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batkins61 11-11-2008 09:58 AM

Iron toilet flange, you make the call
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Here are some shots of my cast iron toilet flange. It's solid, not cracked, and doesn't move at all. However, it's pretty rusted, at least inside the flang. The surface of the flange itself seems ok.

I'm replacing an old floating mortar and tile floor with backerboard and porcelain tile. Assuming the flange is the correct height, will this work as is with a wax ring? Is it wise to use a waxless ring?

If I need to adjust the height (downward, probably), what is the best way to do that? I'm guessing I'll have to break out the flange and re-lead it deeper (if possible), or replace it with a slide in PVC flange. Are there other alternatives?


majakdragon 11-11-2008 10:13 AM

I can't see any way that backer board and tile will make up 1-1/4" of the space the flange is above the current floor.This would make the flange sit on top of the new floor, which is the maximum height you would want. I have a problem with the flange discharge hole. It looks like 2" ()although this may be an optical illusion). The reason the flange is so rusted inside is because all the flushed waste is hitting around the outside of the discharge hole before exiting to the piping below. If at all possible, I would remove the flange below the floor and after the new floor is installed, go from cast iron to PVC. The size (under 3") would still be a problem.

batkins61 11-11-2008 10:28 AM

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So, if I put backerboard up under the flange, and tiled to the edge of the flange, that would work, right? The flange was not anchored to the flow before, and I'm assuming I won't need to anchor it now, since it's so solid. Is that right?

Yep, definitely 2". Can I get a sleeve, or something else that would direct the waste past the flange and directly into the pipe? I can't really get at it to replace it. It sits right on top of a wye that comes off the 4" stack, which runs horizontal under the floor to the next toilet in line, on the other side of the wall behind the flange.

I'm still fuzzy on how a PVC flange mates up to a iron pipe, especially if the pipe is too small for a slide-in-compression replacement unit. If I did remove it, and considering the limited access, how would I do that?

majakdragon 11-11-2008 10:46 AM

My suggestion of switching to PVC was based on cutting off the cast iron pipe uner the floor and using a transition coupling such as a No-Hub or Fernco coupling made for this purpose. Before I go much further in this situation, I have to say that what you are doing will not meet code. You didn't say if this was a job on someone elses home or one you just bought or just remodeling. Doing this project the way it is currently is going to result in many headaches in the future. This is especially true if you intend to sell it and a Home Inspector is hired by a potential buyer. Sorry, but these are things you need to consider.

Termite 11-11-2008 04:12 PM

Majakdragon's giving you solid advice. Your flange was never right to begin with, and should definately be correctly anchored to the floor. The best course of action is to remove it beneath the floor and transition to PVC at the correct height.

As for not installing a wax ring, that's just not an option, unless you don't mind leaks and bad smell.

Can you post a picture of the pipe beneath the floor? Typically there is a lead coated brass extension that the flange attaches to, and it sticks out of the cast hub beneath the floor. This can be cut off beneath the floor using a grinder and cutoff wheel works well) and a fernco adapter can be used to transition to 3" PVC.

batkins61 11-12-2008 11:40 AM

Sorry, this is DIY in my own home, and it's only replacing the floor. No work is being done on the sewer line, at this point anyway. The net outcome of this project, when all is said and done, is simply replacing the toilet on the new floor. This house was built in '70, and it met code at that time. Unless I change something, I don't have to upgrade to code here.

I'm puzzled by the wax ring comment. Every house I've lived in has used wax rings between the flange and the toilet, and to my knowledge that's been nearly universal for decades. A bad ring, or an old one, can definitely leak and/or allow odors past, but I've never experienced either, at over 25 years of owning homes. Are all those wax rings being sold at stores now suddenly not to code for seating a toilet? What am I missing here?

The existing flange was never attached to the floor or tile, which is original for this home.

majakdragon 11-12-2008 12:50 PM

I think you misread KC's wax seal comment. He stated that wax seals need to be installed to prevent leaks. Some waxless seals are not code in some areas. I would not use one since they are rubber type products that I would worry about degrading. I have never seen a 2" toilet drain. I have owned and worked on houses 50 to 100 years old and all had a minimum of 3" drains. The shape of your flange reminds me of roof or floor drains.

batkins61 11-12-2008 01:24 PM

Ok, I did completely misread that. I apologize thekctermite. (I was also thinking the waxless rubber thing looked a little dodgy).

I'm not sure what to do about that 2" pipe. The other stool is the same, and neither has ever given us any problem. I can see that the bucket shaped transition from the flange to the pipe is a problem, but 38 years has only produced the corrosion you see in the pictures, so I'm reluctant to hack it up just to solve that problem.

The stack runs up against (and perpendicular to) the floor joists in a tight crawlspace under the house. The wye and vertical part leading up to the flange are between two joists, so there's no access to that without dropping a section of the stack itself.

If there were a way to put another flange onto the iron one, and trim it to provide a better transition into the pipe, that would be my first choice. But, I can imagine all sorts of problems with the potential for trapped water or waste between the two, movement, and whatnot. Perhaps that's better just left along?

Thanks All for your continued feedback and help!!

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