A Great Toilet Flange Repair for a Rusted Painted Steel Ring

411 plumb A frequent repair for leaking toilets is a rusted out painted steel ring on a PVC or ABS closet flange. I make no secret of my like for stainless steel rings on PVC/ABS closet flanges they are far superior to painted steel or, worse yet all plastic closet flanges. I would urge every plumbing consumer to insist that the plumber use stainless steel ringed closet flanges if ABS or PVC pipes are being installed to a toilet. The extra couple of dollars it will cost is cheap compared to the cost of future repairs.

When you pull a toilet that has a leaking wax ring very often you find the closet flange had a painted steel ring and the ring is rusted badly enough that the closet bolts can no longer be secured in the ring. Until recently the repair options were either time consuming and expensive or, shoddy and inexpensive. On the expensive side it consisted of removing the old flange and installing a new one, this sometimes required a hole to be cut in the ceiling below to allow the plumber access to the toilet drain pipe. The inexpensive repair consisted of using aftermarket repair rings and spanner that although they would secure to the floor they did nothing to secure the plastic part of the flange and the strength of their ability to secure the closet bolts is doubtful at best.

The Oatey Moss Bay Replacement Flange is a great product for replacing rusted out steel rings on PVC/ABS closet flanges
Fortunately recently Oatey introduced the Moss Bay Replacement Flange P/N 42777 that is a strong stainless steel 2 piece ring that in addition to locking the closet bolts securely in place also grips onto the plastic part of the closet flange just like the original one piece ring that originally came on the flange. It is by far the best repair I have seen yet. The Moss Bay Replacement Flange is available at Lowes.

A Similar Product is made by Raven Products the 2 Piece Repair Flange for PVC/ABS Closet Flanges #BFR7900 and is sold at many plumbing supply houses.

To use the Moss Bay Replacement Flange or, the Raven Products 2 Piece Repair Flange the flooring must still be in good enough condition that the wood flooring can still solidly hold a screw that is screwed into it. Cut the old rusted steel ring off the plastic part of the closet flange without damaging the plastic flange. Remove all of the old ring from the locking groove in the plastic and the flooring. Remove two pieces of the new ring from the packaging. Do not use the closet bolts that come with this product. The only bad thing I can say about this product is that it comes supplied with ¼” zinc plated steel closet bolts. Instead use 5/16” solid brass closet bolts purchased separately. Place the two halves of the Moss Bay or, Raven Products Replacement Flange into the locking ring of the plastic section of the flange and put the closet bolts in place securing them with a nut and washer. The flange is now firmly locked onto the plastic section of the flange yet can still rotate. Rotate the flange until the closet bolts are square to the wall and then secure the ring to the floor using six #12 brass or stainless steel wood screws that are long enough to grip through all the layers of flooring.

Once this is complete your flange repair is better than the original and you are ready to reinstall the toilet with a new wax ring. Make sure that you use a new braided stainless steel closet supply, shim the toilet to prevent rocking if needed, and caulk around the base of the toilet with Phenoseal or Polyseamseal caulk, do not use a Silicone RTV based caulk as it can make the toilet very difficult to remove in the future if needed without damaging the toilet or, flooring. The job is now complete and ready for testing and use.

Comments

  1. Mike- Pittsburgh PA says

    Redwood,

    A product I have had luck with is the ‘Oatey P/N 43539′.
    It is a PVC flange with 4″ O.D. insert that has a gasket compressed by 3 screws. The flange is secured with blue masonary screws

    Perfect for repair in a basement of an older home that has 4″ cast or clay undergroud rough. This is also a good time for the customer to invest in camera service to make sure there are no other problems with the building drain.

    • Redwood says

      Yea Mike, Those work pretty good but I really prefer having metal flanges for the toilet to bolt down to. My preference would be something like the #165 Cast Iron Flanges. I just have seen to many leaking all plastic flanges to have any confidence in them. If they put a stainless steel ring on that product I would love it.

  2. Thuy says

    Hi, I took out my old toilet and realized that the flange was all rusted out and crumbling in front of my eyes. The flange had blue paint on top of it and had basically seen its last days. I went down to Lowe’s and was happy to find the Oatey Moss Bay Replacment flange thinking that it would easily solve my problem. Well, I’m confused since it seems like the new flange has no where to secure to my black abs pipe. In your instructions to install the Moss flange you say to secure the flange to your pipe. I have no where to secure it to. I have a lip on the pipe but no groves. Is this something that the Moss flange cannot work with? I remember seeing another person email you about the same situation that I’m having but I don’t see any reply from you that answer his question. Your help and answer would be greatly appreciated. I can send photos too.

    • Redwood says

      HI Thuy,
      If you have removed the old ring completely try fitting the new Moss Bay Replacement Flange with the lip of the flange just under that lip on the plastic section and put the 2 halves together. You will find that there is indeed either a very small groove or some tabs under the plastic lip that make up the locking groove.

      You may not have all of the old ring removed.
      Look carefully to see where the old ring was attached to the flange.
      I have seen a very small number of closet flanges that it did not fit but it does fit most of them.

  3. Dave says

    Would this work with the same setup on a concrete floor? How would I attach this to the concrete? Hammer drill and concrete screws? Thank you!

  4. Travis says

    What are the dimensions for this flange? The outer diameter of my ABS piping is 5 3/8″ and the closest thing found for a replacement is a painted steel ring which only has a 5 1/4″ diameter. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Redwood says

      Hi Travis,
      If your existing ABS closet flange has a steel ring this should fit into the groove where the existing steel ring sat once the steel ring is removed. It clamps onto the flange in much the same manner that the existing ring did before you removed it. If you feel that your ring is an oddball size I would recommend picking one up to compare before removing what is left of your old ring.

