Sink stem design problem?


Old 04-17-00, 05:50 PM
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Our house is almost 3 years old. We have Moen fixtures throughout. We also have cultured marble vanity tops throughout. Recently, my wife noticed that the sink flange in our Master Bath lavatory was extremely scratched, and asked that I replace it.

I unscrewed the stem (with pop-up stopper) and found to my dismay, that there was mold growing around the stem (between the top of the sink surface and the bottom seal.) Still, I merrily went on my way to find a
suitable replacement. I spent several hours at local retail outlets looking at their stock and found that ALL of their pop-up stopper replacements had a hole on both sides of the stems. I rushed home to find that mine did also. Mine were the largest holes I had seen all day.

I had pondered on the holes at the stores and figured they had 2 possible reasons.
1. to drain overflow from the overflow hole,
2. to permit air into the drain and facilitate drainage.

I eventually found a place that had a replacement Moen flange (inner threads) and
came home again ready to replace it. This time, after cleaning the excess putty and removing what mold I could, I noticed that some of the black around the inside of the
lavatory hole was not mold, but a crack that ran from the outside edge of the old flange, to the inside of the hole (at the 3:00 position.)
This crack then widens and crawls counter-clockwise just at the top edge
of the sink (just below the flange) to the 9:00 position where it widens
further and heads to the bottom of the sink to the 6:00 position.

I am sealing this crack with silicone sealant. And am considering a few

In the meantime, I'm curious about a few things.
1. Neither lavatory in this double sink counter-top has an overflow hole. Is this against code requirement in most major areas?

2. Water entering the drain can splash out the holes in the stem and into the area sealed on top by the flange and on bottom by the seal. This water can never drain out and at best can only evaporate if given the chance. This certainly explains the mold and awful odor I observed as I removed the flange/ stem. The only stems I could find that had no holes were flanged tubes with rubber stoppers. I can only see that this
problem will continue. I'm also concerned about having sealed the crack with silicone sealant. Mold in the crack can continue to grow and perhaps expand the crack further.

Now to my alternatives. I am considering the following:
1. Replacing the Moen chrome plated brass stem with a plastic stem that
has much smaller holes. I could fill these holes with silicon to prevent water from escaping into the sink hole area.

2. Using heat shrinkable tubing around the stem to cover the holes. Perhaps strengthened with electrical tape or other.

3. I was advised by another plumbing expert to use duct tape. I do not find this a reasonable solution knowing that duct tape eventually deteriorates faster, generally, than many other tapes.

Ok, I seem to have written a book here. I hope I have adequately described the problem. Please help me if you can.
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Old 04-20-00, 08:53 PM
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most vanitys do and should have over- flow
access, either they are cheap or the drilling
was over looked. im also a little confused,
you are speaking of the drain on the vanity ?
is this the part you are having trouble matching??

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