Your Toilet Flanges
Here is a bit of home repair that one might expect to encounter -especially in an older home.
If you notice your toilet is rocking a little -or, a lot, an inspection of the toilet flange (aka closet flange) is in order. The toilet flanges in your home are the part of the assembly under the toilet that holds the toilet to the floor and contains (or includes) the wax ring that creates a seal between the toilet and the 3″ soil line (drain). If left unchecked it will eventually leak. Over the longer term, the leaking toilet will cause the floor and sub-flooring to deteriorate causing the leak to become worse. (These types of toilet problems don’t heal themselves and deferred maintenance is expensive).
An inspection of the toilet flange will require you to remove the toilet. Note the condition of the flange. Older homes may have one made of cast iron. Cast iron is brittle. If the bolts were overtightened or if it suffered some other undue stress, the cast iron sometimes breaks. Newer flanges are made of PVC and have been known to break, as well.
You can get a repair kit called a ‘spanner flange’ or, sometimes called a ‘flange saver.’ This will ‘bridge’ the gap where a piece of the flange is missing. To install the repair, remove the old screws that hold the flange in place. Place the toilet mounting bolt (facing up -to receive the toilet) in the spanner and screw the piece down using the existing holes. If the spanner doesn’t line up perfectly with existing holes, drill your own holes, ensuring the toilet mounting bolt is centered.
If the existing flange is beyond repair -too far gone to benefit from a flange repair kit, there is a product called a ‘J-Tech Flange’, made of PVC. The J-Tech is placed over the existing flange and drain. When the interior screws are tightened the lower portion is drawn up, expanding the rubber seal against the inside surface of the drain, creating an effective seal with little chance of ever leaking. So, there you have two easy ways of repairing a broken toilet flange and stemming the damage caused by a leaking toilet..
Install a new wax ring on the bottom of the toilet and replace the toilet. If you can, watch the next video for another perspective on using the spanner flange. Check back often for how-to tips for your home and garden.
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