Installing a toilet with an offset from the back wall can be a challenge. Typically, residential toilets have a 12-inch offset, but in certain situations, you may find yourself with a 15-inch offset, creating an awkward and impractical placement. Luckily, there is a simple solution that doesn’t involve completely removing and cutting out a new toilet drain. In this article, we will guide you through the process of installing an offset toilet flange, allowing you to position your toilet closer or farther from the wall.
What is an Offset Toilet Flange?
An offset toilet flange is a plumbing product made primarily of PVC, featuring a metal or PVC flange ring on top that can be rotated under the toilet to center the bolt as needed. It provides the flexibility to move the toilet in any direction – forward, backward, or even diagonally if desired.
Getting Started: What You’ll Need
Before you begin, gather the following supplies. Please note that these are based on a 4″ PVC sewer pipe, so be sure to adjust accordingly if you are working with a 3″ pipe:
- Offset Toilet Flange
- 4″ Schedule 40 PVC Pipe
- 4″ Schedule 40 PVC Coupler
- One-step PVC cement
- Wax Rings and Bolts (Double Thick Kit)
- Great Stuff Expanding Foam for Windows and Doors
You’ll also need the following tools:
- Reciprocating saw
- Cordless drill
- Dremel or rotary tool with cutting blade
- Adjustable wrench
- Bolt cutters or metal saw
- Oscillating multi-tool (optional)
Now, let’s dive into the installation process.
1. Demolition of Existing Toilet
Use a spanner wrench to remove the nuts on the retaining bolts and lift the toilet off the existing flange.
2. Remove Old Wax Ring
Dispose of the old wax ring and clean the toilet base in preparation for a new wax ring and flange.
3. Plug Waste Hole
Tuck a thick rag or disposable towel into the existing toilet hole to prevent sewer gas from escaping into the room.
4. Plan Your Installation
Determine how the new offset flange will fit. The base of the offset toilet flange typically fits over 3 inches of PVC pipe or within 4 inches of pipe. Ensure smooth waste flow into the sewer line, avoiding any seams that could cause backups or restrictions.
5. Remove the Old Flange
Detach the screws holding the old toilet flange to the floor and remove it. Cut the pipe from the inside using a Dremel or similar tool to connect the new pipe. In tight spaces, a reciprocating saw can be used to cut the pipe from below. Measure the depth to ensure successful coupling with the new flange. In some cases, rubber boots may be needed to attach the two new parts together. Finally, remove and discard the old toilet flange.
6. Dig Out the Floor
Use a reciprocating saw to cut away the section of the floor where the offset flange will be placed, allowing the toilet to be set further back against the wall. Take care not to remove too much material, ensuring a snug fit for the new flange.
7. Test the Fit
Dry install the new offset flange to check if it fits properly in the cutout section.
8. Installing the New Offset Flange
Apply a generous amount of one-step PVC cement to the ends of the pipe and offset flanges, then join them together. Alternatively, if a rubber boot is necessary, slip it over both pieces and secure it with a flathead screwdriver. Note that using a rubber boot is typically only feasible in crawl space environments.
9. Fill in the Gaps
If there is any space in the front of the new offset flange, use Great Stuff Window & Door expanding foam to fill it. Be cautious not to overdo it, as excess foam can be trimmed once dry. The toilet should cover the exposed area you filled.
10. Install the Hardware
Insert new hardware bolts into the offset flange, anchoring the toilet securely to the flange and floor.
11. Install a New Wax Ring
Place the double thick wax ring over the flange, wax side up, with the short side inserted into the flange opening. Double thick wax rings are recommended to ensure a proper seal.
12. Relocate the Toilet
Align the holes in the base of the toilet with the bolts protruding from the flange. Carefully lower the toilet until it lies flat on the floor. Secure the bolts with washers and nuts provided. Trim the bolts to the appropriate length using bolt cutters or metal blades on oscillating multi-tools or reciprocating saws. You can also cover the bolts with plastic caps if desired.
By following these simple steps, you can successfully install an offset toilet flange and enjoy the benefits of a properly positioned toilet. This project is relatively easy to undertake with a little planning and the right tools. Don’t let an inconveniently placed toilet ruin your day – take control of your bathroom layout with an offset toilet flange.