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Old 03-30-2007, 09:49 AM   #1
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1/2 bath remodel nightmare

What was supposed to be an easy cosmetic remodel has turned out to be a nightmare.

The toilet has been leaking so the subfloor (both 3/4 layers) are rotted. Who ever installed the vanity ran the copper lines through the vanity floor, through the tile and into the crawl space.

Now I have to remove the toilet flange (PVC to PVC drain) so I can rip up the sub floor. It was suggested to me to cut the drain somewhere in the crawl space and remove the flange/pipe assembly then use a rubber hose union to connect the two back together. Any thoughts?

Also, I plan on relocating the water lines so they come through the wall. This will be my first time sweating pipes, any tips? I am a fast learner and a pretty good welder.

Lastly, For the 2 layers of 3/4 ply I have to replace, is there a special type of species I should buy? There will be a tile floor installed when all is said and done. (Tile gets installed under the toilet but not the flange, correct?)

Thanks all. BTW, I can access underneath with the crawl space.


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Old 03-30-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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First, I'm not a pro plumber, but a long-time DIYer. Here's what I would do (and have done).
The toilet: To remove the flange, cut the 3" or 4" closet bend pipe in the crawlspace, preferably in the pipe straight down under the flange. To reassemble the line, you simply connect it back together with a neoprene black rubber connector (aka Fernco coupling) that is sealed on both ends of the cut pipe with stainless steel clamps. That meets code, and will work just fine.
Use an old circular saw blade to cut out the damaged plywood (you WILL hit nails or screws). Adjust the depth of the blade to one layer at a time and not deep enough to cut into the floor joists. Wear safety glasses.
Cut the damaged plywood back to the center of the nearest floor joists. Install pressure-treated plywood, which will not rot when it gets wet. Do NOT use OSB (oriented strand board) or any untreated wood, which can easily be damaged again by water. Screw a siimilar size board across between the joists half under the edges of the good flooring. You need the joist and crosspiece halves to glue and screw the new plywood patch to.
Install a layer of cement board securely screwed to all plywood to install the tile on. Do NOT install tile directly onto wood or plywood, which will expand and contract, cracking the grout and probably the tile itself. The tile goes under the flange.
A toilet flange goes flush on top of the finished (tile or whatever) floor level. You should drill pilot holes through the tile with a masonry bit and bolt the flange down solidly to the top of the floor with only the thickness of the flange on top of the tile.
Soldering tips: Clean (emory cloth or sandpaper) the ends and inside of couplings and connections of the copper pipe and use soldering flux and lead-free solder.
Make certain that all lines that you're trying to solder are free of any water or you won't be able to solder anything to them. You can wick it out with paper towels if it's straight up, or if it's horizontal and running back out a cut line, you can temporarily plug it with a ball of white bread (no crust).
Heat the fittings only (not the pipe) to where it just gets hot enough to draw the solder solidly in around the fitting and remove the torch flame quickly as soon as it does. Overheating a fitting is usually the most common mistake people make soldering and causes the most leaks because overheating melts out the solder that they just pulled into it. Practice on some other scrap pieces of pipe and couplings might help you before getting started soldering the actual plumbing.
If you're soldering next to wood framing or near anything else flammable, put a metal shield or a wet rag over it to keep it from catching fire. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in any case when soldering.
Good Luck!


Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 03-30-2007 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:03 AM   #3
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tile should be installed under the flange as well...

soldering copper pipes is easier than it look/thought...
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info Mike. I'm printing your response out now.
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