Toilet Repair Manual

DIY projects can be fun and rewarding. Nothing more satisfying than ‘A job well done’ right? It’s easy, after all isn’t that what all the hype is on home shows? Do it fast and do it right…Do It Yourself and  save a bundle. Come on, we are all like this in one form or another. What we fail to realize is that the total project may cost far more from lack of experience than to hire that professional to fix that DIY disaster

Here is a tale of a handy homeowner in their own words tackling a simple repair project that that ended up being a DIY nightmare from hell.

Speaking of wax ring replacements…

With the other thread talking about toilet ring replacements, I thought everyone would enjoy a quick summary of my experience doing this over the weekend. For every ones amusement, I present my 15 step wax ring replacement for older toilets.

1. Pull toilet, praise Deity of choice that the floor has not rotted out from extended unknown leak, and all the nuts and bolts holding it to the floor are in great shape. Scrape old wax ring off flange and toilet horn.

2. Go to nearest big box store, purchase wax ring and ball valve for water supply line (cause I hate full turn valves with a passion). Joke with Dad about just going ahead and buying replacement everything, a joke you will later kick yourself for making.

3. Replace water valve, cutting excess length from toilet supply line, because the new valve is taller than the old one. warm wax ring under armpit because its freakin’ cold outside and the ring is hard as a rock. Stick wax ring on Toilet horn. Replace toilet with much grunting and cursing, because your house was built in the 40’s and the john is stuck in a little space between the sink cabinet and the wall.

4. sit on toilet, wiggle a little, replace closet bolts. Done! Attach water supply line via compression fitting. Turn on water.

5. compression fitting leaks (surprised? not really), Turn water off, tighten, turn water back on.

5a. See #5

5b. See #5

6. Finally tighten that #@#^@ compression fitting so it no longer seems to leak (don’t worry, you’ll find out later it’s still leaking a tiny bit). Let tank fill, flush, repeat.

7. Wax Seal is fine, but a drip drip drip from behind the tank means all is not well. decide replacement tank to bowl kit is needed. Oh yeah, and the compression fitting? Its dribbling at you, mocking your efforts to make it stop.

8. Go to store, realize you do not know who makes the toilet, find kit that looks correct, also buy flex supply line since that @#%@^ compression fitting is *still* leaking.

9. Get home and realize toilet is so old it doesn’t have any manufacturer name anywhere on it. shrug shoulders since kit appears to work, and replace everything connecting tank to bowl. replace water supply line and compression fitting from hell with flexi-tube.

10. turn on water, check for leaks. See leak coming from *somewhere* between tank and bowl, turn off water, remove tank, double check everything.

10a. see 10

10b. see 10

11. Decide the leak must be coming from overflow tube assembly, attempt to remove assembly, fail due to tons of 60-year old pipe dope. Go to Father’s house with tank to deploy better set of tools. 45 minutes, a hacksaw, and a dremel later, finally cut away giant nut that is retaining assembly.

12. Go to Hardware store, #1, which only has full toilet repair kits (remember joke in #2? yeah, not so funny now is it?). Go to store number #2, find replacement overflow assembly.

13. Return home, placate grumpy wife who has now been by herself the whole day. replace overflow assembly, and re-attach tank to bowl.

14. Success! waters running, and no leaks seen, thank father profusely for help, and go to bed.

14a. …until you wake up to a hissing sound coming from toilet. In all the shaking and moving, the refill valve now leaks a *tiny* little bit. Resist urge to take nearest heavy blunt object to toilet, and go back to sleep.

15. Wake up, go to big box store, purchase replacement refill valve. resist urge to throttle store clerk that suggests buying the “replace everything” kit.

Can we get a witness?


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