A Closet Flange, also known as a closet bend or trap arm is the portion of your plumbing that holds your drain pipe in place. This may come as a surprise but the recommended height for this piece is not set in stone, by doing some research you can find guidelines on how to best determine what your ideal height could be.
Basically, it’s important to note that the higher up you mount your flange above the finished floor, the more likely it may be for water to leak out. It’s therefore recommended to increase the overall height of this part if you’re using PVC piping since it has lower durability than metal or ABS pipes.
What is a Toilet Flange?
A toilet flange is a piece that attaches the drain pipe from your toilet bowl to other pipes in your bathroom. A loose toilet flange may be difficult to spot at first.
A closet bend, or closet flange, is the curved part of piping found beneath sinks and toilets. The bend connects two straight pieces of piping together and helps ensure wastewater flows away from the fixture and into your drainage system. It’s called a “bend” because it curves 90 degrees to join with other parts of plumbing, like plastic or copper pipes.
Since a closet flange sits below water level while you’re using a sink or taking a shower, it can rust or corrode if not made from one of the materials listed above. In most homes, PVC toilet flanges are most commonly used since they’re durable and economical.
How does a Closet Flange Work?
Most toilets and sinks are fitted with ABS or plastic flanges, a closet flange that sits beneath the fixture, near the bathroom floor or a drain pipe. As water flows into your toilet bowl, it fills up this section of piping until the volume of water exceeds the pipe’s capacity. The excess spills over the top of your flange, flowing down to your drainage pipes in your walls. This is why you’ll often see decorative “spouts” coming out from the wall beside each plumbing fixture, they direct excess water so it can flow harmlessly away from your home’s foundation instead of around it.
What about a Sink Flange?
Another name for this part is a “trap arm,” but since many people have trouble differentiating between a trap and a flange, manufacturers have started calling it a “closet bend,” since it fits beneath the fixture.
When you turn on your sink faucet, water flows from your plumbing system into the drain trap, filling it until it spills over the top of the pipe and down to your sewer or septic pipes. This is why each plumbing fixture in a home has a separate trap arm that extends between a few inches and a few feet from the floor. If someone installs an improper-sized flange or makes certain other plumbing mistakes, it can cause sewer smells to drift up through your drains when you bathe or clean up after yourself every day.
Common Materials for Toilet Flanges
There are three basic types of closet flanges available from your local plumbing supply store or online retailer in Australia:
Metal Toilet Flange
These do tend to be more expensive but if you’re looking for a long term solution then this is worth considering since metal flanges like these may last the longest and tend not to corrode. The most common toilet flanges are stainless steel, cast iron toilet flanges or stainless steel flanges. Cast iron flanges have many of the same benefits as stainless steel toilet flanges, but unfortunately, it is almost impossible to clean these pipes which can lead to a buildup of bacteria and a risk of a serious infection in your bathroom. Aluminium toilet flanges are very rarely used since they can corrode fairly quickly and aren’t as reliable as other metal options.
PVC Toilet Flanges
Commonly used by installers and plumbers, PVC flanges have been around since the 1960’s so they do come with a lot of name recognition. Most plumbing supply companies stock these in abundance so getting hold of them shouldn’t prove too difficult. In my experience, they don’t hold up as well as other materials over time since they develop cracks where water has seeped into the material and cause the flange to fail.
Rubber Toilet Flanges
Like PVC, rubber flanges are lightweight and easy to install. The nice thing about rubber flanges is that they can be removed with just a garden hose in most cases, making them the easiest to work with when you’re in need of replacing your toilet flange. However, they do tend to develop cracks and leaks after a few years of use so it’s not the best idea long term.
How to Replace a Toilet Flange?
A leaky toilet flange can cause serious damage to your bathroom floor if left unattended, although you’ll want to call in a plumber for any repairs that require access underneath your floorboards. For replacing the closet flange itself, there are a few options.
Replace the Old Toilet Flange with a New One (Recommended)
If your current flange is attached using concrete screws, you can still try to reattach it by using an adhesive or epoxy cement like this. You may need to clean out any old cement from the flange and make sure that it’s dry before you begin this process.
If your old flange is attached to a metal clamp, you may need to use a hacksaw or angle grinder to cut through the metal fasteners around the ring. Once you have done this, remove any remaining small pieces of hardware from the flange and clean up any debris on your floor with a damp cloth.
Attach a New Nut to the Underside of Your Toilet Bowl (Not Recommended)
This approach won’t be nearly as strong when compared to attaching a new flanged bowl directly into concrete, but if you’re handy with basic tools and know what you’re doing, it’s an option.
To do this yourself, you may need to use a wrench and pliers to thread the nut onto the pipe, then tighten it down with either another wrench or pliers.
