Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Contractor toilet woes

Options
Hoping I can learn some wisdom here. And bounce a solution I came up with off some more knowledge folks to learn if it’s viable.  We live in a 1950s Cape Cod with full house Base Ray radiators in every room and the basement. Our main bathroom is mostly original Crane fixtures and tiled walls. Sometime in the 80s they installed a new blue toilet and had the tiles finished white. We do not want to remodel this bathroom because it’s still really nice and would be a beast to demo. And we like it. 

A few weeks ago the tank on our blue toilet cracked. With tears in our eyes we decided it was time for a new camode. We ordered it and found a contractor that agreed to install it when it arrived. Upon install it appeared that we were about 1/4” too big to fit with the new toilet so this guy was like, “no problem I’ll just grab my metal hand wheel and shave a little off your radiator”. Is everyone cringing yet? He fires the saw up and seconds later I hear, “oh ****!” And gushing water coming from the bathroom. Are you crying for us yet? 

Yes, this clingon with all his infinite wisdom failed to measure our toilet’s rough in and as a fix, sawed a pin size hole into our cast iron radiator. The entire system emptied through that hole. Like the little Dutch boy with his finger holding the dam. We shut everything thing off and he patched the hole with J&P Epoxy. I’ve attached pictures of: the patched hole and the bigger radiator line at large. The bleed valve is at the far left of the line. 

So far it’s holding and we’ve had our system on for the last week. 

As I was bleeding all the valves today to make sure there wasn’t air in the system I had an idea and forgive me if it’s a dumb one which is why I’m here. Could a skilled contractor who knows radiators install an extra bleeder valve where the hole was made as a more permanent fix? 

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,422
    Options
    Yes. Or even drill it out and install a plug. Do NOT let the party with the grinder anywhere near the job.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    1950sGemmattmia2GGrossMikeAmann
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    Options
    Yes. Or even drill it out and install a plug. Do NOT let the party with the grinder anywhere near the job.
    Thank you for this validation Jamie. When you say ‘plug’ is there a certain radiator type of plug you’re referring to?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
    Options
    You can replace that with Baseray if it turns out that is too thin to tap because of the grinding. It could also be brazed if you take the whole thing in to someone's welding shop. And obviously find a toilet with a higher tank.
    1950sGem
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
    Options
    It's not directly related to your original question, but I'm way to curious not to ask.

    How was the plumber planning on installing the new toilet considering the tiles went around the old one? The likelihood the new one will match that is slim to none from my experience. Also that is quite improper to have a toilet like that. If the flange ever leaked, you might not know it until the toiler fell through the floor. I see evidence of caulk which makes that even worse, never supposed to caulk around a toilet base in a residential application.

    I'm guessing your crack plumber mentioned none of this?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    Options
    Thanks Matt, this unfortunately isn’t an option tho because to remove the radiator would start a domino effect of demoing the whole room which we DO NOT want to do 
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    Options
    My next question is how do I find a skilled contractor that knows these types of systems? Are there certain certificates or accreditations I look for? I don’t think I would even trust the place we use to do our seasonal tune ups at this point  
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
    Options
    There are lots of issues with that tile that someone created where there were none before...
    1950sGem
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,330
    Options
    I patched a small hole in a hot water heating system with a 1/8 npt pipe plug. This requires drilling the hole to the correct size, tapping the hole with a thread tap, then coat the plug with Loctite and screw it in. Don't make it gorilla tight, the Loctite will seal it. Most hardware stores will have the plug, tap, drill bit, and Loctite.
    I DIY.
    1950sGemMikeAmann
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,251
    Options
    Is it a hold or a longer grind mark? If it is a long gouge, the JB weld may be the option to try. Run the system at as low as pressure as possible. If it is a single story 6-8 psi.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    PC7060
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    Options
    KC_Jones said:
    It's not directly related to your original question, but I'm way to curious not to ask. How was the plumber planning on installing the new toilet considering the tiles went around the old one? The likelihood the new one will match that is slim to none from my experience. Also that is quite improper to have a toilet like that. If the flange ever leaked, you might not know it until the toiler fell through the floor. I see evidence of caulk which makes that even worse, never supposed to caulk around a toilet base in a residential application. I'm guessing your crack plumber mentioned none of this?
    Honestly he was going to stack 2 wax rings I think 😬. Wouldn’t that work? And that’s not actually caulk, it’s cement. I know it’s bad, but there’s a bathroom right underneath it and we haven’t noticed any leakage. SMH welp I’m glad I’m getting some honest feedback! 
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    edited November 2022
    Options
    hot_rod said:
    Is it a hold or a longer grind mark? If it is a long gouge, the JB weld may be the option to try. Run the system at as low as pressure as possible. If it is a single story 6-8 psi.
    It’s a hole. And it’s a 3 story. The slash cut looks bigger than the actual hole. I’ve attached a pic from before the epoxy. 
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,881
    Options
    Tiles been painted
    At least 2 layers of floor. 
    Hole in radiator 


    Sorry but nows the time to do it right. 

