Moving toilet four inches

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Lina, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Lina

    Lina New Member

    Hi, on Saturday we gutted our tacky "mobile home style" bathroom that was last remodeled ca. 1980 out of part of the back porch of our Victorian-era house.

    We want to move the toilet location four inches to one side. The drain outlet for the toilet is very old cast iron pipe. (Evidently there was some sort of toilet on the back porch prior to the 1980 remodeling.) There is room in the joist bay to move it by at least 8". Access from under the house is easy via a generous crawl space.

    What would be the best course of action? I know of three possibilities:

    1) Move the cast iron pipe as-is (not sure if that is possible).

    2) Rip out the cast iron and replace it with PVC in the new location. (Would it be a good idea to get rid the antique cast iron anyhow?)

    3) Install a cast iron offset flange. (Would that create an extra bend where "effluent" would hang up? We bought a new, expensive Toto toilet just to avoid such problems. Also, would it be a pain for the plumber doing the work to have to deal with the cast iron connection?)

    A plumber will be doing the work, and we will listen to his opinion, but I always like to have a good understanding of what is going on so that I can keep tabs on things.

    Thanks all,
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Some of the Toto toilets allow the bowl to move forward or backward 2"
    They would be the ones that have the Unifit adapter.
    They come standard for a 12" rough, and 10"'s and 14"'s can be ordered.
    Since you are going for 4", not 2", then the decision is whether the plumbers should move the drain itself.

    With four inches, it looks like the plumber will be going into the crawlspace, and depending on what he sees, and his ability, he can make the 4" change. He might do it in Cast, or he may convert to plastic.
    Either way, with the open space you mention, it should be doable.
    If the plumber is in the crawlspace, he might as well move it, and not do an "offset" flange.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Cast-iron is not "antique", just too expensive for most homes. A 4" offset is sometimes harder to do than a larger one, but it may be easiest using cast iron. Your plumber will know the best way, regardless of what you tell him.
  4. Lina

    Lina New Member

    OK, thanks Terry and HJ. I will definitely rely on the plumber but I feel more comfortable when I know what's going on.

    I wasn't aware that cast iron was still being installed. I thought it rusted through after awhile and maybe it would be logical to replace it.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    It would be my advice to stop micro-managing a professional doing the job they are trained to do. I'm sure you haven't thought of it this way, but that's what you are doing. I doubt that you tell your doctor or dentist how to do his job, why would a plumber be any different?:)
  6. Lina

    Lina New Member



    What's wrong with being an informed consumer??

    You ask about doctors and dentists: I could tell you several stories about people close to me who saved themselves trouble and literal pain by informing themselves beforehand about possible treatments for medical conditions, and a couple about people who blindly listened to what the first doctor said, and ended up in bad shape. So yeah, I do ask questions of my doctor and dentist. And there've been times I did my research, followed their advice, but it eventually turned out I was right and they were wrong. Nobody knows everything.
  7. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    New Hampshire
    There are plumbing craftsmen who do plumbing and take into consideration the best-value way of solving the problem for the customer, or sometimes the lowest cost way that will meet the customer's needs.

    There are also salesmen who do plumbing who try to scare some customers, often women and elderly, to "upsell" them into more expensive jobs that may be nice but which also may be more than they need or can afford.

    The informed customer can sort out the real plumbers from the salesmen who do plumbing to achieve their marketing objectives and maximize profit at the expense of the customer.
  8. LouRocco

    LouRocco New Member

    Connecticut, USA
    Hi All,

    I've been a long-time reader of this forum, but this is my first post. It's in response to Gary's advice to Lina.

    While I agree with Gary that I wouldn't tell a doctor or dentist how to DO (as in EXECUTE) his job, I most certainly would ask questions about the job he was GOING TO DO before he did it. Once the surgeon starts cutting, I don't think I'll be offering suggestions, but before he cuts, I want to be as informed as possible. Same goes with a plumber.

    And as for blindly trusting professionals, I'm with Lina all the way on this one. I live in an area where Lyme Disease is rampant. I've had it, as have many people that I know -- some more than once. Yet, to my astonishment, I still hear of people with obvious symptoms of Lyme going to see physicians and being misdiagnosed. I have a friend who presented, during the summer, with a red, circular rash on her neck and the doc didn't even consider Lyme. He told her it was contact dermatitis. Needless to say, it was Lyme, and she unfortunately didn't find out until the ensuing joint pains and 103 degree fever. I'm willing to bet that most laymen in this area would have at least considered this diagnosis upon seeing a rash like that in the summer time.

