Toilet flange extender, do they work

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by djlazar, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. djlazar

    djlazar Electrician

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    My wife had Home Depot install tile flooring in her bathroom before I married her. The toilet started clogging soon after. It's a Toto Drake, if that makes a difference, and I couldn't get a snake down it, so I took it off. The toilet flange is over 2 inches down from the finished floor with several wax rings built up between the flange and the toilet. It doesn't leak, which is strange, but stuff keeps getting caught on the wax rings when you flush. So here's my 2 part question:

    1: Do toilet flange extender kits work? Do they leak? I would have to buy 2 or 3 extenders to build up enough to reach the toilet, unless I can find a 2 inch one.

    2: Do those cobra toilet augers they sell at Lowes work better than a normal 50 foot snake? I hate having to drag that rusty dirty thing into my house every time my kids flush baby wipes down the toilet, and so far I haven't been able to get a snake down our Toto past the flange anyway.
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    There would not be much sense in trying to clean a toilet's trap with a 50 foot snake. A plunger and a closet auger will be more than enough to clear a toilet. If you need to clean a main line, you do it through a cleanout or you pull the toilet.

    2" too much for a reliable "quick fix". Do you have any access from below? If so, I would cut out the riser, build up the hole in the floor and re-install new with the flange on top.

    What the other options are would depend on the accessibility, position of the closet bend, and what kind of pipe you are working with.
  3. djlazar

    djlazar Electrician

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Crawl space, fortunately. Rusty cast iron pipe, unfortunately. I've seen pictures on this site of some waxless wax ring things which look like a pipe you glue to the bottom of the toilet, with a gasket at the bottom of the pipe that looks like it goes into the existing pipe. I don't know anything about plumbing, but is that an option?

    Also, these closet augers, will they get down a toto? They're expensive and I don't want to have the same problem I'm having with my big 50 footer and not be able to make that last bend in the toilet trap.
  4. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    I've used a Ridgid closet auger but not on a Toto and it worked when paper toweling was flushed. It was on a old whatever installed in 1956 where debris flow was to the front not the rear like a modern toilet. Very difficult to use because you are angled towards the wall and it has a plastic protector to keep from scratching the bowl's surface with the cable.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I have never had a need for a closet auger. If a plunger doesn't get it, then chances are something like a kid's toy found its way part way around the bend and would probably need the toilet to be lifted off the flange.

    As for those flange extenders that have a tail that slips down the pipe with an O-ring to seal, they require that the existing pipe have a smooth enough inside surface to seal against, probably not what you would find with old CI.
  6. djlazar

    djlazar Electrician

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Thank you!
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    There may be ways to extend what you have and make it work. But, if it was mine, I'd go to the drain line, cut it off and start over from there. I'd likely hire a plumber to do it, especially dealing with old cast iron, and wanting to be certain the job with done right. Depends on how much you feel you want to try to DIY. I know things like baby wipes are not recommended to be flushed, but if a Toto is installed on a properly located flange, I think the wipe would flush OK although I'd still work on training the little one(s) about what to flush. I doubt that a waxless seals will work on that much space. They do work well for small distances and irregular fitting flanges, but I'd be concerned about trusting them in your case. I'd opt for a flange set on top of the finished floor and fixing the interval properly. The one place I don't want a questionable connection is the toilet. In other places a leak can be a royal pain, but repairable usually without too much damage being done.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,242
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Most closet bolts are too short to reach a flange that is 2" below the floor. I VERY seldom have to remove a toilet because the closet auger did not work, you just have to know HOW to use it. As for trying to snake a toilet with ANY kind or size sewer snake, you will be lucky if it does not damage the finish in the bottom of the bowl.
  9. djlazar

    djlazar Electrician

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Too late. Rust marks on the bottom of my wife's new Toto. :(
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That would depend on how you extend the flange. If you simply stack shims, you are at the mercy of the length of supplied bolts if they even supply extra long bolts. The one shown below has 3.5 inch bolts.
    [​IMG]

    The OP was talking about a kit that doesn't need extra long bolts.
    [​IMG]
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    If the CI is in good shape, and the length of the horn on the flange is long enough, it might work. But, keep in mind that the thing that holds the toilet in place is the strength of the flange. Most plumbers do not like an all plastic flange - it's too easy to crack it, then the toilet is free to move around. You need to ensure that you get the flange securely anchored to the floor, too. SOme repairs are better than others. You can get a similar repair flange made of CI.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I don't think it is limited to just plumbers. I for one, prefer a steel flange. My posting of the pic is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product.

    The toilet should also be stuck down to the floor with caulk, not just held by the two bolts and the wax ring.
  13. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    There is also this type that has screws to expand and seal: http://www.oatey.com/Channel/Shared/ProductGroupDetail/106/Cast_Iron_Flange_Replacement.html

    It's supposed to be in either ABS or PVC for 4" pipe for either CI or PVC. I never found or seen the ABS version, only the PVC which I used.

    I removed a bunch of approx 22" long pieces of PVC pipe but right now I don't know what version/type that were cemented in the ground. Later found out to be a waste of time, I used a bottle jack with a press frame I had made years ago to remove the cement from inside the pipe. I was amazed how the PVC pipe itself never cracked when squeezed. Some had T's and 90"s on them which cracked. Makes one wonder, pipe is strong with weak fittings!! Not all plastic is that same.

    As far as the flange itself, one should always positiion the closet bolts at the very end of the slots which gives it more support, if at all possible.
  14. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    The toilet I just replaced installed in 1956 had four bolts but as I found out, two were fake! The front two that should have gone through the tile didn't.

    I also seen a video of well chalked toilet being removed and as they lifted it, the linoleum lifted as well.

    Aren't some of the flanges, plastic with a steel mounting part? I think there has been one thread here that showed a seperation of the two.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Home Depot has this one with a steel flange but it's not designed for CI. They might have one that is.

    [​IMG]
  16. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    Location:
    Land of Cheese
  17. djlazar

    djlazar Electrician

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Just a little FYI for everyone, Pampers wipes clog the toilet pretty easily. Sam's Club wipes flush pretty well. That $10 toilet auger from Lowes works quite well. And I found that Zurn flange. Thanks!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2014
  18. stephenk

    stephenk New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Plains
    Try Bar Keepers Friend.

    I did the same thing and BKF took out the marks so the toilet looked good as new. I found this product by googling and found that many people recommended it for this exact problem.

    http://www.barkeepersfriend.com/
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