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kgifford 02-27-2010 03:15 PM

Closet flange gap
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I'm new to this forum. I am in the midst of updating my bathroom and replacing my toilet and I'm hoping someone here can help. I just finished installing groutable vinyl tile... when I tiled around the closet flange, I copied the size and shape of the previous flooring layers, which were cut to leave a space around the perimeter of the closet flange. This left me with a 1/4 inch to one inch space between where the tiles end and where the closet flange begins (see pictures). This is not just a superficial gap, but extends down into the area below. So I have a few issues going on here...

First of all, the closet flange is not supported by the flooring as I believe it is supposed to be. There is one 2 inch screw going through the flange down into the crevice and into the surface below, so I think that is what is stabilizing the flange, as it does not seem to have much movement/give. But I'm worried this won't be enough support for the flange, especially since the one screw is only slightly penetrating the substrate below due to how short it is.

The second concern is that, with this big gap, if the seal between the flange and toilet were to fail, it might go undetected for a long time since the leak would just drip/flow down into the area under the floor (to the ceiling above!).

I've had several ideas for how to remedy this situation and wanted to find out what you think about the option that seems best to me: Could I get some longer (3 inch?) screws and use these to secure the flange to the substrate below. Then, use something like spray insulation to fill in/expand in the gap, then apply some caulk over that to make a surface level with the flooring that is water tight, so that if any leak were to ever happen in the future, it would flow out onto the flooring rather that seeping into the area beneath the floor? (Someone at Home Depot suggested I fill the gap with a quick drying concrete patch material and sink some screws into it while it's drying to attach to the flange, but I'm thinking this might not work because the hole just opens up to the space between floor and ceiling below, so I think the stuff will just fall through, which is why I'm thinking that expanding spray foam... plus I'm worried that concrete patch will not leave any space/give for slight expansion/contraction due to temperature change, and that if there are plumbing problems in the future this will be difficult to get through to do any work.)

Also, while I have your attention and you're looking at my pictures, the top of the flange is about level with the floor at this point. Will it be satisfactory to use a jumbo wax ring with the funnel/horn, or do I need to use a flange spacer?

Alan 02-27-2010 04:15 PM

first of all I don't see any screws in that flange. Whats up with that? That will guarantee that your wax seal will fail later on. :yes:

I'm not sure what the building code is on this, but generally the tile guys grout the joint around the flange. You're still going to have a gap where the closet bolts are. There's no perfect solution except to have a proper installation on the toilet.

We sometimes double up wax rings to make up the difference - a lot of people don't like this. We don't have problems with it.

You can use a jumbo ring first to see if you have enough wax under there. If not, you can put a flange extender, and then a jumbo ring. If you're flush with the flooring, you shouldn't have much of a problem though.

canadaclub 02-27-2010 04:59 PM

The toilet base leaves a lot of lattitude for tiling, etc, but the flange has to be secure ( and not to a crevice). I have double waxed also but better to correct the problem now.

kgifford 02-27-2010 08:01 PM


Originally Posted by Alan (Post 406918)
first of all I don't see any screws in that flange. Whats up with that? That will guarantee that your wax seal will fail later on. :yes:

I know, that's exactly what I was thinking when I first looked at it, too!! But then I tried to move it around and it had no play... then I noticed that there is the one screw, it's just obscured by the wax that's still in the one hole. Well, there was actually one more screw, but it did just go into the crevice and didn't attach to anything... :huh:

I just got back from picking up some 3 and 4 inch screws and I'll check to see if I can secure the flange better with those.

Thanks for your suggestions. :)


Jim F 03-11-2010 09:17 PM

You've probably got this back together by now, but it may have been worth your while replace the section of subfloor the flange rests on so you could secure it properly with new screws.

majakdragon 03-12-2010 08:22 AM

It does not look like the flange is sitting on flooring at all. This will cause problems in the future if the toilet gets moved by accident such as someone falling into it. The flange should be mounted directly to the floor material. With what you have, if the toilet should get moved, it may break off the piping under the flange.

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