Toilet flange not level

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by hawaiidisney, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

    Messages:
    21
    I am getting ready to install a new toilet and vanity. After taking up the old toilet and scrapping off the old wax, I put a level on the flange and it is not level. Will this cause the new toilet to be unlevel when I put it in after the floor goes down? Should the toilet sit on the floor with absolutely no gap between the bottom of the toilet and the floor? Thanks
  2. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    If it's installed correctly it should sit flat on the floor, not on the flange. The wax seal should take up any space. If it is slightly off level it's not a problem. 1/4" is not a big deal. 1" is serious problem. The flange should not actually touch the bottom of the toilet at all....theoretically.
  3. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

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    21
    Thanks Randy. I temporarily put the toilet down with no wax to see what would happen. It sits unlevel just like the flange so I assuming it is sitting on the flange. Hopefully when the new floor is put down, it will keep the toilet from resting on the flange.
  4. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Don't wait for the floor to be in. The underside of the flange should sit on the floor, and have several screws passing though the flange into the floor. Are those there?

    Put something the thickess of the new floor next to the flang, and see if it will still be above the new floor, rather than sitting on it. Or, simply measure.
  5. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    What type of floor? Vinyl is one thing but wood or floating floor is something else. A healthy wax ring takes up to 1" between the flange and the bottom of the toilet.
  6. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

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    21
    The old floor has been taken up so all I have is the support floor right now. The new floor will go on top of that. The underside of the flange is currently 1/2" above the floor. I am pretty sure the new floor is not 1/2" thick so the underside of the flange is probably still going to be a little above the floor. Is this going to cause me a problem when I put the toilet in?


    There are no screws going through the flange....should I assume the installer will do this when he puts the new floor down?
  7. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    You should assume NOTHING... it's your money and your floor and when that installer is gone you're going to have to live with it! I would avoid confrontation and ask him about it before he starts the job. If he is not going to take care of the flange and secure it properly then you need to be prepared for an alternative. Some floor guys will do it as part of their job and some will tell you quick "I ain't no plumber" and will add on an extra arm or leg to the price to put a few screws in. Personally, I would consider giving a customer an excellent job and top quality service just normal routine and proper business etiquette.
  8. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

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    21
    What purpose do the screws serve? Are you saying he should put screws through the flange and then through the new floor and sub floor to hold the new floor in place or do the screws secure the flange itself somehow?
  9. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    The screws hold the flange in place. The toilet in turn is bolted to the flange. Properly done, the toilet stays put, sitting level on the floor. Not done right...well, it sound like you've been living with the result. And a loose flange also puts the stress (of people pushing, sitting, banging into the bowl) on a joint in the drain pipe, rather than the screws designed to handle it.

    It's possible whoever removed the toilet/old floor took out the flange screws. Or, was that you?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  10. molo

    molo New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    cold new york
    Regarding the flange screws... Is there a specific type of screw material that should be used?

    TIA,
    Molo
  11. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Messages:
    630
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    brass or stainless are usualy recommended (no rust)
  12. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

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    21
    The old floor was the little 1"x1" and 1"x2" tiles that were used alot back in the 70's. The tiles went up to the outer part of the flange but there were no screws of any kind. Are the screws visible from the top of the flange? What do the screws screw to? I'm thinking the flange and the pipe going through the floor might be 1 piece.....is that possible? Or the flange is secured by other means....I'm not home right now so I can't check....anyway, what I thought was going to be a simple replacement has turned into a frustrating job....the life of a novice plumber I guess.
  13. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Yes, they are installed from the top. The holes for them are beveled, so they take the shape of screw called a "wood screw", which has a flat head and are beveled underneath the head.

    The subfloor (often 3/4" plywood or 1" boards, depending on age of house. Concrete, if it's a slab). However, if the hole for the toilet drain was cut too large, there would be nothing within the perimeter of the flange for it to screw to, so the screws would be omitted as useless.


    They should be joined in a fashion (solvent welded if plastic; sweated if copper; etc.) so as to effectively be one piece.

    There is really no other appropriate means. Relying on the pipe to locate the flange results in the kind of mess you had.

    I'm not home right now so I can't check....anyway, what I thought was going to be a simple replacement has turned into a frustrating job....the life of a novice plumber I guess.[/QUOTE]

    A picture might help. Also helpful to know:
    Floor construction (wood or concrete slab)
    Is there access from below
    Drain pipe material
  14. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Ted,

    What I do know without being home is the flange and drain pipe seem to be made out of cast iron. The subfloor is plywood.

    The flange is pretty secure although it moves a little if you try to move it side to side but I don't know what exactly is holding it in place. Could I get some screws and screw the flange to the subfloor myself?

    I will try to post a picture this evening.

    I really appreciate yours and everyone elses help!
  15. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Yes, you should screw the flange to the plywood after correcting the height problem. Don't just use screws to draw the flange down to the subfloor. As others noted, screws s/b brass or stainless - - I'm partial to stainless because they don't strip as readily as soft brass.

    Try to determine how the flange is joined to the pipe.
  16. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Ok, there are 4 screws there. I couldn't tell they were screws because of all the wax in and around the flange.

    So, it looks like the underside of the flange will be a little higher than the floor after the floor is put in. Any thoughts on what I can do about this or do I need to do anything about it.
  17. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    The flange bottom must rest firmly on a solid surface (preferably the finish floor, as this will automatically have the flange top in the right place) for support. The pipe should not be bearing any of the weight of the toilet and driver.

    Filling the gap beneath the flage could be as simple as putting a suitable material of the appropriate thickness into the gap, but keep in mind that the flange top must not be any higher above the finished floor than a little less than the depth of the recess in the bottom of the toilet...appx 0.5 inch, IIRC, but measure your toilet. It must fit into the recess and leave a little room for wax - - not squish it all out.

    Too low a flange (within limits) is an easy fix with add on flanges and/or thick wax rings. Too high can be much more of a PITA.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2007
  18. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Ok, I think I see what you are saying.....if the new floor doesn't fit snug under the flange then I need to make up the difference so the flange has something under it and snug against it to support the flange itself......is this correct?

    What happens if after the new floor is put in, I install the toilet and it doesn't touch the floor? I assume that would mean the toilet is resting on the flange and that's not good.....so what would I do then? Filling the gap between the flange and floor wouldn't help this would it?
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    The toilet is held in place by the bolts that connect it to the flange. The flange is held in place by screwing it to the floor. The seal is made (typically, there are waxless alternatives) by a wax ring. The toilet should sit on the floor over the flange and still have a little room above the flange for wax to make the seal - it must be shimmed to sit flat, if it rocks (before you install the wax ring). If the toilet sits ON the flange, you won't be able to keep it sealed properly.

    If the toilet flange is installed on top ofthe finished floor, anchored to it, and has no gaps under it, then it should be easy to make a permanent seal.
  20. hawaiidisney

    hawaiidisney New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Ok, I guess my only other question is this.....what can I do if this scenario happens...after the floor is put down, I set the toilet (with no wax) over the flange and the toilet doesn't touch the floor because the flange is too high. I don't know that this will be the case but what if it is....also, I apologize for what I'm sure seem like dumb questions and I truly appreciate everyone's help and patience!
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