Tree Roots Growing From Under Toilet Flange??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Davexx1, May 27, 2009.

  1. Davexx1

    Davexx1 Retired Engineer

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Central Fla
    Hi to all. My first post.

    We are doing new floor tile in both bathrooms and when the master bath toilet was removed, we found lots of tiny tree roots growing up alongside the sewer pipe and out from underneath the toilet flange. The roots are on the outside of the sewer pipe and coming up thru the sewer pipe hole in the concrete foundation. There is a palm tree (Florida) about 15' away from the home there and I suspect that may be the culprit.

    I have dug all of the roots out from as far down in there as I can reach under the toilet flange with a pic and needlenose pliers. Tile is supposed to go down tomorrow. Anything else I can or should do while this is accessble to prevent any future trouble?

    I was wondering if they make/sell some type of fairly liquid concrete or sealer that could be poured down thru the narrow gap around the sewer pipe to help seal it up and hopefully prevent any roots from growing thru there in the future. Any ideas/suggestions??

    Thanks, Dave
    Winter Springs, Fla
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,804
    Location:
    New England
    Roots grow towards water supplies, so it is likely you had a leak from the toilet, otherwise, they probably wouldn't have grown there. Make sure you get a good seal when installing the toilet. If the tile will raise the floor level, you might want to tear the existing flange out of there, get a good look at what's going on, then install a new flange on top of the new floor. You might be able to put some root killer down around the pipe, depending on how much room there is. Interesting problem...will see what the others have to say.
  3. Davexx1

    Davexx1 Retired Engineer

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Central Fla
    Yes, there was some dampness under the toilet so the wax ring may have been leaking. Hopefully when the toilet is re-set with new wax ring that problem will be resolved.

    We are replacing old tile with new tile so the floor height should be the same.

    If new flange is required, how would that be done? Bust out the concrete with jack hammer then replace concrete? Surely hope that is not needed.
    [​IMG]

    Dave
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2009
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,804
    Location:
    New England
    You didn't indicate if the pipes were plastic or cast iron. It should probably be okay as is unless the rim of the flange is broken or corroded away. The toilet must not be able to rock - you need to shim it if required or the wax will be compromised - it doesn't rebound when squished during the rocking motion.
  5. Davexx1

    Davexx1 Retired Engineer

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Central Fla
    Our sewer pipes are all plastic. We are on a city sewer system.

    I don't remember any movement of the toilet prior to the tile tear out. The flange is intact. No roots growing inside the sewer drain pipe so I think that is OK.

    Dave
  6. Jay Mpls

    Jay Mpls Master plumber

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I'd clean out what I can of the roots and like mentioned...get a good damned weed/root killer.Copper sulfate comes to mind.Your toilet flange should sit ON TOP of the finished floor.
    If all that works out,your in!
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,302
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    If you do have to remove the old flange, they can be removed without destroying the floor, and it is especially easy with PVC or ABS, but I would have a plumber do it. It requires a cutter that will work on the inside of the pipe and by the time you get one and mess with it, a plumber would be finished and on his second cold one. Have the new flange set after the floor is laid and make sure it sets level on the floor all the way around. Then no shims will be needed.
  8. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    There's a youtube clip of a guy in Florida diagnosing this type of root intrusion. Palm trees seek out the moisture witout a leak present. They go right through the wax ring, imbed themselves. He was calling them pony tails. The trees we have problems with up here (Chinese elms) aren't so savvy. They only intrude where the clay sewers are cracked.
  9. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Tree roots growing though under toilet

    I have ran across this on some jobs i have done over the years i packed rock salt all around the flange after the wax ring is down as tight as you can get it the roots will not grow though salt

    thats why they call the dead sea "DEAD"
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,251
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    roots

    It is a common problem here, and there does not have to be a leak to attract them, and the toilet can be in the middle of the house and the nearest tree 10' from the house. Make a mixture of copper sulfate/root destroyer and water then pour it into the gap between the concrete and the pipe.
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