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Todds 10-01-2003 08:19 PM

Toilet Flange & Plumbing
Well I am trying to temp fix a problem now and I will get to the demo and tiling later :)

I had the smell of sewer gas in my downstairs bathroom. I removed the toilet. The toilet wasn't really secured to the concrete floor. There was a closet flange ring that held the bolts but there is what appears to be a lead liner or lead closet bend that was bent over the metal closet flange ring. The flange ring is not secured to the floor at all. I am assuming it is a lead closet bend since it bends really easy. The lip was bent up arond the bolts probably from sitting on the toilet. I banged the lead lip down with a mallet. I am planing on getting some tapcon screws to secure the closet flange to the concrete floor.

Does this sound good?. Any thoughts? If it wasn't a concrete floor I would rip it out when I re-tile but if I do not need to I'd rather not.

See attached pic.

Todds 10-01-2003 08:20 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is the pic.

Splinter 10-01-2003 09:16 PM

A few tapcons should do the trick. When you reinstall the toilet use an extra thick wax ring (or two regular rings) since your flange is below floor level. Also check the lead bend for any tears or holes before covering everything back up. They tend to rot away after 40 years or so.

cx 10-01-2003 09:29 PM

For a temporary fix, Todds, I would do nothing but install a new wax ring, shim the toilet so it sits firmly in place (pieces of that same lead you have there work really well for shims), snug the nuts back down and potty away.

I use those "leads" in all my new construction concrete foundations. The one you have is all lead, while the new ones we use are only lead for the vertical portion and PVC for the actual bend. The lead comes with a closed lead top on it. When comes time to set fixtures, you cut off the lead a little above the finished floor, slip a brass flange over it, bend the lead out over the beveled part of the flange and solder the lead/brass joint. On concrete or tile floor, I personally never bother to put any screws through the flange - it ain't going anywhere.

On your installation, with what looks like a cast iron flange (?) and the lead just hammered over the top, it would be less sound, but if the bowl is shimmed around the edges, it shouldn't be much of a problem, but it's certainly no big deal to stick a couple Tapcons in there.

On tile floors, I also set the bowl in a bead of grout for leveling and stabilizing. The flange bolts are not at all stressed in normal use.

My opinion; worth price charged.

By the way, what did you determine to be the cause of your sewer smell?

Todds 10-02-2003 09:12 AM

FYI, The lead on top of the flange is pretty much level with the tile floor. Also, I can see a little bit of water at the site of the bend. It looks ok. But then again what do I know :D

I had the odor downstairs which is right below the bathroom that I remodeled, which you guys helped me extensively. I thought oh s*** did I not glue a waste pipe fitting or something. I had a hole cut in the ceiling under the waste pipe for the toilet to make sure the pitch was correct and I stuck my head up there and smelled nothing. The other plumbing was in the landury room, where I also had the celing removed to run plumbing and I smelled nothing there.

I then went to check out the bathroom this floor. The bathroom is very tiny and when I went in there it was hard to tell if it was comming from here or not. After a little while you tend to get used to the odor and you no longer notice. While I do not really use this bathroom that much I remembered that the toilet can move side to side rather easily and it does rock a little. My son tends to like the bathroom though and while there was no water leak from the wax ring I figured that the movement might have broken the seal in a small spot.

Before removing the toilet and before I knew what was there I bought three different wax rings. After removing the toilet I put the regular height was ring on. I bought the wax ring with the plastic support. When I put the toilet back it went right down to the floor and there wasn't anything to presss down to seat the wax ring. I though that maybee the wax ring was not tall enough. I tried the thicker wax ring (which as has the plastic support) and put the toilet down and had the same results. At this point I just screwed it down and thought that everything was ok. There was a little smell and I was not sure if it was from the mess left behind from trying to remove the original wax ring. I scrubbed the bathroom down with bleach and water and everything seemed ok. However, when I can down the next day and opened the door there was no denying the smell :)

I ripped out the toilet last night and took the pics. I figure that I should just get a regular wax ring with no plastic reinforcement. I figure that without the reinforcement that the ring would squish down a little. I was going to use the tapcon to hold the toilet flange ring down to the concrete to make sure that the seal doesn't get broken again.

If what I propose is OK I have a couple of questions. I have a tile floor in the bathroom and I may want to rip it out and lay a new floor. As I said the bathroom is very small (i.e. the toilet takes up about half of it) so this may not be that big of a deal. What is the best approach? Also, should I leave the lead closet bend in place or does it make sense to replace it. If so, how complicated is this one?

