Old flange -- repair it or use it? What was the plastic horn used for on top of the flange?

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Harold Balls

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Hello, Terry and friends!

As a DIY’er, I’ve got another infrequent (seemingly biannual) toilet install. Facts: 1957 house. Old cast iron drainpipe might be the old 3.5-inch; I didn’t measure it and am not at the location now. Unfortunately, I did not take more photos, either, after I finished cleaning the old cast iron flange and removing the old flange bolts. If it matters, this is probably the third toilet that has sat on the same flange (if it truly is the original flange). A second toilet was likely installed in 1979 for a remodel, and the current pink Kohler K-4493 1.6 gpf comfort-height appears to have a date-stamp of 2002. I’m tossing it and installing a used white Kohler elongated 1.6 gpf for a remodel and then to subsequently rent out the house.

Problems (see photos):
I tried the FluidMaster “Better than Wax” toilet to flange seal, but it was too short (I could feel no compression) and putting the included spacer made it too high. As an aside, when I filled the tank and bowl with the FluidMaster in place, the seal was not good and a tiny, very slow leak developed at the base of the bowl. I know wax would be a better seal, but I simply hate the mess and don't mind playing with the Korky product for two or three times trying to seat the bowl to the flange until the fit is good to prevent a leak. Please advise of your thoughts, thanks!
 

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Reach4

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I agree with your throwing the thing away that you threw away.

If you want people to make a visual assessment of your flange, scrape the old wax off before taking a picture.

For photos, it is often best to remove the rag from the pipe for the photo, tho I cannot say that interfered with understanding the photos.

The Danco HydroSeat looks interesting. It gets wax under it, and it sits atop the finished floor. But you Korky waxless seal will probably be very good for you. How far down from a straight edge across the floor and flange is the top of the flange ring? Alternatively how far below a straight edge laying across the closet flange ring is the floor?
 

Breplum

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The plastic 'sheath' is an integral part of a "no-seep" bowl wax.
There are plumbers who don't like them, but we've used them 100% successfully for fifty years without a hitch.
I've tried the SaniSeal a few times on floors that have in-floor heat. I've seen review pics of SaniSeal becoming waterlogged. Never tried the Korky product.
 

Harold Balls

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I agree with your throwing the thing away that you threw away.

If you want people to make a visual assessment of your flange, scrape the old wax off before taking a picture.

For photos, it is often best to remove the rag from the pipe for the photo, tho I cannot say that interfered with understanding the photos.

The Danco HydroSeat looks interesting. It gets wax under it, and it sits atop the finished floor. But you Korky waxless seal will probably be very good for you. How far down from a straight edge across the floor and flange is the top of the flange ring? Alternatively how far below a straight edge laying across the closet flange ring is the floor?
Thank you for your response. I did not give the Danco item any considering because its problems seem twofold from reviews: 1) made of rusting metal; and 2) too thin and bows when tightening the closet bolts. Also to me, it just looks flimsy, although I like the idea -- it probably did not get implemented right between the originator's design and the production execution in China. When I'm over at the installation site next I will take more photos of the cleaned-up flange and its condition without the rag.

The top of the flange was fairly even with the floor, although the linoleum has sunk a couple of millimeters under the toilet since it was laid perhaps in 2002 as it was not the original floor covering. I'll look again and post the results.
 

Harold Balls

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The plastic 'sheath' is an integral part of a "no-seep" bowl wax.
There are plumbers who don't like them, but we've used them 100% successfully for fifty years without a hitch.
I've tried the SaniSeal a few times on floors that have in-floor heat. I've seen review pics of SaniSeal becoming waterlogged. Never tried the Korky product.
Thank you for your response and identifying the "sheath." Please identify the Saniseal product to which you refer as I don't understand the context.

As to the Korky product, I think it is good and have used it before. As mentioned, I tried to use the cheaper Fluidmaster product (in two different applications) but I concluded yesterday that it is a piece of junk since it has failed me in both applications/installations. The material composition and price are both cheaper than the Korky which is softer rubber and more flexible for a better seal, and there is no way to adjust the height of the Fluidmaster from thin to medium-sized as you can do with the Korky since the foam gasket on the Fluidmaster is permanently glued to the rubber component, unlike the Korky where you can remove the slim foam gasket and instead install the thicker one. With Fluidmaster you either have a thin gasket or you stack the medium-sized one on top of the thin one creating a monstrously thick gasket which is inappropriate for many applications. In other words, with Fluidmaster's product, you have either thin or super thick. With Korky, you have thin, medium, or thick.

If it matters, this was the photo five seconds after pulling the toilet. I don't think it had been pulled since 2002. Lots of wax. To me, it appears someone created a second "ring" by breaking apart a second wax ring and circling the first ring with it.
 

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Harold Balls

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Just looks like the excess squished out to me.
Good call, very possibly -- except it looked like and appeared to be the same amount of an intact ring, surrounded by additional wax that was not part of the ring, but it's difficult to guess. It was a lot of wax. I included the photo simply because there may have been a leak before and someone went "hog wild" with wax. I don't have personal knowledge of that and there is no way to substantiate what happened in the past as the owner since 1984 just died.
 

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With wax, it is important to position the shims with a dry fit first. If you insert later, you might de-compress wax, and that can make the wax leak. With a resilient waxless seal, you can put the shims in later to stop rocking.
 

Harold Balls

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With wax, it is important to position the shims with a dry fit first. If you insert later, you might de-compress wax, and that can make the wax leak. With a resilient waxless seal, you can put the shims in later to stop rocking.
Amen to that! I'd like to never use wax again in my life, if I'm able, and that's my goal. It seems like it's a lot harder and often requires multiple tries without wax. Using a wax ring, you can be kind of sloppy, have little attention to detail, but it still ends up making a perfect seal. That's great, until you want to remove the toilet for any number of reasons, and then you have a big, sticky mess.
 

