size of the gap, it might show? That is, should I have the tile overlap this gap and come as close as possible to the flange circumference? And if so, what should I fill the gap in with?

    Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,997
    Location:
    New England
    In a perfect world, the tile would sit UNDERNEATH the rim of the flange. Only then are you guaranteed that the toilet would cover all gaps. If the tile is a hard porcelain, it will laugh at a carbide anything...it must be diamond to cut it. Lots of radial cuts with the wetsaw and the fingers left snap out fairly easily. If you have a grinder, a diamond cup wheel for the thing would also make the cuts necessary. Now, if you want a really neat tool, you can buy a diamond blade band/ring saw that, on the size tile you have would allow quite intricate cuts. Neat for making mosaics.
  13. jdjd

    jdjd New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NE
    Yes, porcelain tile so I will use a diamond blade.

    RE: In a perfect world, the tile would sit UNDERNEATH the rim of the flange. Only then are you guaranteed that the toilet would cover all gaps.

    That is what I needed to know. So I will cut the tile around the flange so that it comes right up to the existing flange. That is, it will cover the 1/4" to 1/2" (in a few places) gap that is between the underlayment/Ditra/thinset layer now and the flange.

    What should I fill this gap in with, or will it be ok to just let the tile 'float' over this space?

    Thanks.
  14. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I think you misinterpreted what Jim meant. The tile "should" be pretty much under the flange enough so that when you use screws to hold the flange itself to the floor would go through the tile. Looks like your flange is even lower than the cement backer board surface. You said the flange and the seal to the toilet is "not an issue" in your first post. In any case, it is good to insure that the flange is secured to the floor so when the toilet is secured to the flange, the flange wouldn't try to break off the sanitary bend if the toilet were bumped too hard or whatever.
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,997
    Location:
    New England
    Since you won't be walking on the tile edges that are underneath the toilet next to the flange, it doesn't really matter much what you do, but you could be sloppy with the thinset. In truth, no tile should be butted up against a rigid surface, so a small gap isn't a bad idea. The pipe and the tile will expand and contract at different rates. The plastic pipe is somewhat flexible, but the tile failure mode called tenting occurs when there is no place for the tile to expand, and instead, it ends up pushing itself up, breaking the bond into what looks like a tent ridge. This can be a big problem in a large expanse of tile without expansion joints, or one where the tile are butted up against solid objects. Typically, you would need to account for expansion joints on exterior tiled jobs, or interior ones that cover a large area, or get direct sunlight from the windows, if the area is large enough.
  16. jdjd

    jdjd New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NE
    BobL43, Jim,

    I see the confusion from my original statement that the flange and the seal to the toilet were not an issue. The flange in the original picture was the existing flange that I am not cutting out.

    The 2 pictures in this reply (side and top down view) show how the spacers and flange extender will look. The black gasket goes between the red spacers and the existing flange. The yellow flange extender is bolted through the spacers and gasket to the existing flange and the floor with 6 self tapping screws.

    The toilet then bolts to the new flange extender. The tiles will come to approximately the same height as the 2 spacers (5/8" total), and the flange extender will then sit at a level above the tile.

    The drawbacks are a slightly smaller diameter for the new flange opening since it sits in the old flange, and the tile can not be put under the flange as per the correct way to do it.

    I had thought about cutting some 15/32" plywood to fill in the 1/4" to 1/2" gap around the existing flange (you can see the 1/2" gap at 6:00 in these picture), and then cutting a strip of Ditra to place on it.

    BUT, based on Jim's last comment, I still need an expansion gap around the circumference of the old flange and spacers, so I'll just leave the gap as is, and extend the tile over the gap without any support under it to within 1/4" of the spacers.

    Or is 1/8" ok?

    My thanks to all for the responses.

    Attached Files:

  17. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I am in the midst of my own bathroom reno now, and my intention is to have the 3 inch PVC riser from the sanitary el com through the subfloor and tile Cement backer board (not sure yet if I'll use that or Ditra), and cut it when I know the finished height of the tile floor so the flange will rest directly on top of the tile, and I can put those screws through the tile into the subfloor plywood. My situation is a little different then yours because I moved the bend from one side of the joist to the other side and was not constrained to leaving the flange at its original location and height. I was able to move the toilet over about 6 inches to the right by doing this, and still maintain the 15 inches from the toilet center to the finished wall. I needed to do this to gain enough room to install a storage cabinet.

    I am not sure how the tiling layout will be until I get the tile, which is 5 inches wide X 32 inches long. I'm not sure if that will make it easier for me than your situation or create me more grief with respect to your original post of how to cut the tile to look best. I guess I should order and pick up the floor tile so I can lay it out dry and see it. I have to master cutting the marble mosaic tiles so as not to break them during the cut. That's giving me a little grief right now. But that's another story, posted on the John Bridge tile forum.:)
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