John Bridge 10-02-2003 05:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I run into the hammered over lead quite a bit around here. I don't see a problem with it if, as CX advises, the toilet is properly shimmed and supported. Plumbers use caulking around the base of the toilet to seal it. It is actually the caulking that holds the toilet in place. We use grout around the base, and when the grout sets, that potty ain't gonna rock at all. ;)

Here is an example of what I think you have, Todd. I wouldn't worry about trying to attach the flange to the floor.

Todds 10-02-2003 07:09 PM

Well I already screwed it down with the Tapcon's. John your photo is more like what CX is talking about. A lead vertical with a PVC bend. It also looks like the th flange is attached to the lead. Mine is all lead and the bent over part is not attached to the flange. I guess I can't go wrong screwing it down anyway. After I put the new potty back I'll get some grout to secure it in place or I'll shim it since it may be temporary.

Bryan Klakamp 10-02-2003 09:16 PM

Just a little note on wax rings.

Fernco offers a rubber seal that adheres to the bottom of the toilet, and slides into 3" pipe. It will make up for a floor that is higher than the toilet flange. It also does away with the nasty wax, and you can remove the toilet and reinstall without changing the gasket.

cx 10-02-2003 09:29 PM

Fitting inside a three inch pipe is starting to sound like an added restriction, Bryan. Seems like a company like Fernco woulda considered that in their testing, though. How does it seal to the drain pipe?

Bryan Klakamp 10-02-2003 09:43 PM

It slips inside the pipe, a couple of flaps seal between it and the pipe. I don't think it restricts any more than a plastic horn on a wax ring does. I tried to find it on the Fernco web site, but it is not listed there. Must be pretty new.

Anyway, I don't see a problem with it. I will install it on a toilet next week in an apartment I am currently remodeling. I'll try to remember to let you know how it works.

The one thing the box did say is that all the wax and other residue had to be completely cleaned off the bottom of the toilet for it to stick. The problem I can see with it is that you would need to set the toilet on a dolly until you could put it back on, since it stays attached to the toilet. But then, that isn't all bad since it makes the toilet easy to move around.

Todds 10-03-2003 10:31 AM

While I already have a toilet flange ring that is below the bent over lead it is not connected and serves very little purpose except as a place to put the toilet bolts. The current flange ring + the bent over lead is approx level with my tile floor. I see from this board and plumbing sites that the flange should be installed on top of the finished floor. This way the flange sticks up about 1/2" - 5/8" off the floor and the horn from the toilet ends up inside the flange.

I saw that plumbest makes an adjustable toilet flange, probably for cast iron, that slips into 3 or 4" pipe with a rubber gasket ring that you twist to seal the gasket against the pipe. I was thinking of putting this on top of the existing bent lead and flange ring. Since the gasket on the outside of this flange locks inside the pipe I eliminate any probelm of trying to get a good seal with wax on an uneven surface (i.e the bent over lead) that seems to be causing the sewer gas to escape. The horn of the toilet should then slip inside of the flange and would be sealed by the wax ring (plain or wax and neoprene). While the flange is held in place by the rubber gasket in the inside of the pipe. It can be screwed down with a couple of Fernco's. This may be overkill or illadvised. Any opinions?

Bryan Klakamp 10-08-2003 08:51 PM


Installed that toilet today. The size of the hole in the rubber Fernco fitting is slightly larger in diameter than the hole in the bottom of the toilet. It secured very well to the bottom of the bowl, and slid nicely into the pipe. I put a little plumber's grease on the fitting, slid it into the pipe, then pulled it back out to see how easy it would be to get back out. It came right out, and was still stuck to the toilet. At first, the toilet didn't want to sit fully on the floor, and that concerned me since I have broken a toilet once when I was reinstalling it after a bath remodel. But it tightened right down without putting alot of pressure on the bolts. The vinyl flooring needs to be put down yet, but I needed a toilet in the meantime. An advantage to using this fitting is that you will never wonder if you have the toilet centered on the pipe, and there is no wax to ooze out or clean up. You can also rotate the toilet if you don't get it square to the wall the first time.

Todds 10-09-2003 08:27 AM


What is the name/model number of this fitting. I searched on the Frenco site and could not find it. The only waxleass fitting I have seen is by fluidmaster.

Bryan Klakamp 10-09-2003 08:34 PM


I'll look at the box tomorrow and let you know.

cx 10-09-2003 09:14 PM

That's interesting, Bryan. Maybe if you get a number we can all get a look at it on the web. I've never thought of wax rings as that much of a problem, but I'll take a lesson any ol' day. :)

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