Hot Topics: Wow, That Pipe Broke Easy

A broken closet bend sits on the exposed subfloor.

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Sometimes, you demo more than you mean to. When you’re doing a remodel, first you need to tear out what’s already there, but you have to be careful to leave behind the things you want to keep. When that pipe you were only trying to move snaps off in your hand, what do you do? The Forum knows.

Original Post: I’ve done it this time

jrchand Member

Well I was trying to put a spacer under my second floor toilet flange to tile my floor. Felt like plenty of movement to do so. Went to raise the flange and it broke off under the floor near the wall. I felt around, it feels like a T where it broke off. There is plenty of room between second and first floor ceiling, and the wall is just a closet on the other side of the bathroom. I’m gonna call pro to work this one. I just wanted a pro’s opinion on the matter. A guy should be able to cut into the floor and the wall and replace the broken parts if he can get to them, right? Once we cut the sheetrock and chunk of subfloor it should all be right in front of us. I can’t believe I biffed it like this. This seems BAD. Thanks.

Highlights from the Thread

PJmax Forum Topic Moderator

Welcome to the forums.

That's actually pretty unusual, as PVC has some give to it. Maybe your crowbar was too big. Good thing it was PVC and not cast iron or an old lead bend.

I would think that opening the floor there will get you access to the area. Use a small circular saw and cut midway down the beams so you will have a place to refasten the floor to. Working from the ceiling below is another option.

Zorfdt Forum Topic Moderator

I'd cut out the floor as PJmax said and take a picture of what fitting is actually there. I have to believe that fitting may have had a crack in it because it should take a lot of force to break a sanitary tee. But then again, it obviously happened!

The problem will likely be that the whole fitting needs to be cut out, and part of the fitting will be below the joists. There may be some options, but best to see how it's broken and what's still left. We can help you take it from there!

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

I know it sounds bad but I often find that jobs actually go quicker and better by opening the area up. Don't be afraid to open up a good working area in the floor. Don't worry too much about working through a small hole. Go ahead and find the joists and cut the sheeting down the center of the joist and remove the sheeting in between. Now you've got room to work properly, and repairing the sheeting from joist to joist is easier than a smaller hole.

jrchand Member


I thought I was applying appropriate force and would have expected a chunk of the flange to break before the entire pipe, although the pipe itself was giving me leverage on the T. I appreciate your input. I was worried I royally screwed up. I’m gonna call a professional plumber/remodeler to cut into the flooring and wall if needed and repair everything. And probably finish the bathroom haha.

Here is the pipe under the bathroom floor:

PVC pipe between the floor and ceiling.

toolmon Member

I can see why it snapped. The hub on the top of the T is tight against the subfloor. No room to flex at all.

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