Sunday, June 08, 2008

Toilet Tales

When John is here, we often find ourselves in the predicament of both needing to use the bathroom at the same time. With his move happening very soon, our need for a second toilet in the house was becoming more important. So over the past couple of weeks, that has been my household focus and goal.

I started by talking to Dad about getting water pipes into that room. The waste pipes were there, but no water was being brought into the room. We discussed what needed to be done, and he decided to bring just one cold water line in for now to handle the toilet. In the meantime, my task was to go toilet shopping and pick one out.

I decided I wanted an elongated toilet, since it was closer to what John was used to. Jenn and Stew got a new toilet last summer, and they seemed happy with it, so I decided to go with the same model. Since toilets aren't really something you can try out, it wasn't really something I could spend a lot of time on -- they all end up looking the same in the end. This toilet was from Home Depot, was only $100, and I had gift cards from my wedding shower that would cover the purchase. The only problem was that Home Depot was out of stock, and couldn't tell me when they'd get any in.

Dad called last Saturday morning asking if I had gotten a toilet yet. I told him Home Depot was out of stock. He suggested we could wait until later, but I wanted to seize the opportunity that my Dad was available and willing to work on the project. On a whim, I called Fredericton Home Depot, and lo and behold, they had 6 in stock. I decided rather than driving around SJ looking for another toilet, I could spend the same amount of time driving to Fredericton and back. So I did.

Dad and I started our project upstairs, since I wanted to put the new toilet upstairs and the old toilet downstairs. The old toilet always seemed to spray water on the seat, and that annoyed me. We got the new one installed without too much difficulty. We then moved the old toilet downstairs, unfortunately some of the wax came off on the stairs. I worked on cleaning it, but could only get it to come out so well. I may get the carpet cleaners to attack it next time I have them in.

Next was installing a flange for the toilet to sit on in the basement. All I had was a pipe sticking out of the floor. Dad needed more tools, so we called it a day and picked back up again on Sunday. I did manage to get a lot cleaned up in the spare bedroom on Saturday, though, which was good. I went through a couple of buckets of paperwork left over from the wedding/last fall, and sorted those. I also found another bucket I didn't know I had and that ended up containing the coupon I'd been searching for about my wedding dress preservation.

On Sunday Dad came back over late morning. He chiseled out around the pipe in order to put in the flange, and put down a piece of plywood so the toilet would be level. We set the toilet in place and then went to work on the water pipes. After realizing he had bought the wrong connector, he went out to replace that. He ran the water pipe, turned off the main water supply, and cut the cold water pipe to install the T joint for the new pipe.

That's when the fun began. None of the 3/4" fittings he had bought would fit the pipe. We drove to Home Depot and Kent, only to find out that my pipe was Kitek. Plastic on the inside & out, with aluminum in the middle. It was discontinued and thus no one stocks parts for it anymore. It is just a fraction of an inch larger than all of the fittings currently available. We ended up buying some parts to make a temporary fix, at least so I could shower or use the toilet. That fix wasn't very reliable though, and ended up leaking, so I turned the water back on long enough to fill the toilet tank but that was it. Sunday night I ended up taking my stuff and showering over at Dad's house, to prevent any catastrophes from the pipes leaking more downstairs.

Monday morning Dad hit the plumbing stores bright & early. He discovered that they didn't stock any parts for Kitek pipe either. With it being discontinued, most places returned their parts for credit. The problem with the Kitek pipe was that the material used to keep the parts of the pipe together was water soluble, so if the pipe got wet in between layers, it would fall apart. No wonder it was discontinued, but my whole house is plumbed with this stuff. If we couldn't find a fitting that would work, I would have had to replumb my house. Luckily, one of the plumbing supply shops was able to find a couple of fittings to fit the pipe, and rigged up another piece of copper pipe to go between the two. Dad had my water back in business by noon on Monday.

This weekend, I put on the finishing touches. I installed a curtain rod that I stole from the bathroom (it was empty and I had never put anything there). I took a twin size bedsheet that I previously used as a dropcloth to act as a "door". I discovered yet again that I am inept at using a cordless drill, so I ended up doing 2/3 of it by hand with a manual screwdriver. I also put the blinds up in front of the window. They ended up not being totally centered, but by the time I was done fighting with the drill, I didn't really care.

That's the best I can do for now, but at least it provides an extra toilet.

After having the new toilet upstairs for the past week, after all of the effort that went into it, I am disappointed. It has a sluggish flush, so you need to hold the button down for all of the paper to go away. I am also still getting water sprayed up on the toilet seat. Jenn says she doesn't experience either of these problems with her toilet, so I can only assume it is something about my house.

The other thing I don't like about the new toilet is the seat, but that is something that can be easily changed. The seat that came with it is angled inward toward the bowl so much that I feel like I am falling in. I also really miss my padded toilet seat. I am one of the few people who love padded toilet seats. Frankly, I spend enough time in the bathroom that I need some comfort. I did some research, talked to John about what he liked, and started looking into wood seats. While I was researching that, I found a brand new model of seat by Kohler called Zofa.

It's a padded seat, but a single-layer of foam rather than vinyl over stuffing/wood, which means no cracking and splitting of vinyl. It's not freezing cold to touch, and the foam is removable for cleaning. It also has quiet close so the lid doesn't slam, and has quick release, which allows you to remove the seat without unscrewing the bolts so you can clean around it. John seemed to like the idea, he wasn't against this type of padding, so I decided to go searching for it. I found a place online and will ship it to Calais. They're currently out of stock as this model has been quite popular (good sign), but they should have more in by June 18.

1 comment:

Liza said...

Isn't it amazing how a simple job in theory can end up being a horrific experience in reality?

It's kinda scary to learn about the pipes in your house. I cannot imagine why those would be used when it's pretty clear that they are substandard and can cause major plumbing issues down the road.

Be happy that not only is your Dad there for you (and the plumbing), but he knows what he's doing! Imagine having to pay a laborer for this job.

And, thank you for thinking about your future guests and installing both the toilet and the privacy curtain. I personally know it will be appreciated ... soon!