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    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #1

    Feb 7, 2008, 01:51 PM
    "Professionally installed" toilet comments
    This new toilet was “installed professionally” about 2 years ago.

    First note the toilet flange. It has brown material between the seem of the flange and the cast iron pipe but no covering. This material I assume to be oakum.

    There is this string of lead that looks like a hoola-hoop around the bottom of the pipe. Apparently the garbage when the old flange was removed.

    I did not show a picture of the GARBAGE on top of the ceiling tiles nearby.

    Now note the toilet base topside. It was caulked and now the caulk has separated from the toilet leaving an 1/8 gap. The caulk is hard as a rock. I believe they did this primarily to stop rocking. It does not seem to rock now, but the caulk should not have separated, nor should the toilet have moved.

    The toilet, Vortex Vianna, has to be plunged periodically, say about 2x/month on average.

    The professional has a radio show called “Your Handyman” and has an interesting racket going. He claims to be the owner of a plumbing contractor, but really he has businesses in all aspects of home fix-up and repair. He’ll say, call my office and I’ll give you a name of a roofer, etc. It turns out he owns that company.

    So guys, what’s wrong with the pictures? What has to be corrected and how?

    This is the reason I hesitate to have professionals do the work.
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    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,832, Reputation: 1212
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    #2

    Feb 7, 2008, 02:16 PM
    OK KISS... you are right about the old stuff at pipe... just old lead from old flange.

    I think you are right on about the caulking being needed to keep toilet tight to floor... but you said that toilet is not rocking.. right..

    My guess is that the floor is rotted around the flange and then when plumber replaced the old flange there was no way to connect it to the rotted plywood floor around the flange.. so they just caulked around base.. and worked good for long time.

    The only way I can see to rigidly affix the flange to floor is to lift toilet (check that lead is caulked tightly at flange) and then install 3/4" plywood underneath floor (screw up through plywood from basement) with hole in it for pipe... slice up center and screw in place (make plywood as wide as joist bay and at least as long... WILL NEED TO NIP THE NAILS OFF FLUSH AT UNDERSIDE OF FLOOR OR PULL THEM THROUGH.. LOOKS LIKE Will be EASY TO PULL THROUGH). THEN GO TOPSIDE AND SCREW THE CAST IRON FLANGE INTO THE NEW PLYWOOD.

    Then re-install toilet and should be good for years to come. BUT KISS... if not leaking... why touch this... why not just recaulk..?

    Let me know if this helped.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #3

    Feb 7, 2008, 02:24 PM
    The exposed oakum is OK?

    What is the recommened caulk?

    Should I check for shimmable areas?

    What's best under the toilet? Grout , caulk, lead sheet or something else.
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,832, Reputation: 1212
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    #4

    Feb 7, 2008, 02:27 PM
    The exposed oakum is fine... normal looking. It is the lead caulk job at flange that matters more.

    Best under toilet for this job is adhesive caulking.. see if you can strip off old caulking using a putty knife.. do not be too aggressive... and reseal with new, mildew resistant adhesive caulking. That will affix toilet tightly again.


    Oh, and if any real shimmable areas install the new plastic types they are selling today... GREAT stuff. BUT only if you have rocking problem, otherwise just caulk!

    As long as no leak I think you will be just fine. Good luck!
    iamgrowler's Avatar
    iamgrowler Posts: 1,421, Reputation: 110
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    #5

    Feb 7, 2008, 02:59 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by KeepItSimpleStupid
    The exposed oakum is OK?
    It wouldn't be OK with me, that's for sure.

    Without the lead holding everything tightly together, the closet flange can and will rock on the pipe.

    If it were me, I'd pull the existing flange and replace it with a Torque-Set closet flange.

    What is the recommened caulk?
    I'm partial to Poly-Seam Seal; Good adhesion once it has cured and easy clean up with a damp rag or sponge.

    Should I check for shimmable areas?
    That's kind of putting the cart before the horse if you ask me.

    Go with MassP's idea of tacking some 3/4" ply on the underside to shore up the floor -- Use construction adhesive and 1" screws to fasten it to the existing sub floor, then dry set the WC to see if shimming will be necessary.

    What's best under the toilet? Grout , caulk, lead sheet or something else.
    Poly-Seam Seal would be my first choice.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #6

    Feb 7, 2008, 03:12 PM
    WHich polyseam seal?

    Polyseamseal® The Biggest Name in Caulk
    iamgrowler's Avatar
    iamgrowler Posts: 1,421, Reputation: 110
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    #7

    Feb 7, 2008, 03:28 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by KeepItSimpleStupid
    I use the Tub & Tile caulk.
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,832, Reputation: 1212
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    #8

    Feb 7, 2008, 04:57 PM
    Iamgrowler... for what it is worth... the lead is holding the flange on... that old lead you see in picture is from the previous flange... then a new flange was installed using oakum and a new lead ring poured above the floor... the oakum is exposed but I would bet that the cast iron flange upstairs is still leaded in perfect... but KISS can let us know when toilet gets lifted off.

    If flange is questionable certainly remove as Iamgrowler said... BUT if flange is super strong and lead ring around pipe/flange is properly caulked in (a term used when we use caulking irons to hammer/peen the lead around a pipe) the flange is just fine and does not need to be replaced.