    1950sGemChrisJSuperTechPC7060
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,044
    edited November 2022
    Options
    Does the contractor have insurance? The proper fix is to install a new Base Ray radiator. A temporary hold that lasts 3 years ...and when if fails, where will the contractor be? I'm wondering where the pin hole actually is? If it is too close to the edge, you will need to make the hole on a 45° into the corner edge. I'm not sure that will hold up. What do you think @Jamie Hall? on the top like the picture on the left will work no problem. On the corner, will there be enough thread to seal on both the sides and the top and bottom as the profile illustration shows? Maybe. Maybe not. Get the full repair done while there is a contractor on the hook.

    And by the way, that looks like a Weil McLain product. Burnham has a rounded edge at that location.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    1950sGem
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
    Options
    I think that is just screwed to the surface of the wall, but it could take some creativity to disconnect and reconnect the piping without access from below.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,330
    Options
    Now that I see the before picture, I would NOT attempt to drill and tap that. I had a flat surface to work with for my repair. Is there a way to cut off the water to just that radiator? If you had a valve for that, you would still have heat in the rest of the house if the patch failed. I think the current patch might be the best of a bad bunch of options. Two other options are to solder or braze a nail into the hole. I'm not sure that would be any better than the current epoxy patch.
    I DIY.
    1950sGemMikeAmann
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
    edited November 2022
    Options
    If you could tile under the new WC, that might raise the tank to clear the heater.

    There are extension rings to correct the height issue.
    It should end up with the bottom of the top ring sitting as if it were on top of the tile.

    There might be a creative way to cut the tile and fill in to make it look like a border around the WC.

    So it would appear as part of the plan.

    I would go for the contractor's insurance to replace it, hopefully he has some.
    1950sGemMikeAmann
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    Options
    WMno, thanks. Maybe installing an emergency kill valve for this area of radiator is a great solution should the epoxy fail down the line. We have an unfinished basement with exposed ceiling so finding that pipe might not be the most difficult. 

    And thank you everyone for your input 🙏🏼 All of this has been beyond helpful and given us some…?peace? If that’s possible. 

    Knowledge is power. Wish us all the radiator heating luck you can 🍀 
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,357
    Options
    O.O
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 494
    Options
       I've been grouting, caulking / sealing  plumbing fixtures for almost 50 years. Both the IRC & IPC require plumbing fixtures to be sealed water tight where they come in contact with walls & floors.......
    JakeCK
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    edited November 2022
    Options
    Is there somethin more than an empty paper bag there to keep sewer gas from leaking into the house?

    If it was mine, I'd be gutting it and starting fresh. It sucks, but sometimes the only choices you have suck. There's absolutely no way I'd leave a pressurized radiator patched with JB weld in my house though.

    Until today I didn't even know painting tile and grout was a thing.
    Is it a thing?


    I don't know what options there are for radiation, but I'd want something high mass to match the rest of the house. It doesn't have to match cosmetically, but I'd want it close in behavior.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    PC7060
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
    Options
    ChrisJ said:


    Until today I didn't even know painting tile and grout was a thing.
    Is it a thing?

    They did it on the last episode of ask this old house. I was considering writing a letter.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
    Options
    You can take the end caps off that baseboard, looks like there are screws, cut away the grout on the new tiles with a grout saw or something. I think that is just screwed to the tile on the surface and caulked, but some digging in the caulk would confirm. Be careful to cut the caulk so you don't pull the tiles off with the baseboard.
    1950sGem
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
    Options
    mattmia2 said:

    ChrisJ said:


    Until today I didn't even know painting tile and grout was a thing.
    Is it a thing?

    They did it on the last episode of ask this old house. I was considering writing a letter.
    Plenty of youtube videos on this. Big box stores have kits.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
    Options
    That doesn't make it a good idea. Everything being real estate gray or beige is popular but not a good idea either.
    WMno57ChrisJbburd
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,357
    Options
    MikeL_2 said:
       I've been grouting, caulking / sealing  plumbing fixtures for almost 50 years. Both the IRC & IPC require plumbing fixtures to be sealed water tight where they come in contact with walls & floors.......
    That's what I thought. Often times you will see toilets caulked around the entire base except for a few inches in the back with the idea that if there is a leak it will be noticed. That or people don't do back there because it is a pita. 
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,467
    edited November 2022
    Options
    The way I would salvage the baseboard is to make a 90 deg angle patch that would fit over the cut, out of stainless steel. The patch would be larger than the cut area. I would rough up the baseboard that the patch would fit over and the underside of the stainless 90 deg angle and glue the patch over the cut with JB Weld. Walla, done. Then sell the house!

    I would grind the white JB weld off and do as I suggested. JB Weld is gray not white as it has steel particles in it.
  • 1950sGem
    1950sGem Member Posts: 8
    Options
    ChrisJ said:
    Is there somethin more than an empty paper bag there to keep sewer gas from leaking into the house? If it was mine, I'd be gutting it and starting fresh. It sucks, but sometimes the only choices you have suck. There's absolutely no way I'd leave a pressurized radiator patched with JB weld in my house though. Until today I didn't even know painting tile and grout was a thing. Is it a thing? I don't know what options there are for radiation, but I'd want something high mass to match the rest of the house. It doesn't have to match cosmetically, but I'd want it close in behavior.
    Lol the paper bag was so the cat didn’t try and go down the hole. It has the wax rings in it