      Redwood

  5. Jim says

    I have exactly the problem you describe (rusted blue ring), but it is not quite rusted enough to break into pieces. How exactly do I “Cut the old rusted steel ring off the plastic part of the closet flange without damaging it”???? It is badly rusted. but is not ready to break into pieces. The hardest part to cut is is the metal that is under the lip of the plastic pipe. How does one get that part to break or come apart? I can cut it with a sawsall from the top, but that would also cut a slot in the plastic pipe. Any hints on how to cut the old rusted ring off of the plastic part of the closet flange without damaging it? Thanks….

    • Redwood says

      Hi Jim,

      I usually used tin snips, i suppose a Dremel tool with an abrasive cut off wheel, or, just a hack saw blade would do well also.
      Most of the time i just grabbed whatever was left with channel lock pliers and just twisted it back and forth until it broke.

      Redwood

      • Jim says

        there isn’t clearance to get tinsnips or a dremel back there without bunging up the plastic rim, and the metal under there is not brittle enough yet to just snap. When I try the channellock twisting thing it does break, but not back under the plastic…

        very frustrating…

        Thanks for the prompt reply and ideas though…

        • Redwood says

          Hi Jim,
          Have you picked up the replacement ring yet?
          If you have take a look at it and see just how little of the ring is in that groove.
          If you need to you could cut into the plastic just that little amount and not have any problems.
          I have never needed to do that though.

          Is this flange mounted on top of the finished floor surface or is it recessed into the flooring mounted on sub-flooring?

          Redwood

  6. Jim says

    Thanks for the tip. I will go look at a ring today. For some reason, the metal in the groove is very tenacious. It is mounted on top of ceramic tile which is, in turn, on top of subfloor. There were 4 screws through the ring, through the tile and into the subfloor.

    Jim

      • jim says

        Well, the ring is still there. It is really hard to see into the space between the bottom of the plastic flange and the floor. but apparently the steel collar goes about 1/2″ down the hole. Apparently it is not like the ones in the hardware stores today. From the top. it looks like the ones in the hardware stores today, but from the side, it does not. From the top, it looks similar to a Genova 75150 Closet Flange, with Ring 4 x 3 Inch. The ring was probably steel, certainly not stainless steel, cast iron or lead. From the side, it appears that I have cut away enough metal to expose the plastic groove it originally sat in, if in fact it was a groove. However, the ring is still frozen to the plastic and will not spin or peel off.

        The house was built in 1988, so it isn’t ancient hardware. The central part of the closet flange is plastic. The ring around it is metal which was screwed down through the tile and into the subfloor. I have the screws out but they will not be going back because the screw holes are now destroyed. I am still unable to make the ring rotate, either because of the collar that goes down the outside, or because it is really gunked up. This one has me really stumped. I hate plumbing….

        Any idea what this part looked like new and what I could possibly do from this point?

        Thanks

  7. jim says

    Hi!

    Wish me luck. Today, the ring will come off!!! I now have a bunch of new dremel bits and a “multitool”. Hopefully, one of them will work with minimal damage to the plastic ring and/or the tile. So far, I only have one of the 4 screws out. It broke off.. Man,I hate slotted screws…. I am considering sawing out the screws and then attacking the stubs with a vice grip. I have nice shiny new stainless steel #12 wood screws to go with my stainless steel replacement ring.

    Thx for your advice and support.

    Jim

  8. Dan says

    “To use the Moss Bay Replacement Flange the flooring must still be in good enough condition that the wood flooring can still solidly hold a screw that is screwed into it.”

    The composite flooring is a little rough, but solid. I can go into my basement and see the pipe coming through the floor. If I replaced the screws with bolts I could drill holes completely through the flooring and attach nuts to the protruding flange bolts.

    Would this be a satisfactory way to do it?

    • Redwood says

      Hi Dan,

      That would be acceptable but probably more difficult than adding a couple of pieces of wood underneath to screw into.
      When the floor is slightly iffy and not totally rotted, I often just put a piece of 3/4 plywood with a hole cut around the drain pipe screwed in place to get additional bite for the screws.

      Redwood

      • Dan says

        Thanks for the quick response!

        If I were to use bolts, what kind of bolts would I use? Stainless steel?

        I like the idea of the thing being bolted down. I don’t want to do this again.

        • Redwood says

          Hi Dan,
          I would use all stainless steel or brass hardware. The downside of nuts and bolts is having an additional person below to hold the nut. Also should the underside ever become finished IE a finished basement you will have to open the underside for access should any additional work be required. The reality is #12 screws (Stainless or Brass) have plenty of holding power especially if you get all six holding.

          Redwood

          • Dan says

            “The reality is #12 screws (Stainless or Brass) have plenty of holding power especially if you get all six holding.”

            I’ll take your advice. Thanks for your patience.

  9. rich says

    I just replaced my old flange with the moss bay replacement flange. The old flange did not appear to me screwed to the floor. My finished floor is tile. I did not screw the flange to the floor through the tile prior to installation, but it appears to hold tight. Will I have a problem in the future with this cracking the flange or loosening up?

    Thanks.
    Rich

    • Redwood says

      Hi Rich,
      Obviously if the old flange had been properly secure the toilet wouldn’t have leaked and rusted out the metal ring. Your new replacement flange needs to be securely fastened as I have described in this aricle in order to have a connection which will not leak. The ring won’t rust but your floor will rot.
      Redwood.

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