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Toilet detached

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  • #646112
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    So…I noticed that we had a loose toilet at work when I was filling in for one of our janitors. Today I went to tighten down the bolts attaching it to the bathroom floor and they just spun. I tried using my fingers, and was shocked and dismayed to realize I could fully remove both bolts by simply pulling them out.

    Before I go and remove the toilet to re-affix it to the floor, are there any options you all know of to attach the base without pulling the toilet and starting from scratch? I’m guessing it’s been this way for weeks or longer, and there hasn’t been any leaking (at least, not that I can see…) and the only people who use it are toddlers to preschoolers since it’s in a daycare bathroom. I was just under the floor there last week, and it didn’t seem like there’d been any leaking into the floor, so I’m hopeful that the wax seal hadn’t been compromised, but I’m sure that’s only a matter of time. I’ve thought of just caulking all around the bottom of the toilet to secure it in place, but I’m slightly worried that because that wouldn’t put any downward pressure on the bottom flange on the toilet, it could still cause problems. Any tips, tricks, or helpful advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Charlie
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    #646119

    Oh boy, that looks rusted, usually rusty bolts means water got to them somehow.

    I’m thinking that the ring that screws down to the floor could have rust damage, or even worse, broke,
    Usually for Comercial they would use metal, might have no choice to remove the bowl and replace the metal hold ring around the drain pipe,

    Personally I would remove the bowl and get a better assessment.

    #646120
    RyanF
    Pro

    That’s a lot of corrosion.

    It needs to be pulled. Not sure what your relationship is to this business, but it if were me, i wouldnt touch it. Whoever makes these kind of decisions should be informed that a licensed plumber is needed.

    #646126
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Oh boy, that looks rusted, usually rusty bolts means water got to them somehow.

    I’m thinking that the ring that screws down to the floor could have rust damage, or even worse, broke,
    Usually for Comercial they would use metal, might have no choice to remove the bowl and replace the metal hold ring around the drain pipe,

    Personally I would remove the bowl and get a better assessment.

    Ugh, thats the last thing I want to do, but I’m worried you’re right.

    That’s a lot of corrosion.

    It needs to be pulled. Not sure what your relationship is to this business, but it if were me, i wouldnt touch it. Whoever makes these kind of decisions should be informed that a licensed plumber is needed.

    I’m the facilities manager for the church the daycare is in, so I’m the one responsible for either fixing this or calling in a plumber.

    Charlie
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    #646145
    ChadM
    Moderator
    East Palestine, Ohio

    Definitely needs pulled. Pull it, put in some new closet bolts and you should be good. If the flange is bad you can buy a repair flange to fix it. Or, you could just call a plumber and avoid the hassle…

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #646147
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    I would go get a new stainless toilet flange, bolts and wax ring before pulling the toilet. More than likely they all are needed. Your also going to need to drill for the new bolts that will attach the replacement ring to the floor. I’m guessing that this is on a slab?

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #646148
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    I crawled underneath the floor and removed all the insulation from around the drain – the plywood sub floor was completely dry. Now I’m looking at the bolts again. The rust colored junk around them is wax, and could be discolored not from rust, but just age, right? So if there isn’t any other sign of water damage, I’m thinking of just drilling all the way through the sub floor, and securing the flange with a couple 6″ 1/4 20 SS bolts.

    Charlie
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    #646151
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I would just check the flange and verify that it is good, the bolts may have just spun out of the slots. If the flange is damaged, it should be replaced. you can install a metal flange over the existing and seal between them with the wax. the flange will screw to the floor and the “T” bolts to the flange.

    While bolting through the floor may seem like a good Idea, If you are not there and something needs to be done with the toilet in the future, I could see issues.

    #646152
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I’ll echo what was said above…confirm the flange isn’t junk and replace the wax and bolts.

    When I install a toilet, I use an extra set of nuts to hold the closet bolts to the flange so they don’t float around/spin while tightening the toilet to the floor….might be helpful.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #646202

    @cmeyer25 looks like that rust is from cleaning the floors and it pools around the flange pretty common in commercial areas . It’s a smiple fix pop the bowl check the flange , install a new ring .

    Always willing to learn .

    #646223
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    You all make it sound so easy, but I’m pretty nervous to open what may be a nasty can of worms…but I know you’re right. Tomorrow I’ll go for it. Wish me luck!

    Charlie
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    #646227
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    but I’m pretty nervous to open what may be a nasty can of worms…

    Well that’s why they have plumbers.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #646231
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    One other tip I will throw in, I always get a new wax ring with a flange.
    Also when you go to the store some rings come with new bolts and some don’t. When you tighten the new toilet bolts be careful not to over tighten them as it can break your toilet.

    #646262
    kswiss
    Pro
    edmonton, AB

    Should be a pretty simple fix, just pull the toilet off and replace the bolts, if the flange is damaged replace that too

    #646283
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    but I’m pretty nervous to open what may be a nasty can of worms…

    Well that’s why they have plumbers.

    Haha – touché @doobie. But that’s my job – to see if we can avoid bringing in the expensive professionals. And really, I know I can do the work, it’s just a crappy small space, and it will likely take all day running to the store to get parts etc, and it’s likely that some of the fittings to the toilet will leak once they’re cracked open since they’re probably older than I am.

    One other tip I will throw in, I always get a new wax ring with a flange.
    Also when you go to the store some rings come with new bolts and some don’t. When you tighten the new toilet bolts be careful not to over tighten them as it can break your toilet.

    Good point, I’ll be careful of that.

    Should be a pretty simple fix, just pull the toilet off and replace the bolts, if the flange is damaged replace that too

    Alright guys, thanks for the encouragement – I’m off to get it done! I’ll post up a couple of pictures through it as I get it apart and back together again.

    Charlie
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    #646291
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Flange was definitely rusted. Good call everyone.

    Attachments:

    Charlie
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    #646307
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Got it all done and put back together, with no leaks! Thanks everyone for the encouragement to just take the time and do it right. I would have regretted it later and it really wasn’t as big a deal as I was thinking. Luckily it didn’t cause any leaks in the plumbing leading into the toilet, so all I had to address was the failed wax flange. There was an interesting thing I had to deal with though – securing the new flange to the floor I had to pick up 5″ screws to reach anything solid to screw into…not sure what that was about, but I saw when I crawled under there, that a 1/4″ x 6″ paddle bit just barely reached the bottom of the plywood so they must have tiled over some other existing flooring at some time or something. But everything seems solid and leak free now.

    Charlie
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    #646318

    @cmeyer25 great job Charlie,
    Definitely knew you could do it, you definitely have done more complex things before,
    You just put some other experience under your belt,
    Good job.

    #646323
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    Good job ! Now you won’t be afraid when it needs done again.
    Was it worth doing yourself and not paying the plumber???

    #646341
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    Looks like you figured it out. Nice job.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

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