31 December, 2015

One of Many - Toilets, that is...

Once in a while, you have to take a break from the construction routine - which, for my part, mostly consists of watching and documenting through my camera, everything that goes on.

The break in this instance, involved not one, not two, but three separate toilets. All of them supposed to be going into the same location.

Here's how it started. Our existing toilet (nearly 9 years old) was beginning to exibit several signs of old age - horrid age spots, incontinence, and slipping off its pins.

Well, those horrid age spots - a marl-colored discoloration in the bowl that we just couldn't get rid of no matter what we tried. The cats had developed an penchant for drinking out of the toilet - at least they were drinking water. Well, their paws would have a slight coating of marl dust, often as not, when they came in from outside. Naturally, they would be thirsty and head to the toilet for a drink. They jump on the rim and put their front paw on the inside of the bowl just above the waterline to drink. The porcelain on this particular toilet was of such high quality, that it absorbed the marl and wouldn't come out.

Incontinence is next. It ran a tiny bit of water through the bowl, constantly. I tried cleaning off scale from around the flapper seat (if you've never repaired a toilet, you may not know what a flapper is. You've got something to look forward to if that's the case), and a few other locations within the tank, all to no avail.

You could usually see a slight movement of surface ripples (very faint) in the bowl water, so you knew something was going on. We put up with it for years.

And the last, slipping off it's pins. Well, probably in part, due to settling of the house more than anything else, and the fact that to make the toilet sit level on the floor, the original installer had slipped a couple of drywall screws under the base of the toilet as shims so it would sit level on the floor tile. Then they caulked the shit out of the base, and we were none the wiser for years. That is, until one day, one of the screws began to work its way out from under the toilet and we began to wise up.

So, all that in the aggregate, caused us to make the decision that it was now time to dump (no pun intended, too much) the old toilet and get something new in its place.

After we removed the old one, we had to clean up some minor crud that accumulates from nine years of use, along with old caulking, and toilet flange ring wax, and stuff like that, as you can see below.

Where the Old Toilet Sat
Making sure things were clean and ready for a new toilet, I scrubbed the area with bleach and soapy water.
Dave Scrubbing Toilet Site 
Of course, there's the usual group of helpers watching to make sure that certain odious tasks are completed properly. They're just glad they didn't have to get on hands and knees (my poor knees) and tackle this job. It really wasn't that bad - well, all except the bit about my knees. That was. Kneeling is painful anymore, no matter what.
Denis and Dianna Showing Sympathy 
Once we got the place cleaned up and ready for a new toilet, Denis and I went up to Lano's Hardware, where I selected a nice elongated bowl toilet. Lano's staff got the tank from storage, and away we went.

Here Denis and I are unpacking the bowl. I was worried, since it seemed so long, not to mention, heavy, that it might not fit in the original flange location. That would infinitely complicate matters if that were to happen.
Unpacking First Toilet 
After dinking around with the bowl for a bit, we managed to get it seated on the flange, with the wax ring intact, and the two bolts that hold the bowl to the flange, through the holes in the bowl as they are supposed to be. Hint: It's a lot easier to position those two bolts if you take a couple small dabs of the ring wax and apply it to the bolt heads so they stick in position on the flange as you attempt to lower the bowl over them.
And More Figuring Where Parts Go 
Something just wasn't working right. We couldn't seem to get many of the parts to fit the way we thought that they should be fitting.

For one, the tank, which we haven't shown here for some reason, had two bolt holes that bolts go through to the bowl, where there should be corresponding holes in the bowl so that you can join both parts to make one.

If you look closely at the bowl below, you'll see two holes, yes, but those are the holes for the bolts that hold the seat onto the bowl. No bolt holes for the tank. And, what's with this brass thing in the bowl? It didn't seem to fit with anything to do with the tank. Something's really wrong.
Nothing Fits 
I took a picture (the one below) and took the camera with me when we went back to Lano's to see what they could tell us about our problem.

Mr. Lan took one look at the photo and said we had the wrong bowl. That is for commercial applications where there isn't a tank. It uses water pressure to do it's job. Well, no wonder. But, apparently, we had the right tank. So, he got us properly outfitted with the correct bowl and we headed back to Casa Winjama.
Wrong Toilet 
Well, we weren't smelling like daisies yet. Although the bowl looked correct (again, sorry for no photo, but if you've seen one toilet bowl, you've seen... You know), something was still wrong. the bolt holes in the tank were just a tad off from lining up with the holes in the bowl.

I tried several times to get the bolts, rubber washers, and nuts to tighten up and securly hold the two parts together. But, no matter what I did, or how much I tightened things, once I added water, serious leakage occurred.

I was to the point where I was going to used some silicone sealant to try to stop the leakage. After a conversation with Denis and Dianna, we decided that wasn't the way to go, that we would probably always be fighting leakage if we did that.

Tuesday dawns for the next step. Dismantle toilet and tank and haul everything back up to Lano's. Before we left for Lano's, Carl, our contractor, came up and once he saw what was going on, said, why don't you use that fancy new, one-piece toilet we got at Home Depot in Chetumal? He said he'd be going back over to Chet to get the rest of the tile and stuff, and that he could pick up another toilet just like it. Bingo! That was the answer to the problem.

Denis and I took the wrong toilet back to Lano's and traded it in for a credit for the entire purchase price. Which, incidently, I promptly spent later in the day, as I went back and bought a new 7-litre on-demand water heater for the addition.

Returning to home, Denis had some chores to attend to, like helping Vivien take Maggie, their little doggie, to the groomers, and stuff like that. So, I was on my own for the new toilet. I had a couple of the guys haul the new one-piece upstairs.

Repeating the process with the wax ring (a new one again), I coerced Dianna into helping me get the bolts for the flange through the holes in the toilet base and eventually got everything mounted properly and hooked up. Once I turned on the water, it was a pleasant surprise that there was no leakage.

As you can see below, the one-piece is quite the looker. Nelson is helping to show it off. You may be wondering about the contraption around the toilet. That's our new 'Squatty-Potty', that helps ensure a successful BM, but that's a story for another posting.
Our New One-Piece Toilet
There's many more photos than appear in each posting. You can see all the photos of the toilet adventure on Flickr at:    


Wilma said...

We always keep the toilet lid down to cats, and anything else, out of the toilet bowl until we use. Love your new one piece toilet. Almost as much as I love the "sympathetic" gazes of Denis and Dianna ...

Dave Rider said...

Hi Wilma,

I'm afraid that keeping the lid down might be something we'll have to implement. There was a lot of sympathy expressed, wasn't there?


Vivien said...

So glad it is now fixed.

Dave Rider said...

Hi Vivien,

Oh, you and me both. What an exercise that turned out to be. I hope the new toilet works for a long, long time.


Unknown said...

Great post! Love the one piece. Quite the looker! Can't wait for the squatty potty episode!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Colleen,

Thanks for the nice comment. I love the one-piece terlet. It's easy to work on, install, and clean. We're never going back!

Squatty Potty post will be coming up soon.