Replacing Cast Iron Toilet Flange

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by wptski, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    Replacing a 56 year old toilet. Should have went with my gut feeling about the top of pipe being jagged and at one spot actually higher than the flange but didn't. Metal flange in wax ring contacted the high point of pipe, snap, I broke the cast iron flange.:mad:

    I drilled holes in the lead and used a Fein Multimaster to cut the webs between the holes. I used the Fein and DeWalt saw to trim the pipe to the floor level(tiled).

    Okay, I have a Oatey(PVC) expandable that goes on the inside of the 4" pipe and a Sioux Chief that goes on the outside. I haven't tried the Sioux Chief because I may have to enlarge to hole in the floor even larger. I'm leaning towards the Oatey which is tight and I'm in process of clean up the pipe ID.

    Either way or either flange has mounting holes to attach to the floor. What floor? If a old lead chaulked flange was used the hole is so big there'll no floor there. Even the original cast iron flange didn't use screws.

    I watch a This Old House video where they used the Oatley version which uses compression on the pipe OD and he didn't even mention or use the screw holes.

    This Oatey PVC ID version seems to be so tight even before expanding it, screws "might" not be needed. I doubt if the old one was level either. I'm wondering how critical that is too since the wax ring will compensate for any uneveness? Is the pipe even level/square to the floor too?

    Comments please?
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    When a flange is properly installed onto a cast-iron pipe with lead and oakum, the joint is solid enough that the flange does not need to be screwed down to the floor. Any other type of flange connection needs to have the flange screwed down to the floor. In your case, this might mean patching the floor first.

    You have to remember that the flange and flange bolts are the only thing holding the toilet in place. Somebody trips and bangs the toilet, and it moves even a little, you can compromise the seal, and then you have a leak.

    Do it right, and you will only have to do it once.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
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    What kind of "wax ring" has a "metal flange" in it? Even if it did, it should not have been able to snap the cast iron. I would replace it with another lead/oakum flange, but the inside of the pipe is seldom smooth enough to seal to a rubber gasketed flange. Even the outside might not be suitable for the Sioux Chief one.
  4. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    What's the screw holes on a lead chaulked flange for then? So the "This Old House" plumber did it wrong?

    Now that I have cleaned up the pipe ID, the Oatey expandable goes in all the way but not pefectly level, still loose yet. It has two sets of holes on two different bolt diameters. If I use the T-slots there are two holes, 180 deg. apart that I can use.
  5. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    A Solder Seal Gunk sold at Lowes. If it would have had a no flange or possibly a plastic one like an Oatey, it "might" have worked. The sharp point of the pipe actually pierced the metal but after that it started to mash/mangle it and got caught. Lucky I didn't break the toilet. I was using a ratchet but not even using the handle just holding the head.

    Both Oatey and Sioux Chief make one for a pipe OD, so they make stuff that don't work?
  6. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,771
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I might not be quite as aggressive with a guy that at north of 70 will still haul his cable machine up onto a roof and has probably been doing this longer than you've been alive. Just sayin'.

    In any event, the answer to your question has two parts. First, uh, yeah. They do. Or, perhaps more politely, they make products that some consumers might use but that other professionals would recommend avoiding. See what the consensus is on here about flange extension rings that go on top of the flange, for just one example. Or some interior flanges in certain pipe diameters.

    The second part of the answer is simply that the same product might work acceptably in one type of pipe but not in or on another. As an example, the mottled surface of the kind of pipe to which I have usually seen lead and oakum flanges attached might not make a suitable seal with the flanges that you are discussing. Another type of pipe might make a better seal. So it isn't necessarily the product per se, but sometimes the application.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  7. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    I
    Okay, I'm 68 years young and a retired machine repairman from the auto industry after >35 years and not a plumber.

    I went to local plumbing supply looking for the Oatey OD grip version and a real plumber overheard me and suggested the ID grip version. Stated that he's used them for 35 years. The OD of my pipe does have two seam like bumps 180 degrees apart which affect its grip. The OD versions if I'm thinking correctly, would need to seal as well but not a ID version unless the pipe got plugged.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,828
    Location:
    New England
    THe toilet flange needs to seal both fluids and gasses. It certainly doesn't hurt to anchor the CI flange on a CI pipe to the floor, but the assembly is usually quite robust when done right. As already mentioned...it is what holds the toilet in position on the floor, and anchoring the flange to the floor certainly doesn't hurt!
  9. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Any of those flanges might work under all the right circumstances. If the pipe is not perfectly smooth where the sealing surface of the new flange is, it will be likely to leak. It has been said time and time again to avoid any flange which is plastic where the toilet bolts go through, because they do often crack. The only good PVC/ABS flanges have a stainless steel ring for the toilet bolts and for mounting to the floor.
  10. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    True, it would be better if anchored to the floor. Looks like I'll be drilling through some tile! It seems as though either the ID/OD grip might be better at sealing gases than fluids under all conditions and other type is reversed.

    I think that I offended a few by being a noobie and questioning the answers given. I'm a retired journeyman and never ever had a problem with an apprentice questioning one of my answers.
  11. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,771
    Location:
    New York, NY
    No worries. I think "tone" is sometimes hard to discern in emails and forum posts. I wasn't bothered by the substance of the question as much as what I perceived as the tone of the follow-up. HJ himself can write posts that come across as a little cranky sometimes, and I noted that his particular post on your issue was a model of polite, caring information-delivery; maybe that's why I chafed at what I (maybe erronerously) took to be the tone of your response. Sorry.
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