Saturday, February 26, 2005

Toilet Trouble — A Very Un-Romantic Ramble

Ah...Saturday! Visions of sleeping a little later, a leisurely morning of catching up on bill paying, browsing a few of my favorite blogs, and maybe working on the next chapter of my second novel before and afternoon round of golf. Great plans...

Dashed! I awoke twice during the night to the unmistakable sounds of rain dripping off the eaves. We'd already had heavy rains on Thursday and the golf course would be soggy at best; now it would be unplayable, even if the weather cleared. (I am an admitted wimp – I do NOT golf in the rain.)

Ah, well...A change of plans to indoor activities. More time to write, and maybe review the questions I’m planning to ask at the hearing (see the previous 3 postings).

Fate had other plans. My wife has long been convinced that our guest bathroom toilet leaks. She’s found discolored grout in the floor tile around the base, and the only possible source seems to be moisture seeping up from below. The only possible source of the water? Well, the toilet, of course. Yesterday her fears were confirmed. She found water at the base of the toilet. Not much, but like vermin in the house, if you ever see ANY there are always LOTS more you don’t see.

I’ve had plenty of experience with toilets. And not just from the standing or seated position. We used to own some older rental property and an old house. There were a total of six toilets in our possession, and over time every one of them had to be replaced or re-sealed.

When we moved to a newer house with a slab foundation I thought my toilet woes were over. That seemed to be true until my wife decided to put down ceramic tile in the bathrooms in place of the linoleum. That meant the toilets had to be removed and then re-sealed and replaced. That was about 10 years ago.

So, how long has this particular toilet been leaking? Well, at least several years, based on the grout discoloration around it. Maybe ever since I reinstalled it over the new ceramic tile.

Thus my Saturday morning has been spent disassembling and removing the toilet and cleaning the floor underneath it. Yes, it was quite wet outside the wax ring. (For those who are not experienced toilet mechanics, the wax ring is supposed to seal the discharge from the toilet as it flows into the sewer drain.)

It’s now mid-morning. We’re attempting to warm the floor tiles with a ceramic heater to get the area as dry as possible before applying silicone caulk to the seam where the tile rests on the concrete slab. Since this is a cold, rainy day, that may take a while.

Then I’ll install a new wax ring, place and level the bowl, secure it with closet bolts to the floor, mount the top tank, reconnect the water supply line and check for leaks. If I find any, you’ll probably hear the hollering and cursing because then I’ll have to start over.

For now, I’m letting the floor warm and dry. My Saturday mood has turned grumpy and confrontational. Think I’ll work on questions and challenges for my daughter’s unemployment hearing. I’m ready to take on her ex-employer and chew him up!

1 comment:

Duke_of_Earle said...

Since so many of you have already asked for the outcome of my toilet adventures, I'll put this as a comment instead of a new posting.

The floor is warm, dry, and caulked. The toilet has not one but TWO new wax rings installed to ensure a good seal, and is back in place, levelled, and connected to the water source. No leaks!! (yet) And it's only two p.m.

Maybe now I'll get some writing done. Unless leaks develop. Which almost always happens just about the time you've settled back, sure that the job is done.