Are you renovating your bathroom and wondering what to do with the space between your toilet and the wall? You might be wondering how to remedy this issue or if it even needs to be fixed. We've thoroughly researched what to do if you have a gap between the toilet and the wall and how to fix it.
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If you have a gap between your toilet and the wall, you need to determine whether or not this is a problem in the first place. Generally, a 1-inch gap between the back of a toilet and the wall is normal.
Building codes require 15 inches from the center of a toilet to the back of a wall, resulting in a one-inch gap. If there is more than a 1-inch space, we recommend using an offset flange.
What is an offset flange? Where do I buy one? Do you need a professional for the job, or is it a DIY project? If I go the DIY route, how do I install one? What do I do if I run into issues? Continue reading to find out all the details!
What Is An Offset Flange?
A regular flange is a piece of pipe that sits directly under the toilet. It connects from the base of the toilet down into the pipe. An offset flange is a connecting piece that allows 2 inches in either direction to ensure that your toilet is at the proper distance between the wall and other fixtures.
You will use an offset flange if your toilet sits too close or too far from the wall.
Where Can I Get An Offset Flange?
The good news is that it is extremely easy to find an offset flange and affordable! The most common place to buy one is at your local hardware store, but you can also purchase them at online retail shops like Amazon.
Should You Install An Offset Flange Yourself?
Installing an offset flange is a relatively easy process. However, this all depends on your skillset. Most people recommend hiring a plumber to do the job for peace of mind and safety reasons.
The last thing you would want is to make a mistake that could cost you more than hiring a professional in the first place. Things like water damage, flooding, and even gas explosions could occur if the offset flange is not installed correctly.
What Are The Steps To Installing An Offset Flange?
The first step is to remove the old toilet. If you are starting with no toilet, move on to the next step. Before removing the old toilet, shut off the water line and empty all the water from the bowl and tank. Once the old toilet is removed, remember to stuff a rag into the pipe to prevent harmful gas from escaping.
Second, remove the old toilet flange and install the new offset flange. Remove the rag from the drain and use PVC glue before attaching the new flange to the pipe. Once your flange is in place, install the new wax ring, lift the toilet on, and wiggle it back and forth to seal the wax ring.
Lastly, turn the water back on and test your work. Ensure there are no leaks and that the toilet can flush like normal. Voila!
What Do I Do If My Toilet Starts Leaking?
Even the best DIY'ers can run into problems. What to do if there is a leak? At this point, we recommend you call a professional to ensure there are no costly or dangerous mistakes made. Still, if you are confident in your ability to troubleshoot the problem, you can take a couple of steps.
The best-case scenario is that the bolts are not screwed on tight enough. Check this first by using a screwdriver to tighten the bolts and screws. Dry the area and wait for another 10-15 minutes before checking for more leaks. If leaking still occurs, it could be an issue with the wax ring or seal.
Assuming you used a new wax ring, make sure that the toilet is positioned well within the ring and pushed down to create the best seal. If you did not use a new wax ring, you would want to replace it with a brand new one. Old wax rings break down over time and can cause leaks.
Worst case scenario, the newly purchased offset flange is faulty, and you will need to replace it with a new one. Before you install any flange, look it over to ensure there are no cracks or broken pieces. Once again, calling a plumber is never a bad idea!
What Else Can I Use To Fill The Gap Between My Toilet And Wall?
You might be wondering if there are any other options besides using an offset flange to fix the gap between your toilet and wall. Yes, there is, but you won't want to go this route!
Technically, you could cut out and move the toilet drain hole to the desired location. This is a complicated and expensive process when instead, you could use an offset flange.
We don't recommend this route when using an offset flange is easy and affordable.
What If There Isn't A Gap Between My Toilet And Wall?
Instead of having a gap, sometimes you will find a toilet that rests directly against the wall. In this case, you would still want to use an offset flange to give some breathing room between the back of the toilet and the wall.
Remember, you want about 1-inch between them. Issues could arise if there is no room for air movement, causing mildew, mold, damaged drywall, and even problems with the toilet if it causes your toilet to lean one way or the other.
What Are Other Benefits Of Using An Offset Flange?
Ensuring things are up to code is crucial for you and vital if you are selling your home. You wouldn't want your home inspection to reflect negatively because your toilet is out of place.
Aesthetically speaking, it looks better if your toilet is in the correct place. A large gap between the toilet and the wall takes up significant real estate, especially in a small bathroom.
Are There Any Other Problems I May Have?
Aside from the everyday issues you might experience with a regular flange, like leaking or clogging, there shouldn't be any major issues with an offset flange as long as it's installed correctly.
However, there are some minor details you want to keep in mind. If you can, use a stainless steel flange. These last longer and are easier to connect than a plastic flange.
To Wrap Up
When renovating your dream bathroom or updating your current one, having the toilet in the correct place might not feel essential, but now we know it's one of the most vital pieces for style, space, being up to code, and avoiding future damage and issues.
Using an offset flange is an effective way to remedy this while checking off affordability and ease.
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