The Art of Being “Big Girl”, Continued

Or, “Don’t Try This at Home, Part 2”

So the toilet in the guest bathroom had been leaking for awhile…faucet in boxIf that opening sentence sounds familiar to you, you have probably read “Don’t Try This at Home”, where I detailed my (first) experience with Do-It-Yourself home plumbing.

If you remember, I ran into a few problems due to the rusted bolts under the sink, but with patience (it took about three days) and my trusty helper, I was able to complete the project. So what was to prevent me from taking off the toilet tank in the guest bathroom and replacing the gaskets to stop the leaks?

Did I mention about the rusted bolts? No problem, I thought. I did this before. It will be just like the sink. But these bolts were even worse than I’d thought. After a few minutes of trying to remove them, I realized that the toilet itself would slide a bit from side to side if I pushed on it. It was then that I got the revelation: Why am I spending all this time on a toilet that is probably as old as I am, when I could just get a new one?online searchI went on an online mission to find a toilet that would be both affordable and easy to install. I read reviews, researched different brands, and finally decided on Lowe’s, where I purchased my toilet for “pick up in store”. (I won’t lie and say I didn’t consider having it delivered, but since the cost of delivery was more than the cost of the toilet itself, I said no to that idea.)inside Lowe'sA few days later, I got the email saying my order was ready for pick up, and went to Lowe’s, where I embarked on what might be called an adventure within an adventure.Toilets-at-Lowes I got this photo online (I did take the rest), but it looks almost exactly like what I saw when I went in to see what I had ordered. I wanted to see it and ask a few questions (not the least of which was “Will it fit in the back of a Honda CRV?”)  The employee I talked to was a kind man who was extremely helpful. I asked if he had ever heard of ladies installing  toilets by themselves and he assured me that he had, and that it was totally “do-able”. He gave me some valuable advice and talked like my installing a toilet was the most natural thing in the world. Satisfied, I continued on to the “Pick Up” counter.at pick upAt the pickup counter I was told to move my car to the “pick up area” out front. So I went and re-parked my car, only to discover that there was no one in sight who looked even remotely like they worked there. I went back inside where I was told that I needed to go to the pick up counter.  A teeny bit frustrated, I showed my paperwork explained my dilemma, and was then told that I was supposed to be in the loading zone by the front doors. To be fair, the girl at the counter did apologize for the “miscommunication”.  I didn’t even ask what that other pick up area was for…backed in at pickupWith a sinking feeling I realized I was supposed to back into the loading zone, but, being the “big girl” that I am, I managed this to the best of my ability. After finding the “pick up guy” and explaining that, yes, I had already been to the pick up counter, I presented my paperwork and was able to head home with my prize.

My first job when I got home was to take out the old toilet. It took awhile, but finally…success! Now to take the new one out of the car.toilet in carAnd yes, a toilet does fit in the back of a Honda CRV! Following the advice of the guy who loaded it into the car, I opened the box and removed the pieces individually so I didn’t have to handle the heavy box.

The bowl section was the heaviest, so I laid the box on its side and scooted it up the step from the garage. As with the bathroom faucet, this was a project that took several days. I told myself, I’m retired, I have the time, and I have another bathroom, so if it takes awhile that’s okay.not a flangePerhaps the most important takeaway you can get from this post is the knowledge that this is NOT a flange! Don’t laugh, but when I removed the toilet I expected to see a wax ring, which I have seen before, and was surprised to see this piece in place. I was even more surprised to find out that the wax was actually underneath this rubber part! Since I had read that the first thing you do is clean the the flange, I removed this piece and scooped out the wax. As an FYI, toilet wax sticks to latex gloves and is almost impossible to remove from rubber, or anything else for that matter. After cleaning my “flange” to the best of my ability, something still didn’t seem right, so I went back online…

blue ring…where I discovered that what I had was the “Danco Perfect Seal” wax ring. Mine didn’t have the blue part because that apparently is optional depending on the height of your flange. You don’t clean it, you throw it away and buy a new one! Okay…
Korky box 2I went to the hardware store near my house (affectionately known by me as “Carlos’s store” because Carlos works there). I showed the worker the screen shot on my phone. They didn’t have it, he said, but here was something even better!

I quickly discovered that the bolts included with this ring were too short. I decided to reuse my original ones instead. It’s too complicated to explain, but do you see the light from under the house in the photo on the bottom right? Well, that’s where both of my long bolts slipped down under the house and into oblivion.

Since I didn’t really think the Korky wax-free ring was going to work (no offense to Carlos’s store), I went to Home Depot, where I got a “Danco Perfect Seal” ring just like my original one, along with a new set of extra long bolts. I followed the directions with a minimum of difficulty and then attached the tank to the bowl. This proved almost impossible due to the fact that there was practically no space between the toilet and the walls. But finally I got it, and I thought the project was complete, only to find out the next day that it LEAKED! StarbucksI’m not talking about just a little leak. I’m talking about leaks everywhere, from the tank bolts to the the base of the bowl. I’m talking about water and wet towels all over the floor. I tried everything I could to no avail. I was so frustrated that I was almost ready to give up. It was time for coffee and drawing pictures. I closed the door on the bathroom and didn’t look in there until the next morning.Foster picking toolsThe next day I got up with one goal in mind. If I had to, I would take the whole toilet off and start over! Foster thought he would help by picking out the right tools. Before starting completely over, I tried tightening down all the bolts one last time. It took awhile, and it wasn’t that easy, but eventually the leaks stopped!

Yay! All done!

all doneSo far no more leaks, but if there are, you may or may not read about it here!