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I guess one day I will laugh about this ... but not today!

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  • I guess one day I will laugh about this ... but not today!

    I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS warn a customer about the possibility of flange damage (especially when Johnny rocks), except this time! Lady wanted a new toilet. I recommended the Toto, as I always do, and she said "ok". Failed to warn her about the possibility of flange damage and went to work. Being a flat rate guy, I was obligated to install the toilet for the quoted price. Cast iron flange was loose on one side, "hmmm, I'll anchor it and seal the joint". Only got one screw to catch since it had been leaking for years and all the sub floor around the top part of flange was rotted away. Still, with just one screw it felt pretty solid. Should have known better. Set the bowl. Guess what! Pulled the flange completely off the riser. Joint did not appear to have ever been made up at all, as if they just slid it over the pipe and left it resting on the tile floor. Ok, looks like I'm going to need a compression flange, but wait a minute, the sub floor decay is worse than I thought at first, so I'm headed for the crawl space to scab in some 2x4's so I'll have something to anchor the new flange to. That wasn't so bad, her crawl space was better than most. Back in the house, ok let's pop this puppy in the hole, shoot some screws, and I'm on my way. Uh, wait a minute, what's this? Oh yeah, the old c.i. flange went over the c.i. pipe, the new compression flange hub fits inside the pipe and the pipe is 1/4" too tall. Back to the truck for my angle grinder. Grind, grind, grind, ... grind, grind, grind, make sure grind spray doesn't hit any tile or the brand spankin' new Toto, ok we're good, grind, grind, grind, ... ok that's about got it, here we go. Wow this is a really tight fit, better use some dish soap. Yeah I think it will go but it's gonna take some persuasion. Back to the truck for a wood block and a BIG hammer. Ok nice and easy now, whap, whap, whap, hmmm, looks ok, bang, bang, bang, uneasy feeling, bang, bang, bang, it's moving slowly but it should'nt be this difficult, pound, pound, pound, ... split my wood block, back to the truck for another, pound, pound, pound, uneasier feeling, what's that, beginnings of a stress fracture in my new flange, oh man I don't have much further, maybe it will hold ...


    Just great! Should have known it would'nt take all that pounding, block or no block. Where's my sawzall? Cut it out. Years and years of rust have lowered the tolerances and roughened the surface of the i.d. of the pipe. I'm going to have to clean the inside of the pipe better than I already had. No way! That was the only compression flange I had! In my truck, Lowe's is the closest place around here, they will have another flange and I can pick up a 2" or 3" wire wheel for my drill and maybe a small grinding wheel too, yeah that ought to clean it up real nice. Where's it at? Let's see, pipe, fittings, flanges, ok, compression, compression, ahh, 2" compression, where's the 4", looking, looking, oh no, no, no, no, wait, ah ha, one 4" comp flange in the whole store and it's mine all mine. Now I'll just pull this 2" flange out of the hub and I'll be on ..., what kind of goofy, is this a joke? I'll never know if it was just a freak thing or somebody's idea of a prank but
    the hub of a 2" comp flange had slipped inside the hub of the only 4" comp flange in the store. There I was in the middle of the plumbing aisle with 2 boot toes holding one flange down while I'm racing toward a hernia trying to pull the other flange off. Ain't happenin'. Ok I gotta get this ring off of the 2". Over to the tool section, what will work, I'll try this little flat head. Can't get under it, oh for Pete's sake, this is ridiculous, I'm just going to cut it with the blade, I need a knife this will take all day, almost got it, OUCH, DANG IT, great now I'm bleeding! Ok, almost, almost, there, finally. Grab 2 wire wheels and a little grinding wheel for the drill. What? No, I don't know how much this is. "Joe, I need a price check for a ... 'what did you call this thingy?' oh yeah it's a toilet flange. What? I don't know, wait a minute 'Sir what kind of toilet flange is this?' "It's a 4" compression toilet flange" Joe it's a 4" compression flange, ok. Lowe's is no more than a 10 minute drive from HO's location. 50 min. later I roll up in the driveway. Alright, lets see here, wire wheel, wire wheel, wire wheel, let me bevel that interior edge of the pipe with my grinding wheel, ok that looks pretty good. Soap up the inside of the pipe real good, soap up the hub of the flange real good with special attention to the ring, ok, wood block, whap, whap, whap, looks good, bang, bang, bang, much better, bang, bang, bang, almost there, good, I'm not hitting it again no matter how much I think that 2 o'clock might be just a smidge higher than the rest. Sure am glad I had these 4" wood screws (2.5" mud base under the tile). 5 out of 6, under the circumstances, I'm happy. Alright, let me clean up some of this mess, that's better. Where's my wax ring? Alright we're almost d...., what's that? NO FREAKIN' WAY, IT CAN'T BE! As I'm unwrapping my wax ring, I look down only to discover about a 12" crack in the base of my brand spankin new Toto bowl!!!! Race outside, it's late in the day, call the supply house, "need a new bowl NOW!!! Yeah, ok, I knew you were going to say that. When can I get it? Ok, no later than 9:30 am, you promise? Ok I'll be waiting, I need to catch up on some office work anyway.

