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!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560