Funny Toilet reinstall....Sort of

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Old 05-05-14, 08:38 AM
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Funny Toilet reinstall....Sort of

Toilet Seal replacement Fiasco.

So, the other day, I decided it was time to fix the crooked toilet seat cover. When taking it off, I noticed that the toilet had a bit of movement to it, more than I noticed previously. I decided that since I had a spare seal on hand, I would remove the toilet and replace the seal (been 7 years since it was installed). So, I removed the toilet and found a broken closet flange. When I installed the toilet, I installed a cheap PVC 3” flange, since that was what was installed previously. (I had renovated the bathroom when we bought the house and had simply replace the existing flange with an identical model, but new toilet). The flange in question only had 2 mounting holes for screwing to the subfloor, yet had 2 different closet bolt slots for the toilet. No wonder the toilet started moving around. Plus one of the closet bolt sections had broke. So, what do I do, silly me. I simply rotate the flange and reinstall the flange, new seal, toilet, etc. Only to find that when I am tightening the closet bolt nut on one side, it pulls up. Crap! I pull the toilet off to find the flange now really distorted. So, off to ACE hardware I go (after cleaning up the waxy mess for the 2nd time in one day). At ACE, I am happy to see the flange I installed NOT in the store. But rather a few models with lots of mounting holes. The model I went with has a stainless steel flange attached to a 4” PVC outlet. I then bought a 4” to 3” reducer, and some new seals, as well as something new. The Fernco FTS-4 no-wax seal. I figured I would give it a shot.

I installed the flange without much trouble other than having to drill 6 small screw holes in my ceramic tile floor. Yes, the flange sits on the floor, not the subfloor. Not sure why I installed it that way back in 2007, but I must have had a reason. I seriously cleaned the toilet to accept the Fernco seal. This seal looks a bit different that models of the same name I find on the net when I search for it. Basically, it is 3”ID rubber boot with an expanded upper section to fit around the toilet horn. The bottom of the boot has 3 ridges or fins that provide the seal against the closet flange outlet. So, I put the seal on the toilet, align the bolt holes to bolts and slowly lower the toilet to the drain. I check front and side alignment to confirm that I am centered. I am. I push the toilet down. No go. I sit on the toilet, no go. I briefly hop up and down (butt only). Nothing moves. There is a 1”+ gap between the toilet and floor. I decided to pull the toilet up and recheck things. Seal stays in the pipe. It is not bottoming out on anything, so, not sure why it did not go all the way (note that the instructions say to use soapy water on the seal when installing. I did this). So, I spend about 30 minutes pulling the seal out. I look at the seal, the pipe, the seal the pipe. I take a nice and cut the bottom 1” off the seal (removing one fin). I reinstall the seal to the toilet, reinstall on the flange and it fits fine. The toilet is now on the floor flush. I tighten the flange bolts. I do about ½ turn each side at a time. I am thinking I am almost there with the bolt on one side pulls up. Crap!! I pull the toilet up and find that the closet bolt has pulled through the flange. This was why I went with stainless steel! I gently tap the slot edges with a hammer on both sides and reinstall the toilet, tighten the bolts gently and now all is well.

What a day. I could not believe it was this difficult!

This made me think of a few questions for those out there in the know.
1. Is it better to install the closet flange on the finished floor or subfloor?
2. Anyone have any luck with these new wax-less seals?
3. Anyone use Kohler toilets (what I have), which has the bottom of the horn almost flush to the bottom of the toilet?
 
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Old 05-05-14, 10:00 AM
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1. Is it better to install the closet flange on the finished floor or subfloor?
It should always be installed on the finished floor. If it's installed on the subfloor, you end up with needing large wax rings and other non-optimal setups.

2. Anyone have any luck with these new wax-less seals?
I've never tried them. I understand they work fine, though to be honest, I'm not sure of the pros/cons of using them.

3. Anyone use Kohler toilets (what I have), which has the bottom of the horn almost flush to the bottom of the toilet?
I've installed a couple Kohler toilets and haven't run into this issue. They have always worked with a standard wax ring. Maybe others have?
 
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