    I'm probably as sound a sleeper as they come but I already feel the "attack of the demon replacement toilet" nightmares coming on.
    Last edited by ECS; 05-04-2006, 08:49 PM.

  • #2
    Did not even make it to "intermission" before realizing you have no clue what you are doing.
    the dog


    • #3
      ECS, I'm sorry about your day, but at least you made me feel better about my day...thanks.


      • #4
        I have never used a compression flange - don't think i ever will. the lady was obiously curious about why the toilet wasn't set after a few hours. You could have re-estimated it on the spot before doing all that work. If she didn't want to do it or couldn't afford it - tell her that facts throw some extra wax in there and tell her it will start leaking again but since she didn't want to have the work performed you can't make any guarantees or promises. It's best to tell them in advance about potential problems (you mentioned that you knew this), but not to spend extra time working for free. If someone can't afford to have the work done cut your losses and get out of there. It's better to spend 30 minutes on something and be able to leave charging nothing or a little fee, than spending a whole day on something your only going to make 300 bucks on.


        • #5
          I don't know but it sounds like you are trying to use a J-Tec compression flange which is not even an approved fitting. I assume you must have pretty good general liability insurance policy. It's not just the fact that you cannot get a good seal with an internal compression flange but the design of the flange is a code violation to start with.

          That's one of the problem with lay persons and the big-box store in that the lay person assume if the store sells it it is legal to use.

          You should have been able to reset the old flange and leaded it in in just a few minutes. Even if you needed to set a new cast iron flange it would have been faster than a couple of trips to Home Depot or Lowes (what's with shopping there anyways?). Maybe I am just old fashion but it always seems faster to do it the right way the first time.

          Last edited by ToUtahNow; 05-04-2006, 11:27 PM.
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!


          • #6
            ecs, if the job went well, you would have made a killing on your flat rate charges



            90% of the time you make more on the job than a time and material guy.
            10% of the time you lose

            have you tried to be a screen writer not a bad screen play
            phoebe it is


            • #7
              an amazing story

              there are 6 of us doing time and material work on 2 projects. the money is great! when mr murphy visits it's not outa my butt,

              As a general doing His own plumbing, my work is soo far ahead of this guy ,it's funny
              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


              • #8
                Everyone has days like this .

                That kind of lesson wont be forgotten easily.Take what you learnt and apply it next time you come up against a similar situation.
                Credit to you for telling of your bad day and the mistakes made.
                A long time ago my boss told me; everyone makes mistakes but only the skilled can fix them.
                I hope I get the hang of it soon.


                • #9
                  Gotta love it!

                  After days like that I still want to get up the next day and get to it. People probably think were crazy wanting to be plumbers. Of course most people think we work around and eat crap every hour of the day. Not so. But we do take a lot of it from home owners... always with a smile- maybe a fake smile but a smile all the same.
                  One of the best lessons I learned from my father is when he did nothing to help me. I then learned to help my self.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ToUtahNow

                    You should have been able to reset the old flange and leaded it in in just a few minutes.

                    i have not done cast iron in a long time but if it was OK to use no hub ,cut out the old pipe and put in the new . and if no hub can not be used then even if you had to pour a lead joint it still is faster then all that grinding and banging.

                    OH maybe these young plumbers do not know what a lead joint is

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