Replacing PVC Toilet Flange: Major Job for Plumber?

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Bowl Weevil

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Thanks for the forum.

My house came with a couple of awful Briggs Vacuity toilets. I just ripped one out and got a Toto Ultramax. This is in a first-floor bathroom on a concrete slab. The tile is what is known as Cuban tile in Florida. It's 12" square and around 3/8" thick.

When I got the Briggs out, I found that the installer had left the flange about 3/4" above the tile floor. To fix this, instead of doing a proper job, he smeared grout on the tile and plopped the toilet on top of it.

I had to remove grout in order to prevent the new installation from looking completely ghetto, so I got out an oscillating tool and a scraper blade. I cleaned off as much of the grout as I could, and then, of course, the new toilet rocked. It looks like the flange has to be 1/4" lower for everything to work correctly. I don't want to do it the ape way and pile more grout on the floor.

Sorry about the photo. It's the only one I have at the moment. The flange looks like PVC. I assume I can't keep tightening the toilet nuts because the cheap flange will snap.

Should I expect a huge bill if I get the flange replaced with a new one at the correct height?

I saw a guy on Youtube replacing a PVC flange. It looks like a pain in the butt as far as time spent hunching over a hole goes, but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that will destroy anything important or result in more repairs.

04 28 23 house master toilet floor prepped except for putty mess cropped.jpg
 

Reach4

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A "huge bill" is in the eye of the beholder. This is worth spending some money on, which I think you know.

I think you have an outside glued closet flange on "3-inch" pipe (3.5 inch OD). The easiest fix would be to cut that upper PVC out, and put in an "inside" closet flange. If it is to be glued in, I would want a stainless steel ring. A Pushtite inside 3 inch closet flange has a plastic ring, but it could be replaced easier than one that is glued in. 888-GPM Sioux Chief . An Oatey 3" Twist-N-Set Closet Flange 43654 is inside compression. Again, no glue, but plastic ring.

If a plastic ring fails, there are repair rings. But those add some thickness.

It is possible your plumber would be able to remove the existing outside flange. That takes more time, and it requires space to exist or concrete cutting. The inside closet flange still has a bigger hole than the output of the toilet.
 
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WorthFlorida

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The thickness of the grout inside the flange seems to indicate that the 3" pipe in the floor is not centered on the flange. The are several ways to do this but this is what I would do if an inside closet flange cannot be used but it mostly like it will.

The old way and its still OK, cut the pipe almost flush to the floor and install a metal flange ring. You'll need to drill into the concrete to anchor it down. Place a bead of silicone under the flange and use a wax ring that is "reinforced". Looks like a funnel shaped plastic imbedded to the wax. The wax ring does all of the sealing.

 

Bowl Weevil

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Thanks for the help.

This is a 4" flange, and it appears to be glued inside the pipe. There are no screws attaching anything to anything.

The pipe's top is at or below floor level. I can't see it because the flange sits inside it. I believe that replacing the flange would involve separating the glue that holds the flange inside the pipe.

Since it costs me nothing, today I cleaned the break in the flange with alcohol, primed it, and put PVC cement on it. It took 10 minutes, and if it works, it will save me a lot of trouble. If not, it wasn't much work.

Until I started working on this, I didn't know how cheap and flimsy flanges were. I thought they held toilets down, but this one is nowhere near strong enough to do that. I guess they rely on weight? I plan to seal around the base, but that's not a strong attachment, either.

The main thing I want to avoid is having someone come in here with a jackhammer and tear up the concrete. If there is some hope I can get this over with for $250 or less, without another grout-pile hack job, I'm happy to pay it. If I'm looking at a grand or something similar, I might as well put some more time in before giving up.
 

Bowl Weevil

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Sorry for the slow replies. It's taking a long time for moderator approval.

The toilet is installed. The Danco Buck Rogers ring kit I started out with was a total waste of money, and it made it impossible to lower the toilet to the floor, even with all the optional stuff removed. I got rid of it and used a $2 wax ring, and the toilet is now on the floor. The repair I made with PVC cement held just fine, and now the toilet will make poop go away without leaking.

I didn't get a stainless ring because it might have raised the toilet too high.
 
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