5" flange too big for supplied wax ring, now what? Help!

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tengo84

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Hello experts, I could use some advice!

I recently removed an old Eljer toilet intending to replace it with a better model. The bathroom is located next to the lower level family room, atop tile which rests on the foundation. Immediately I noticed a much larger flange opening than expected. Inside diameter is 5". Large amounts of wax had been packed around the circumference, even around the bolts! There have been no issues of leaking, so it must have formed a good seal. However, the wax ring supplied with my new toilet is too small, and the overall amount of new wax is only a fraction of the amount of the old wax. A few inches lower below the 5" flange, the inside diameter is reduced to 4".

What would be the best way to proceed? Thanks! I have included a couple pictures:
 
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plumber2011

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Hi Tengo,

Here's a fix that should do the job for you....it isn't perfect by any means but short of replacing that gasket it should work just fine! You will need to purchase 3-4 wax gaskets WITHOUT horns or neoprene inside...just plain wax rings and then 1 wax ring with a horn, OK?

After purchasing the wax gaskets you'll want to take them, and one at a time, set a wax gasket into the flange in such a way that you make a ring on the inside of the flange that sits on top of the pipe. You may need to tear away an inch or so of the wax gasket and reform the ring for the best fit. Mold the first one tight to the walls of the pipe, but keep the width of the gasket the same. Repeat this for the next couple gaskets joining them down on top of the other(s) wax rings. Here, the idea is to build/mold a STACK of wax rings in such a way that you bring the wax gaskets flush to the top of the closet flange. You want the wax gaskets on the inside of the flange to remain wide so you can finally set the wax ring with horn on the toilet, set the toilet bolts into place and then install the toilet bowl.

Be sure to mold the gasket tight to the inner flange without thinning them out, but tight enough that you can see the wax adhering to the inner flange...confim a good strong "stack" has been built and then install the toilet bowl.

That should be all you need to do in this case. I have done this numerous times over the last 30 years and never had any issues, even years down the road...just be sure to BLEND the gaskets together to make that a good strong stack of gaskets, OK?

Questions? Let me know...
 
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tengo84

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Hello plumber, thank you for your response! I believe I understand what you're saying. The stack of plain wax rings should be molded flush with the gasket, and then I should add the wax ring with horns, right? Do you have any tips to ensure the wax adheres in the best way possible? Should I use a hair dryer to get the pipe as dry as possible? Would the heat also work to help blend the wax rings to each other?
 

plumber2011

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Right! Molding/stacking the regular wax rings will do fine as long as the wax is at room temperature...no need to do anything but mold/stack them so they sit flush to the top of the flange and then install the wax gasket with horn and set the toilet! No heat needed!

Good luck!
 

Redwood

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I'd put a dutchman in there...

dutchman.jpg
 
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hj

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A "Dutchman" is a filler piece. The correct way to fix it would be to seal a short piece of 4" pipe inside the flange, on top of the "too short pipe" that is there. I would leak/oakum a short piece of cast iron pipe, but any material would work as long as it is sealed to the inside of the existing flange. Using wax might work, but it would NOT create any "solid" surface for the wax to compress against. And if you have been listening here, FEW plumbers use or recommend the wax rings with a "funnel" in them.
 
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plumber2011

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Quote "And if you have been listening here, FEW plumbers use or recommend the wax rings with a "funnel" in them. "...

Is this directed at me? For the 30 something posts I have made on this site I think I've been "listening" just fine??? How would I know that on this forum "few plumbers use or recommend the wax rings with a funnel in them" ? In fact, even if they do, I stand by my advice in this case...the wax ring with horn helps the homeowners line things up a little better.

I can see you are a very smart guy and you are very technical... I can only image you and I are going to have all kinds of fun together . With all due respect to your position and experience...see image below!! :)

4757587621_40ff24f527.jpg
 

Terry

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Ok Ok
Some of us use wax with horns.
I've been doing it that way for 36 years.

It depends home the home and the bowl.
I like people to set the bowl down without wax first, just to see if there is a problem with the flange and floor in relation to the bowl.
If it seems fine, they it's time to pick the wax.
In some cases, if the flange is high, then the wax with horn may not work.
If the flange is too low, and I double the wax, then the wax with horn placed on top of a plain wax ring has been working well.
There are multiple ways, depending on the conditions.

