Toilet Flange: to Repair or Replace ?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by misty!, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. misty!

    misty! New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2019
    Location:
    Texas
    Getting ready to tackle my second bathroom remodel, and found this when pulling up the existing vinyl floor. Gross. It’s definitely been leaking. After pulling up the toilet, I found a surprisingly intact flange, but it was not screwed into the concrete and in fact, there are huge chunks of concrete missing around the pipe and flange. My second concern was the inside of the flange was seems to have “melted”. I thought it was plastic at first, but feels like a metal at least at this top part (if I look way down I can see white PVC with the telltale purple drips).

    My question: does this all need to come out and start over? I have been searching everywhere for an image that looks like the inside of my waste pipe to learn more, but maybe this is something only a pro who has done tons of toilet installs would have seen (this is my first attempt at installing a new toilet with concrete subfloor). My concern is that it will actually block the waste if I leave it. As far as the flange, I’m sure a large flange repair piece will get the job done, but I worry it will cause more problems down the road. I’d rather do it right now, and thought I should ask the pros where you would start... and if I should stick with the cast iron or switch to a PVC with stainless flange. Thanks for any insight!
     

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  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I am not a pro. If you wanted to hold it down, you could fill the void beneath it with mortar, and screw that flange into the set concrete with appropriate screws.

    It may be cast iron, and may be brass, but either way, it is OK. Use a magnet out of curiosity. It does look like iron, however.
     
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  4. misty!

    misty! New Member

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    Texas
    The pipe isn't magnetic, and seems like it is in ok shape. I still have no idea what the lumpiness inside the waste pipe is! Maybe the former home owner poured some sort of chemicals and it warped it. I just don't know how vital it is to have a perfectly round pipe. To me, this seems like a clog just waiting to happen which is why I may try to remove it all and start from scratch.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Lead was soldered, and there could easily be unevenness of the soldering. Not a worry.

    Your flange is also non-magnetic I presume, and thus is brass.
     
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  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    I think what you're seeing is a lead riser that was soldered onto that bronze toilet ring. If you take something sharp, you can probably scratch it, and it will have that characteristic bright metal look.

    I'm a bit worried about how distorted that riser is. If you have a tree root growing underneath, that could have distorted the lead riser. If the wax seal wasn't good, the toilet could dump a bit of moisture down the outside, inviting roots towards the water supply.
     
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  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You have a brass flange soldered to lead pipe. Very common in older homes. Unless you intend to break out the concrete and replace it all the way to the cast iron hub I would leave it.
    It would be a good idea to secure the flange to the concrete. I normally have a rotohammer with a 1/4" bit for drilling holes for my concrete anchors.
     
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  8. misty!

    misty! New Member

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    Aug 29, 2019
    Location:
    Texas
    Scratched and indeed saw the metal shine! No trees are even remotely close to this toilet thank goodness, but think that it may be just unevenness of the soldering as another member posted. As long as it's not a clog problem, I'm fine with leaving it as is - I'll never see it!

    Also, positive that the wax seal failed, possibly even before I lived here (this is a powder room and we rarely use it, but all the "leak" signs are there so it was certainly used more before). The concrete has completely crumbled around 1/2 the flange so now the question is do I fill it in with more concrete so that I have something to screw into?
     
  9. misty!

    misty! New Member

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    Aug 29, 2019
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks Terry for the confirmation! There were chunks of concrete on the right side already broken up, they came right out with a screw driver! I definitely want to secure it to the concrete (I have my tapcons ready!) only problem is that as it stands, I can only bite in on ONE of my three screw holes. The other two have no concrete for inches down. I was considering refilling this with a bit of quick set to give me something to secure the other screws into, but also wondered if you might suggest I just put on a closet ring replacement?) that gives me a little more room to play with and actually would be helpful to raise up just a little higher to accommodate for the new tile height.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Pack it with some hydraulic cement. If you put the tapcon in before it sets, you won't have to drill it! That stuff does set fairly fast, so don't dauddle.
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I would be thinking something like
    Quikrete Mason Mix. Mixed with sand, and not rocks.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. misty!

    misty! New Member

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    Aug 29, 2019
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks all for the info! Hoping to have a working toilet up again soon!
     
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