Toilet Flange Repairs
While toilet flanges are fairly simple devices, they can be damaged by exposure to water quite easily if there isn’t enough ventilation around them. This means that it’s quite possible for your toilet flange to start leaking even after you’ve already had it repaired multiple times in the past.
The most common cause of this is an accumulation of calcium or other minerals on top of the threads where it meets your drainpipe which builds up like rust inside all the small crevices found inside these joints. When this happens, you can clean out the mineral deposits off your toilet flange threads using vinegar which may loosen the deposits, allowing you to wipe them off easily. You may need to use a small brush or toothbrush if they’re really stuck on there.
Is Closet Flange Necessary?
Usually, toilet flanges are required if you have a sink or toilet in your bathroom. If you can’t find a closet flange behind your sink, check under nearby a nearby wall vent to see if the previous owner simply didn’t install one on purpose. A toilet flange is necessary if your only drain is a toilet, there’s no way for liquid to exit the bowl without one.
What Happens when Toilet Flanges Break?
A broken toilet flange won’t immediately cause a flood of water under your bathroom, since most sections of plumbing don’t spill right away. Instead, you’ll probably notice a gradual buildup of water in your toilet bowl, which may lead to a musty smell whenever you walk by. If it’s not fixed as soon as possible, the water can cause mildew and mould to grow inside the wall that houses your plumbing. This may create a bad odour from within those walls which is extremely difficult to remove.
Stainless Steel Toilet Flanges Australia
If you’re interested in installing a new toilet flange made from stainless steel, it’s recommended that you use an adhesive or epoxy cement to create a strong bond between the flange and the drainpipe. While these products may leave behind some residue after they dry, this can easily be cleaned up using vinegar if it starts to cause problems down the line.
A closet flange is a key part of a healthy plumbing system, especially if your home is located in a humid or wet area. Without proper ventilation around the toilet flange, this area can become damaged over time with even just a little bit of moisture getting in between the base and fixture.
What is a Wax Ring?
In addition to this, some homeowners choose to install a wax ring underneath their new toilet flange. While a wax ring may last a long time and work well in most cases, it can still cause problems if you have a very old wax ring or low-quality flange that has been damaged by the elements. If you have an older flange, it’s best to replace the entire fixture in order to avoid costly repairs in the future.
The wax ring is a seal that sits between the toilet flange and the cast iron pipes, preventing sewer gases from seeping into your home. In addition to this, a wax ring also prevents water from siphoning back up into the bowl. The wax ring comes in different sizes depending on your plumbing fixtures, so it’s important to make sure you purchase the correct size for your toilet.
They could be replaced every 15 years or as needed if they become damaged or broken. To ensure a good installation, the wax ring could only be used once and never reused.
Toilet Flange Height
In order to have functional closet flanges, you may want to make sure that the bowl is centred with your drain pipe fitting. This means the top of the toilet needs to be level with the roofline of your house. If it’s not, water may naturally flow back up into your toilet bowl due to gravity and could damage other parts of your plumbing system in the process. In most cases, this problem can be solved by simply adding a filler shim inside the closet bend, which creates a seal around your tailpiece pipe.
You also need to make sure that whatever materials you use aren’t corroding from any kind of acid or mineral deposits that may get inside them over time. Always look for stainless steel fixtures when purchasing new items since they last longer and can withstand almost anything you throw at them.
Problems with Toilet Flanges
If you have a leaking toilet, you may have a cracked flange. If this is the case, you could contact a plumber right away to replace your flange and cast-iron drainpipe. If there is a crack in the toilet itself, you may have a major problem with corrosion that could be hidden between other areas of your plumbing system. If you find water on your bathroom floor, maybe you have a loose toilet, drain pipe has corrosion damage or it may be something else entirely.
It’s important to prevent leaks from happening as often as possible to avoid any unnecessary damage to your home or finances. In addition to repairing or replacing your broken parts right away, you can also try using self-sealing rubber washers around the existing flange if it’s been damaged. These washers can work for months at a time before needing another repair depending on how bad the leak has become over time. To see whether or not you need them, look closely at the base of your toilet to see if you can spot any traces of rust or missing material.
How to Pick a New Flange for a Bathroom Remodel
There are a lot of different brands, toilet flange sizes and styles when it comes to choosing a replacement toilet for your bathroom. In addition to this, there are multiple things that you need to consider when looking for a new fixture, including how much water pressure it can handle or whether or not it has been eco-certified. If you’re feeling confused about what options are available right now, just remember that it all boils down to personal preferences. Even if you choose a more expensive brand over a cheaper model, always make sure that the fixtures match the needs of your home before purchasing anything in order to avoid wasting money.