Thursday, March 16, 2006

Of Tile and Toilets...

     I thought I had written some time ago about the project we had started in our master bath, but I guess not.  Alas, apparently it’s another post I wrote only in my head!
     Anyway, I’ll try to spare you too many details . . . some weeks ago (I don’t want to remember how many), we decided to paint our bathroom.  As we painted, and a few drips hit the carpet, we discussed how we had long wanted to tear out the carpet and lay tile.  By the end of the day, the carpet was gone.  (Yes, I know, it would have been much easier just to put down tarps, but we really wanted that tile!)  What we thought would be a relatively quick job, however, has taken the aforementioned “some weeks.”
     We both thought it would look nice to lay the tile on the angle/diagonal. It looks great now, but it sure complicated all my cuts!  And the scoring tool the tile store rented us was useless for diagonal cuts.  So I took it back and bought a cheap reconditioned contractor’s wet-saw.  It did the job, but it took forever.  I cut an X in the middle of the old shower curtain and used it as a poncho to keep dry from all the water the saw threw up.  
     Part of what complicated the latter part of the project was that I decided it would be easier to install the cement board and lay the tile if I removed the toilet.  That was true – it was much easier for the tile job, but I’ve spent three evenings this week working on various aspects of getting the toilet back in.  (It was much easier coming out than going back in!)  
     Two or three trips to Home Depot later, and after too many hours with my face right next to the toilet bowl, the toilet is sitting pretty with no leaks (at least none yet discovered).  Talk about an awkward position; our toilet sits in its own neat little stall-like space.  Neat, that is, until you try to work in that area.  Indeed, I felt like I was nearly standing on my head half the time, trying to figure out which way was “on” and “off” from upside-down and backwards.  I think I have it down.  Or maybe not.
     Lessons:
     1) I would make this tip last, since I didn’t really use it, but wanted to make sure you saw it (and who knows, you might not read all six!):  After flushing the toilet and sponging out the water in the tank, “Important: Be sure to take out any bricks, bottles, small water craft, or fish that may remain in the tank”  Never would have thought of it.  Glad the natural handyman did!
     2) Triple (at least) the amount of time you expect it to take.  Plan on one project leading to another (see also If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)!
     3) For laying tile, rent a real, powerful tile saw if you have to make many cuts – especially if you’re cutting tile on the diagonal.
     4) Do pull the toilet when laying tile, but be prepared for some extra work!
     5) Do buy all-new connectors when reinstalling the toilet – from the water line to the tank, from the tank to the bowl, and bolts from soil-pipe to bowl.  This just makes it easier and helps eliminate leaks.  Do take the old parts to the hardware store with you, so you don’t have to guess which size to purchase.
     6) Hire a professional if you don’t want to tell interesting stories on your blog (and if you’re in a big hurry to get it done!).

6 comments:

Micah & Brad said...

HAHAHA!!! I wish we had some pictures of this event. Esp. Andrew wearing a shower curtain :o). And what ever happened to the stories from your trip???

Jen said...

Welcome back from your travels!

This makes me glad I am not a home owner....I am SO not handy. :)

Andrew & Alaina said...

Seeing Kevin and Amy's before/after shots of their back yard, I too was wishing for some before/after shots of this project. Sorry; we don't have any of the befores. And you're not likely to see me in my shower-curtain poncho; I thought it would be fun to re-enact it and let Alaina get a photo if, but she vetoed that idea ;(

steph said...

hurray...you're back. I've missed reading new posts.

Catherine said...

Wow, I don't even know what some of those things mean ("wet-saw?" "cement board?") - I'm way impressed that y'all even attempted, much less accomplished, this remodeling job!

Thanks for the tips too, though I can't imagine myself taking a toilet apart, surely if we did we would have overlooked removal of small watercraft and fish. This of course begs the question, would we in fact increase the efficiency of our toilet functioning if we added small watercraft and fish to the tanks? Because our master bath toilet does run an awful lot. And we need to replace our decorative Betta fish that died on Christmas anyway, so maybe we could find a two for one sale...hmmm...

Andrew & Alaina said...

If your toilet is running a lot (other than when you flush it) your flapper (yes, that's what it's called) probably leaks. To test it out, put a little food coloring into the tank. If, in a couple of hours (without otherwise flushing) you have color in the bowl, your flapper leaks and, to conserve water, should be replace. I don't think it's hard, and definitely not expensive. You can do a google search for it and get lots more related info :)