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What to do? First, the flange is pretty level with the linoleum, only one or two millimeters above it at most. Attached are photos showing its condition as well as the condition of the 66-year-old drain pipe. I originally thought I'd try this (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Flexon-...-ABS-Cast-Iron-or-Lead-Pipes-PB-204/315567006), but I can't imagine it would seat against the inside of that corroded pipe. Instead, should I screw a flange repair ring into the floor over the old flange (https://www.homedepot.com/p/OATEY-Fix-it-Toilet-Flange-Repair-Ring-42775/300279621), or leave the old flange alone since it is sturdy enough to accept flange bolts and will securely hold them? I would still like to use the Korky waxless product (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Korky-Wax-Free-Toilet-Seal-Kit-6000BM/205616926) unless I can't get a good seal with all of the bumps and nooks and crannies going on with the old flange and where it is missing small pieces where it meets the pipe. If I cannot get a good seal with Korky, I'll just revert to wax which will fill all of that nonsense in, and toss Korky in the garbage.

I value each and every one of your opinions! Please advise of what I should do. Thank you in advance for any direction you can give to me.
 

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Reach4

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A repair ring is to hold down the toilet to the floor.
Does your cast iron flange seem to not be fixed solidly to the floor?

How does the level of the top of the flange compare with the level of the top of the finished floor?

I wonder if you could put down some wax to fill the crannies, and put the waxless seal on top of that.
 

Michael Young

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Hello, Terry and friends!

As a DIY’er, I’ve got another infrequent (seemingly biannual) toilet install. Facts: 1957 house. Old cast iron drainpipe might be the old 3.5-inch; I didn’t measure it and am not at the location now. Unfortunately, I did not take more photos, either, after I finished cleaning the old cast iron flange and removing the old flange bolts. If it matters, this is probably the third toilet that has sat on the same flange (if it truly is the original flange). A second toilet was likely installed in 1979 for a remodel, and the current pink Kohler K-4493 1.6 gpf comfort-height appears to have a date-stamp of 2002. I’m tossing it and installing a used white Kohler elongated 1.6 gpf for a remodel and then to subsequently rent out the house.

Problems (see photos):
I tried the FluidMaster “Better than Wax” toilet to flange seal, but it was too short (I could feel no compression) and putting the included spacer made it too high. As an aside, when I filled the tank and bowl with the FluidMaster in place, the seal was not good and a tiny, very slow leak developed at the base of the bowl. I know wax would be a better seal, but I simply hate the mess and don't mind playing with the Korky product for two or three times trying to seat the bowl to the flange until the fit is good to prevent a leak. Please advise of your thoughts, thanks!

the flange doesn't look cracked. fuckit. use that flange as-is
 

Harold Balls

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A repair ring is to hold down the toilet to the floor.
Does your cast iron flange seem to not be fixed solidly to the floor?

How does the level of the top of the flange compare with the level of the top of the finished floor?

I wonder if you could put down some wax to fill the crannies, and put the waxless seal on top of that.
The flange is solidly affixed to the floor and solidly holds the closet bolts in place.
The level of the top of the flange is no more than a couple millimeters higher than the linoleum floor sheeting.
The suggestion of the wax first and then the waxless seal is a good idea, but I wanted to avoid wax.
I hooked it up without wax and with the Korky product, and it does not leak at the flange, but now there is a very slow tank to bowl leak! Unbelievable. I just bought a Fluidmaster generic triangular rubber tank to bowl gasket at Home Depot and will try tomorrow to install it.
Thank you.
 

Harold Balls

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the flange doesn't look cracked. fuckit. use that flange as-is
I am taking your advice, and thank you for it. My concern simply was that with all of the pock marks and recesses, nooks, and crannies, that it would not get a good seal. It appears the Korky product is good enough. The thin foam gasket that comes with it seemed to be barely enough cushion, and as such, I was worried that there was not enough foam compression. The thick foam gasket that comes in the package is too thick and the toilet just bounces and rocks on the flange, so I cannot use that.
 

Harold Balls

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Resolved, except now the water source leaks! Unbelievable. Back to Home Depot a fourth time to update the very old water supply valve you have to annoyingly turn about eight half turns. I'll just update it with one of the newer half-turn on/off valves. Thanks to all for the input!
 

echo grunt

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If you have an old-style gate valve, and the leak is coming out around the valve stem, you might be able to stop the leak simply by tightening the packing nut (Hex nut just under the handle). Old gate valves that have not been exercised in a long time will often leak when you close and open them. A half turn or so of that packing nut will squeeze the valve packing tightly around the valve stem again and the leak will stop.
 

Harold Balls

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If you have an old-style gate valve, and the leak is coming out around the valve stem, you might be able to stop the leak simply by tightening the packing nut (Hex nut just under the handle). Old gate valves that have not been exercised in a long time will often leak when you close and open them. A half turn or so of that packing nut will squeeze the valve packing tightly around the valve stem again and the leak will stop.
Thank you; that's a good suggestion, and I did think of that. The nut was really tight and did not want to move any further. I could try some Teflon tape, but I don't like that old style of valve and just figured I'd toss it since a replacement would not cost much.
 

Reach4

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PTFE (Teflon) tape would not be the right thing. Packing cord would be. Some is PTFE, and some is graphite-impregnated. Each has followers, and each is very good. There are also packing washers, but I have never tried those.


Packing cord is cheap, and might be worth doing, even if you intend to replace the valve in a few months.

There are some valves that block the path up to the packing when fully open. That would let you work on the packing without turning off the water at the curb. I cannot find reference to that now.
 
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