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bpm 12-12-2011 12:20 PM

Closet Flange Advice
I'm currently remodeling a small half-bath in my house and I'm looking for some advice regarding the closet flange. I haven't pulled the toilet yet, but it has been in place for a long time and I expect that I may need to replace the close flange. I have access from the basement underneath and I can tell that I have a 4" cast iron soil pipe. There are many different styles of closet flanges and two styles in particular look like they may be the right options for me:

I'm sure there other options/brands available but this is what I found at the local big box. They both should work but I'm wondering if any has experience with them and could offer advice as to which is better, or if there are advantages and/or disadvantages to either.

Bud Cline 12-12-2011 12:28 PM


I expect that I may need to replace the close flange.
Slow down. What makes you think that? Especially if the system is cast iron, those things rarely wear out.

It just depends on what you find when you get in there.

joecaption 12-12-2011 12:29 PM

If you have not even seen it yet why are you planing on replacing it?
I could see if you were planning on replacing all the old cast iron drains because at some point there going to leak.

bpm 12-12-2011 12:42 PM

I don't know that I will need to replace it, but I just wanted to be prepared should I get in there and find out I have to. I figured it would be better to know in advance what the advantages/disadvantges to the different styles are, rather than waiting until I get the toilet off, finding I have a problem, and having to figure it out then. I truly hope I don't have to replace the flange, but I'd like to be prepared just in case.

Bud Cline 12-12-2011 12:50 PM


but I'd like to be prepared just in case.
Yow-well good luck with that theory when it comes to cast iron plumbing. You still won't be prepared for what you may find.:laughing:

bpm 12-12-2011 02:25 PM

I appreciate the words of encouragement, and I know that cast iron pipe can pose some challenges, which is why I was wondering if anyone had any direct experience with the different types of flanges.

oh'mike 12-12-2011 03:15 PM

I don't like either---A steel or brass flange repair is what hangs on a peg in my truck/

The twist and turn one (first picture) looks like it has a 3" opening --fine as long as the flange is low enough--but it's so thick that it might cause a bad toilet fit up---

The second picture is a flange designed to fit over nice clean straight pipe---not usually what you find.

Most often the old flange is cast right into a closet 90---

bpm 12-12-2011 04:27 PM

I haven't pulled the toilet yet so I don't know what the flange looks like, but the soil pipe drops straight down through the floor and then about 2 feet below (in the basement) it makes a coulple of 90 degree turns and then ties into the main line leaving the house into the septic system. From below, it looks like the flange may be the type that fits over the soil pipe, but I can't be sure. I guess I"ll learn more when the toilet is out. This brings up my next question. I'm pretty sure I'll be replacing the subfloor in this bathroom so the flange will probably need to come out. My question is regarding the

I've read quite a few places that says the flange must sit on top of the finished floor, but there seems to be just as many people that say you secure the flange to the subfloor/cement board, and then tile up to that. I've searched all over the internet and there definitely seems to be two schools of thought, and the manufacturer's website don't seem particularly clear.

At the risk of getting more mixed opinions, I figured I'd seek people's opinions anyways. So, what's the correct way?

Bud Cline 12-12-2011 04:43 PM

The "correct way" is the flange must be secure. If your flange ain't broke - don't fix it.

If the flange is in fact secure IT DOES NOT HAVE TO SIT ATOP THE SUBFLOOR. That is the has-to method of new construction but it is an alternate method of remodeling.

Why are you sure you'll be replacing the subfloor? What's wrong with it now?

Until you do some discovery and see what exactly is there with the flange and the subfloor, this is an exercise in futility and nothing more.

bpm 12-12-2011 05:09 PM

The existing floor consists of this: 3/4 inch thick x 4 inch wide boards running diagonal to the floor joists with similar dimension boards situated atop that, parallel to the floor joists. Atop that is a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick plywood with vinyl (sheet) flooring glued to that. The vinyl flooring will not come off the plywood, not for lack of trying. The new flooring will be ceramic tiles (12 x 12 but made up of many smaller tiles on a mesh backing). My plan is to pull the plywood and put down cement board, and then tile on top of that. When I pull the plywood, I know that I'll have to remove the closet flange, which is why I started looking into the type of flanges.

At this point, I know I'm not expecting specific answers because I'm not asking specific qeustions. I was merely looking to see if anyone had any experience with the types of flanges I mentioned in my original post.


Bud Cline 12-12-2011 05:51 PM

You are correct in removing the 1/4" plywood under the vinyl flooring. Most likely the plywood is/was an integral component of the vinyl installation and now should be removed. You can't have 1/4" plywood in a ceramic tile installation.

You also cannot install cement board over slat flooring components. A better description of the two slat flooring's would be helpful.

The flange DOES NOT have to be removed to remove the subfloor components, that's just plain silly if it is being removed for no other reason than that. But this seems to be an obsession of yours so you do what you want.

You are not asking specific questions for now but sounds as if you should be. Your synopsis is already askew with misunderstanding the required procedures necessary to install ceramic tile.

bpm 12-12-2011 06:03 PM

I'm not obsessed with removing the flange. In fact, I'm hoping I don't have to do that at all. I'm just trying to get a better understanding of the possibilities. If I pull the toilet and find that the flange is on top of the 1/4 inch plywood, at that point I'd expect that I'd have to remove it to pull the plywood completely. I may find that not to be the case. I won't likely be pulling the toilet until this weekend and I had some free time so I thought I'd ask some questions just to educate myself a bit. Again, I'm not asking specific qeustions yet because I don't know exactly what I have. Thanks for the input.

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