Why is Toilet Flange Too High and How to Fix it?

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    Imagine walking into bathroom after remodeling and seeing toilet drain flange sticking out of the floor and it seems to be too high.

    This issue is common to see in old house bathroom remodeling jobs. Inexperienced project managers and general contractors don’t need to panic because there is always a solution with easy fix.

    Immediately there will be questions such as:

    1. What Caused Toilet Flange to be Too High?
    2. Immediate and Cost Effective Fixes
    3. What Are Potential Problems with High Flange?

    Remodel On Point team wants to tackle these questions and give detailed information to all home owners or general contractors that are in beginning of career path.

    What Causes Toilet Flange to be Too High?

    Smart remodeling companies always get to the root cause of an issue to prevent reoccurrence. We don’t want to blame anyone, but preventing an issue before it happens is the easiest way to save money.

    3 Main Causes for Flange Being too High

    • Plumber Installed Drain Too High
    • Defected Flange or Connection
    • Multiple Layers of Floor Tiles

    Understanding what to look for before starting remodeling project is going to save time and money. More so, knowledgeable salesman can use all information to sign the project.

    Plumber Installed Drain Too High – Replacing old drain with new has few stages. During rough ins, new drain pipe is installed usually higher than it will end up. It’s easier for everyone to work around it and cut pipe later in the process.

    Don’t throw plumbers under the bus yet. Everyone works differently, and supervisor on jobsite should remind expectations and all details that workers need to comply with.

    Just remind them to cut it down and let plumbers know exact thickness of tiles with cement mix.

    Defected Flange or Connection – Every material has defects or issues at work. It may not be often, but once in a blue moon we see defected flanges that don’t go that easy on drain pipe no matter how we try.

    If everything was done properly, replacement of flange piece would solve everything. Regular flange costs around $10 and can go as high as $50 for high end toilets.

    Stay away from anything under that price or you will have issues with height and connection.

    Multiple Layers of Floor Tiles – Older homes have layers over layers of flooring and tiles. This is because during previous project contractors wanted to save money, and installed layer of tiles on top without demolishing it first.

    Now when we remove everything properly and put only one tile on the floor, flange would be about 1 inch higher than its supposed to be.

    Simple Fix When Toilet Flange Too High

    Those who are reading this article probably have their flange installed too high and now looking for a simple solution.

    You can do it on your own or call handyman and have it fixed easily.

    Here are fixes we propose for flange fix:

    • Replace Flange
    • Cut Down Pipe
    • Raise The Floor

    Each above stated fix does not cost more than $50 even if you pay someone to do it. Although plumber or tile installed are able to include it in their scope of work without extras.

    Replace Flange – the easiest and cheapest solution is obviously to replace defected flange. Any plumbing supplier or hardware store sells them and its super easy to replace.

    New flange should fit perfectly 3 inch drain pipe and be on the same level or slightly lower than floor tiles.

    Cut Down Pipe – realizing issue down the line makes everything harder to adjust. If pipe is too big and you already put flange on it with tiles around, you my friend have an issue.

    Now you need to take everything apart and cut down drain pipe for it to have flange connection below floor level.

    Few tiles may need to be taken out for plumber to cut the drain and readjust toilet connection.

    Raise The Floor – If you cannot move the flange down, move the floor up. Not the easiest solution after the tiles are installed. That would mean installing extra level of tile or taking of those you just laid.

    If you found out that flange is too high before tiling, guys can fix it by increasing amount of cement to raise the floor up.

    It would cost just one more hour of labor and several bags of concrete mix.

    What Happens if You Don’t Fix It?

    What is the worst that can happen? Actually small details like this can lead to thousands of dollars in fixes later on if not addressed immediately.

    • Toilet is Unstable
    • Looks Horrible with Gap
    • Water Leaking

    Every small issue during construction transforms into something bigger every day. Trades are not happy when they are called for fixes and can charge hundreds of dollars per visit.

    Toilet is Unstable – When flange is too high, installation of toilet won’t be as tight. Bottom will not reach floor level and connection is not going to be secure.

    Imagine that your toilet will be on tiny piper pedestal and can pivot from side to side.

    In worst case scenario toilet will fall on side and break into pieces. Hopefully no one would be using it at the time.

    Looks Horrible with Gap – This is not the way proper bathroom remodeling would should flow. You are paying money and expecting work to be ideal.

    A whole inch of extra space between toilet and tiled floor is way too much and it must be fixed immediately. Silicon or grout in the gap are not the solutions we recommend.

    Water Leaking – Every unsecured plumbing connection has potential of water sipping through. Drain pipe for toilet is 3 inches wide with lots of water flushed under pressure.

    Water on bathroom floor can damage vanity, door, frame and baseboards. If not stopped water would go even further through subfloor, damaging ceiling of below levels.

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    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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