    If loose or questionable, then go with that torque-set flange Iamgrowler recommends... will work great there for you without having to melt lead and peen the new flange in. If you need to remove flange cause it is bad by the way... get out the hammer and cold chisel and split the flange to remove. Good luck... keep us posted.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #9

    Feb 7, 2008, 05:54 PM
    The flange was replaced 2 years ago. It's just that the oakum is exposed downstairs where the picture was taken.

    I'll bet that the flange rotates because it's not screwed to the floor and may not even be leaded in.

    Thus the caulked toilet rotated causing the 1/8" gap that I see in the caulk.

    We know that the installer said the "floor is uneven"

    So, the flange could be installed correctly but not firmly attached to the floor. The gap in the caulk is only explainable if the toilet can rotate, right?
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,832, Reputation: 1212
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    #10

    Feb 7, 2008, 05:58 PM
    If flange moves a hair... replace it for sure. If does not then do wood trick I mentioned and secure.. will fix issue.

    See, people on toilet not properly secured can move the toilet slightly left/right/back/forth, etc... so even if flange tightly leaded toilet will move (mechanically, lever arm is quite great if you include human and toilet and fact not secured through floor). Anyway... LIFT that toilet, let me and the growler know what you find!! Thanks.
    iamgrowler's Avatar
    iamgrowler Posts: 1,421, Reputation: 110
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    #11

    Feb 7, 2008, 06:13 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by massplumber2008
    Iamgrowler...for what it is worth...the lead is holding the flange on...that old lead you see in picture is from the previous flange...then a new flange was installed using oakum and a new lead ring poured above the floor...the oakum is exposed but I would bet that the cast iron flange upstairs is still leaded in perfect...but KISS can let us know when toilet gets lifted off.

    If flange is questionable certainly remove as Iamgrowler said...BUT if flange is super strong and lead ring around pipe/flange is properly caulked in (a term used when we use caulking irons to hammer/peen the lead around a pipe) the flange is just fine and does not need to be replaced.

    If loose or questionable, then go with that torque-set flange Iamgrowler recommends....will work great there for you without having to melt lead and peen the new flange in. If you need to remove flange cause it is bad by the way...get out the hammer and cold chisel and split the flange to remove. Good luck...keep us posted.
    Given the dubious nature of the rest of the installation, I'm guessing the ring of lead we see just above the hub fell down sometime after the installer tried to reuse it by tamping it in.

    I try hard to not be so cynical, but dollars to doughnuts, the installer failed to caulk the upper portion of the flange with lead.
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,832, Reputation: 1212
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    #12

    Feb 7, 2008, 06:26 PM
    Now growler.. that would just bum me out if that is the case... :( Kiss.. let us know what you find please. Seems we both want to help you attain best outcome... Take care all!!
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #13

    Feb 7, 2008, 06:48 PM
    KISS what's between the ply sub floor and the underside of that pik tile? There must be another layer of something. Are any of the grout lines cracked around the toilet base? Without pulling the toilet I can't tell what he put in for a flange, could have even been growlers torque or an Oatey twist-n-set. If theses were put in and not tightened you'll be rocking every time you park yourself.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #14

    Feb 7, 2008, 07:13 PM
    Well, I marked the flange relative to the pipe.

    The toilet rotates, but the flange didn't seem to move. No rocking.

    I could not see anything securing the flange to the floor from the bottom.

    I don't want another project until I get the last one done.
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,832, Reputation: 1212
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    #15

    Feb 7, 2008, 07:17 PM
    Damn.. I like how fast you respond! Finish last project... how did you resolve shutoff issue... I don't remember final solution??

    Then, lift toilet. We all wonder what is under that toilet! And, love the pics... really help. Get back ASAP... ;) Enjoy all your posts!
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #16

    Feb 8, 2008, 08:50 AM
    If the toilet rotates then three issues are present. 1. The flange was not screwed to the floor. 2. The flange is not secure to the pipe. 3. the pro is not a pro. Pull the toilet and do it the right way which may include replacing the flange or at least secure it in both places.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #17

    Feb 8, 2008, 09:34 AM
    Mp:

    The last project will probably be completed this weekend, I hope. Ball valves were installed downstairs with 1/2 NPT female ports so that a recirc system COULD be added later.

    I tried taking the stem apart for the hot angle stop and found the valve needs to be replaced. The pipe is crimped at the angle stop connection as well. Hot is turned off at the new valve and the port to the faucet is plugged so there is cold water available.

    It took me a long time to locate parts for what I was trying to do, but I found: a) A 3" chrome plated nipple, 3/8 female adapter NPT to 1/2 copper sweat, a 3/8 pipe bell flange and a 3/8 IPS to 3/8 compression angle stop. I will support the pipes downstairs, so the valves upstairs don't move.

    PROS: bell flange can be replaced independently, angle stop can be replaced independently. Sweated material is smaller. Bell flange will hide female adapter. No compression fittings on the supply side CONS: not as easy getting the angle stop straight.

    Everybody, seems to have 1/2 IPS or 1/2 compression angle stops. The IPS are just way too big in diameter. Copper is just ugly. 2nd choice would have been the ugly one. Extend copper with a coupling and connect a 1/2 compression to 3/8 compression angle stop.

    In any event, it's going to be tough sweating and unsweating the pipe.

    Turns out the toilet flange was near the area I had to work and I had a work light up there.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #18

    Mar 11, 2008, 09:26 PM
    Feedback:

    The toilet bolts were not tight. Hence, the toilet rotated. A magnificent grasp of the obvious here.

    I cleaned up the pipe and used EXTEND on it. Then taped a piece of newspaper around it like a cone to see if I could spot any leaks.

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