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Friday, November 22, 2013

The Grossest Job in the World: A Tutorial!

WARNING:  This is a really gross job. But someone's got to do it!


Remember this adorable "robin's egg blue" toilet?  (It's really more of a light teal...) With a matching one on the "his" side of the master bath?  Well, they needed a new home.....

If you have toilets that need a new home, I'm happy to provide you with this incredibly gross tutorial.  So that you know you can do it yourself!  And don't have to pay a plumber umptamillion dollars.  ; )

(Notice how we've painted Kilz on all the subfloor?  That's a pet odor remediation trick we think is working!)

Step One:  Get your tools together!


You will need (from left to rightish):  a rag, a cup or container, a chisel or screwdriver, rubber gloves, a bucket, pliers, a crescent wrench, a Dremel tool OR a hack saw blade if you don't have a Dremel.


Step Two:  Turn off the water


Reach back behind the tank and turn off the water at the gross valve.  Make sure you turn it all the way to off as tightly as you can or you will get drips.


Step Three:  Flush the toilet!


Flush the toilet and hold the handle down as long as you still hear water running.  You are trying to empty the tank as much as possible.


Then pour a bucket of water into the bowl to make it flush as much water down as possible---it's the amount of water in the bowl that causes it to overcome the water pressure from the trap and go down---not some magic thing in the tank.  Just pure physics.  So with the tank empty, the bucket of water will flush the bowl even more empty!


Scoop out as much water as you can with your small plastic container.  A little left in the bowl won't matter that much. It's not going to leak out unless you tip the toilet over sideways.  (Yes this toilet is gross.  It has been "cleaned," but those are iron stains from the well water that won't come off.)

Step Four:  Unscrew the water line


Using the crescent wrench, unscrew the line that leads to the toilet tank.  It may help to put your small container under here, as there will be a few drips from the line.  But if it starts spraying water in your face, you haven't turned OFF the water line!  Try again!

Step Five:   Undo the toilet from the floor


 On either side of the toilet bowl, you will find the place where it is screwed to the floor.  If your toilet still has it's plastic caps---count yourself the luckiest person in the world!  This means it is more likely that the nut and bolt are not corroded!  Pry off the cap to get at the hardware.


This toilet had both caps still intact!  Use the crescent wrench to remove the nut from the bolt.



If the nut and bolt were corroded---you would have virtually no luck in unscrewing that nut.  (This happened on the other toilet I removed earlier this week.)  If that is the case, you have to actually cut throught the metal of the bolt underneath the nut.  A  Dremel tool works great for that---but it is still a nasty job with bits of metal flying in your face while you are hunched over a gross toilet.  Your other option, is to use a hack saw blade to cut through that bolt---that is the old way to do things---but still effective.  Just very, very slow and hard!  Or you can try to snap the bolt off with a pliers.  I wasn't strong enough for that.  Or the bolt wasn't corroded enough.


When you get the nut and washer off the bolt, it will look like this.  Usually kind of gross and rusty.  Do this to both sides of the toilet!  Now you are ready for LIFT OFF!

Step Six:  Lifting the toilet up and away!


With your legs braced under you, reach around both sides of the toilet bowl and rock it back and forth to be sure it is loose.  Make sure the water line is completely loose from the wall valve.  When you have summoned all your super powers, lift the whole stinkin' toilet up and off of those bolts and set it on the floor to the side.  If you are trying to save current flooring, it might be a good idea to have some cardboard to set it on right next to you.


Yes, there will be a REALLY GROSS hole in the floor where the toilet was.  Don't despair.  Don't throw up.  Just grab your rag!

Step Seven:  Dealing with the hole in the floor


Shove your rag in the hole.  Not because it is gross to look at---that is a given---but because the real danger is further down the line---sewer gases.  Don't shove it in so far you lose it down the line (that would be disastrous---as you would have to reach down there and retrieve it!)  Just cover up the hole.


Now you must get rid of the old wax ring.  That thing that is so very gross.  Scrape it up and off of the flange (the top of the sewer pipe that goes down into the floor.)  Scrape up, wipe off on the trash can edge.  Repeat.


It doesn't have to be perfectly clean.  Just clean enough for new nuts and bolts to go in and a new wax ring to sit nicely back down on it when the new toilet is installed.  Those slots on either side are where the new bolts will slide in under and stick up to hold the new toilet in place.


This job is DONE!  Now to move on to painting and flooring....



It was kind of fun to see the area behind the toilet tank that hadn't been painted fully.  You could see that at one time the bathroom had been painted a light blue to match all the fixtures and tile!  And later (probably in the 90s) it was extensively sponge painted in two tones.


I taped it up and took it back to boring "parchment paper" white!  Boring, but CLEAN!


Then I laid flooring.  This flooring is a "resilient tile" flooring.


 It is a pretty easy DIY project and feels very nice.  The tiles have an adhesive that sticks them to each other---not the floor.  So it is a floating floor.  And it can go down over virtually any other floor surface.  The only difficult part was cutting out around the heater vent and the toilet hole.  I used a chisel for that.  Otherwise it was just score and snap to break it.

Originally, this toilet alcove was part of the whole master bedroom carpeted floor.  We thought that was too gross...so now the alcove is in flooring and will segway to the carpet.   Next I stained and cut quarter round to cover up the area between the flooring and the baseboards.


Ta Da!!!  The finished project!   A new toilet on a new floor with newly painted walls!!!!

 I wish I had a tutorial about how to install the new toilet, but I was busy being "assistant plumber" to my husband who did that part after work.  Didn't have time for the camera.  It's actually pretty easy.  Basically putting it all back together again.  Wax ring sticks on the bottom of the toilet bowl before it goes down.  The hardest part is lining up the new toilet over the new bolts that stick up out of the floor.  (That was my job as assistant, while Hubby held up the toilet.)  Just don't forget to take out the rag!  Then hook up a new water line and flush away!



And there is a matching one on "his" side!  Ahhhhhh!  (That's the heavenly choir singing praises for the new thrones!)

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