And when I see that picture, I always wonder if it's real or photoshopped.
 

hj

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YOu aren't going to hurt my feelings. I have had people NOT liking me since I was an apprentice in charge of the journeymen, including my future wife's two uncles, and her brother, a city plumbing inspector, (who I eventually fired), and my own father.
 

tengo84

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Hello again and thanks for the advice. What I discovered (and you can't really see in my pictures) is that the flange wasn't centered well over the 4" pipe. Thus, stacking the wax rings would not have worked because part of the base "ledge" was too narrow along a portion of the circumference! The dutchman looks like the best bullet-proof permanent solution, but I don't have that much confidence in my DIY ability. In the end, I decided to replicate what had already been done. I used multiple plain wax rings and fashioned a double-wide expanded ring of wax around and along the top of the flange, surrounding the bolts. I also packed some wax in the void above the 4"pipe and below the bottom of the flange.

I bolted the toilet down, compressing the wax, then shimmed it level using bits of plastic shims. Test flushes were successful, no sign of seeping. I secured the front edge and sides with an adhesive caulk. If it leaks, it should be noticeable from the back edge. I know this wasn't the most professional solution but it had been done that way and worked for many years, hopefully it will last me the same.
 
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LCH77

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Tengo84,

A few years ago, when my pull down bolts pulled out, I found the old; cast iron flange had rusted away. There was not enough remaining to se a flange repair ring. I was told that all I had to do was break it off completely and solder on a new one. This was cast iron on a tile floor on a concrete slab so there was now access to cut the old one. I called a plumber. Problem was he couldn’t find the correct replacement flange so I ended up with a duplicate of your situation.

A year later when I replaced the toilet, I used a wax ring with a horn figuring the horn would direct the flow away from the ledge. I don’t know if that part worked or not but much of the wax that is smaller than the ID of the flange fell down and got caught on the ledge. That restriction caused the toilet to back up. I called the plumber and he said that all I had to do is make my own custom ring. He said to buy two plain wax rings (no horn, no neoprene ring, etc.), cut one in half and use pieces of the second ring to make the first ring bigger on the OD AND ID. The problem that you might have is: if there isn’t anything supporting the inner portion of the ring, the wax could break apart and pieces could fall and partially block the flow. Worse, this would not happen, as someone else pointed out, until 15 minutes before guests are due to arrive. The standard wax ring I measured was about 3 1/2” ID x 5 1/4” OD. Since your Flange is 5” ID, you have only 1/8” of wax on each side supporting the 7/8” wide ring

This year, I had to fix the supply line and removed the toilet to get better access. I was searching to see if there might be a better way. That’s how I got to this site and your thread.

So far, I’ve learned some things from this site, about this subject that I have found helpful:

Use nuts, not just the plastic washers, to secure the pull down bolts while trying to drop the toilet onto the bolts.

Yes, it is better to put the wax ring on the floor instead of hoping it wall fall off the toilet when moving the toilet in place.

Consider using a “Dutchman” for this application. Here are my questions for “hj” about this: 4” PVC pipe is 4 ½” OD. The Flange is 5” ID. That would mean there would be a ¼” gap between the two. Should I just push as much extra wax as I can into that space before I set a ring on? After that, should I use a standard Wax Ring, the old 5” ID x 7” OD custom Ring, or make a new 4” ID x 7” OD Ring? It would seem if I can cut the PVC pipe accurately, I should have it protrude slightly (but not enough to allow it to hit the bottom of the toilet), to keep the wax from falling into the pipe. Do you agree?
 

LCH77

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Dutchman

Thanks to Redwood & hj for the info on the Dutchman. Here is an update:

I dropped a 4" long piece of 4" PVC to become a "Dutchman" to support the Wax Ring. I then melted a wax ring in a double boiler and poured the wax in the annulus between the 5" ID Flange and the 4 1/2" OD PVC pipe. That portion of the job came out well.

Making a custom sized wax ring did not turn out well. I lined a mold with aluminum foil and poured in melted wax, but the wax went between the layers of foil and couldn't be separated without losing too much on the ring diameter. Any ideas?
 

DocDee

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I had exactly the same problem with a cast iron flange with 5" ID (construction around 1970).
My solution which worked perfectly was a one-piece neoprene seal from http://saniseal.com/
"The Green Gasket" was purchased from Home Depot for about $11.
 

Gagecalman

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I know this is an old thread but I ran into this issue and fixed it with the advice of this great forum using a dutchman. Thanks to Redwood and HJ for the suggestion. There are several posts pertaining to this issue so I’ll update them as well. Sorry for the redundancy but I hope it helps someone else.

I thought I’d post a few pictures in case it helps someone that doesn’t understand the repair.

I went to HD and bought a 2’ piece of 4” PVC pipe. I cleaned all of the old wax out of the flange. The piece I needed was 1-1/2” long. I had some PL 3X polyurethane adhesive on hand so I used that to fill the void.

Thanks again for the great site!
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