Tilting At Toilets

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Sometimes I run into things I have never seen before, or thought about, yet they leave me wondering. 

And I am wondering now, am I tilting at toilets?

As I go about my mission, like Don Quijote, riding throughout the land, lending warnings, seeing and battling monsters and such behind every corner, often I have to pause and think.

This post is about a toilet flange in a basement bathroom.  It is secure, having been glopped in by concrete molded faithfully all around.  Artful, don't you think?

But looking at it, my problem is one of common sense. 

This is is a photo of a basic toilet flange.  It is screwed to the floor (or held in place by mortar) so it does not wobble.  Connected to a large drain below, the center is punched out to allow the effluent from the toilet to pass.

The toilet is connected to this flange with bolts, which slide into the large end of those long slots, and are positioned at the end.  Holes in the base of the toilet bowl fit over those bolts, and the toilet is secured down with metal washers and nuts.  It is all covered with a cute little plastic cap.

SINCE THESE FLANGES REST RIGHT ONTO THE FLOOR, AND ARE SCREWED DOWN, THEY ARE NECESSARILY LEVEL.

Seeing this toilet flange made me wonder.

Somewhat hard to see perhaps, it is secure in the floor but not level.

In fact, it is tilted about 10 degrees.

Why does that bother me?  It seems to me that if the toilet is to be bolted to this flange, laying with an angle of 10 degrees, the bolts will also protrude upward at a 10 degree angle.  This places the metal washers at 10 degrees, which are tightened down to secure to the toilet to the floor.

Toilet bases are made of porcelain.  When installing a toilet it is important not to tighten the bolts too much because the pressure can literally cause the base to shatter.

Doesn't the edge of a metal washer tilted at 10 degrees, being tightened downward by a bolt, put more pressure on one side than the other?  If, and that might be a big IF, the toilet can be tightened down sufficiently, does not the pressure created by that angle increase the probability of the toilet base shattering?

Am I nuts to wonder this?  Maybe, like the good defender Don Quijote, am I tilting at toilets and a bit out of my mind?  It could be the supervisor is telling my client even as you read this that I am in fact nuts, that "we do this all the time and no toilet has ever cracked!" 

BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE, SO I WONDER.  AND, I AM THINKING AHEAD.

My recommendation:  there are some things that can only be seen pre-drywall.  A pre-drywall inspection is essential to a buyer's construction process.  There are some things that will never be seen again.  Pre-drywall may be the only time for that opportunity!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Ambassador
1,442,385
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Jay, I'm wondering if there's enough tolerance in the installation window that 10 degrees may be such that you can JUST barely have the wax ring do it's job, have the tilted bolts angle enough to still be vertical and ultimately still have the toilet sit flush to the floor.  It would obviously take more care to not overcrank the nuts on the bolts, especially since the load is primarily on one side of the bolt head instead of both.

September 07, 2012 03:23 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Seems to me Debbie.  But I am logical and think ahead.

David - I tend to see minute details, which can be good or bad I think!

Bliz - you have just built a lot of MAYBE into the future of this toilet!

September 07, 2012 03:26 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,003,786
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Jay.  Why are toilets made of porcelain?  Why not plastic or some other stronger and lighter material?

September 07, 2012 03:32 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I guess because it is reliably strong Conrad, except for direct pressure or hard blows.

September 07, 2012 03:37 AM #11
Rainmaker
948,630
James Dray
Wise Custom Realty - Bentonville, AR
AR., MO., or OK. I can find the home for you.

Morning Jay remember you said it I didn't to quote you "I am seldom inside the box" end quote.  YEA!!! I glad you agreed to join the club. 

September 07, 2012 03:58 AM #12
Rainer
276,790
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

I suppose that buyers are "dreaming the impossible dream" to hope that a pre-drywall inspection is unnecessary. (Had to keep with the Don Quixote theme!)

September 07, 2012 04:01 AM #13
Ambassador
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

"there are some things that can only be seen pre-drywall."

THAT is a truism.

One of these days soon, I'm going to write about the many, many defects detected by independent home inspectors on new construction.

Some folks will be surprised, that is if anyone reads it.

September 07, 2012 04:26 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

James - I hope my not being in the box is true!

Kathryn - they don't think so and I keep proving how important they are!

Lenn - I'll read!  That could probably be a long chapter in any book!

September 07, 2012 04:45 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,345,140
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS

I am disappointed Jay...expected to see the Tidy Bowl Man in full armour with sword drawn....how about some sort of cushioned seal that adapts a little toward angles...we see the "not tightened" all the time on inspection reports...not shattered...yet !

 

September 07, 2012 05:09 AM #16
Ambassador
1,069,691
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, actually the head of the bolt will sit at an angle with the flange, not the toilet---so all will likely be OK---not ideal---but OK :)

September 07, 2012 07:22 AM #17
Rainmaker
563,824
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Jay, I definitely agree with the importance of inspections during the construction of a new home.

What you can't see, can hurt you ;-)

September 07, 2012 11:47 AM #18
Rainer
277,179
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

Jay --at least they didn't fill the concrete up to the top of the flange, thereby preventing the bolts from being installed at all.

September 07, 2012 01:06 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

And The Thinker could think in a forward and somewhat sideways position S&D!

Shadow - still, one is level and the pressure is at an angle?  What does a shadow know about toilets any way?  Do shadows need toilets?

Thanks Chris.  They really are helpful.

Steven - that positioning and slathering of smoosh was really decorative!

September 07, 2012 05:26 PM #20
Rainmaker
221,655
Doug Dawes
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor

Gee, I've heard of a wine list but not a toilet list. Would need a seat belt

September 07, 2012 07:43 PM #21
Ambassador
1,266,776
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE
Hi Jay, Good Catch. Sadly so many city inspectors that pass on the new construction work, never look that close. The builder knows these need to be level but probably never checked the workman that hurriedly messed up.
September 07, 2012 10:22 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Might fall off of that one Doug.  Seat belts are a good idea!

William - got a note from my client who said that the supervisor had not noticed and said this had happened on a previous house and the toilet kept cracking and nobody could figure out why!

September 08, 2012 02:22 AM #23
Rainmaker
627,324
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

While it may not be pretty, I would think all will be okay. I believe there is a little wiggle room built into those flanges. 

September 08, 2012 05:55 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Pretty it isn't Jim!  Maybe if they used a metal base for the toilet?

September 08, 2012 11:46 AM #25
Ambassador
2,368,883
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Hey, Jay!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week!

September 09, 2012 10:01 AM #26
Rainmaker
1,218,509
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Pat!  That's always a pleasure.

September 09, 2012 11:51 AM #27
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Rainmaker
1,218,509

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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