    So, I don't think it's fair to call people who want to be informed or who question professionals "micromanagers". After all, the Romans coined the expression "Caveat Emptor" ("Let the buyer beware") a couple of thousand years ago!
  9. coastalredwood

    coastalredwood Junior Member

    Eureka, Ca.
    It seems answers to your question got sidetracked. Cast iron is not obsolete, but no longer often used residentially. It's much quieter than ABS (black plastic) so if a drain from an upstairs bathroom crossed over your living room ceiling you'd be smart to use cast. Otherwise you'd hear the trickling flow of a flushed toilet as it traveled across the room. Cast is practical in such instances, its only problem other than being heavy and expensive is over many years it can get smaller inside as stuff sticks to it. I don't think that happens with plastic, but that's what cleanouts are for.

    In your case the plumber will probably cut the cast away, use rubber no-hub fittings to connect ABS parts to the existing cast. Or he might use no-hub fittings and stick with cast iron parts; either way the old lead and oakum is seldom used anymore and with a no-hub and an angled fitting even you can swing it over 4".
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    My customers trust me to do the job that is required, so they usually call me, tell me what the problem is, then go watch television or read a book until I get done. They do not tell me tell me what is causing the problem, orhow they think I should do the job. I suppose they do not want to waste a lot of time learning about plumbing when there are better things to spend their time on. IF you are going to get a "hack" plumber, (whether incompetent or a gouger), then telling him how to do the job is the least of your concerns.
  11. Lina

    Lina New Member


    Thanks for your answer. That's interesting to know. The plumber did end up removing the cast iron. The main waste line had already been replaced with plastic a few years back so now the whole thing is plastic. This is under the house, so noise is not a concern. The old cast iron piece was pretty corroded-looking on the outside. The plumber also found a crack in the vent stack so he had to take care of that too.
  12. Lina

    Lina New Member

    I understand that no one likes someone standing over them every minute of the job asking questions and making comments. It would be both annoying and distracting.

    I am not talking about that. I am talking about being informed enough to have an intelligent discussion with a professional before the job is started. (then going away and letting him work and checking in now and then to ask "how's it going"?)

    I'm one of those dangerous weirdos who likes to learn about *everything*. (Advertisers and politicians do not like people like me.)

    Most professionals I have dealt with seem pleased when I am able to discuss a job with them in their own terminology, and seem somewhat relieved when I can give them basic information about the various systems in my house. It saves them time and therefore saves me money.

    Sometimes you don't know they're a hack until they're gone... and the city inspects your new washing machine hookup and fails it... the guy comes back to "fix" it... it fails again...and again... until the plumbing company finally sends out someone competent. (This actually happened to us. We do not deal with that plumbing company anymore.)

    Anyway, even if you have someone you trust doing the work, they may have different priorities than you do about whether-- for example-- the tile wall or heart pine floor ought to be torn up to get to the work--- maybe one would be cheaper and easier--- but you'd rather the other be sacrificed despite the cost--- or there could be other choices involved that are "six and one half dozen" as far as the final functionality of the plumbing goes, but maybe the homeowner has a distinct preference and needs to know what is going on in order to make a decision.
  13. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    A flushometer does indeed go on a special toilet. It also requires a larger supply line than you would typically find in a residence.

    There are Flushmate style toilets that can be used in a residential application. However many of us shy away from them as they are loud, spash water on the seat and worse, and have higher repair costs. Most of us here prefer the high performance gravity flush toilets.

    The MaP Report Does not tell the full story. Some of the lowest quality toilets made actually manage to do very well in the MaP testing but in real life faired not so well. The Am. Std. Champion is the poster child of this bunch and now users are still having problems with the 4th version of it! The MaP report is only a flush test and not a quality test.

    I would suggest looking at Terry's consumer report on low flow toilets to see the results from his in the home testing of toilets. Before buying one.

    As for new questions you may feel free to continue here but if you start a new topic people who may have stopped looking at this one because of the subject matter may find interest in the new topic.
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