The husband and I have been updating our downstairs half bath for the last few weeks. The project includes a lot of painting and some DIY decor projects. It also includes replacing the old toilet. (You can read the entire design plan here.) We are updating our bathroom as part of a six week challenge called The One Room Challenge. The challenge has been a great motivator for us as we like to drag our feet when it comes to finishing projects.
Six weeks is a lot of time for this little room. We had a considerable amount of painting to do, but we were able to finish the painting by working full time over the course of 3 weekends. The toilet was on the plan as an easy win. Karma stepped in and very sternly said, “Nope.”
GAME OF THRONES
I knew that we were trying to achieve the six week deadline of this project. As I was choosing colors, fabric, and hardware for the bathroom, I also started searching for the perfect toilet. Perfect toilet I did find. I fell in love with the American Standard Optum VorMax Complete Right Height 2-piece 1.28 GPF Elongated Toilet in White. The price was right at $259 including a slow-close toilet seat, flushing technology that cleans 2X better than conventional toilets, and everything needed for the install included.
What went wrong? Standard toilet rough-in is 12 inches. 99% (this is an entirely made up statistic for anyone that is keeping track) of all toilets you will find available for purchase have a 12 inch rough-in. I made the assumption that my toilet would need to be the same. It is a toilet. How complicated could it be?
After pulling everything out of the box, we realized that we do not have a 12 inch rough-in. We have a 10 inch rough-in. My beautiful toilet had to be returned. The old toilet had to be reinstalled. Boooo!
The old toilet seat got to stay just a little longer. (If you don’t know the story about this lovely toilet seat, you can read about it here.)
We headed back to Home Depot almost immediately. They returned our lovely toilet and offered to help us find a suitable replacement. Well….remember how I said that 99% of all toilets on the market have a 12 inch rough-in? Not all of those 12 inch rough-in options are available in a 10 inch rough-in. Next to none of them, actually. My options of a pretty toilet dwindled down to next to nothing. Home Depot has 7 with a 10 inch rough-in that are chair height with an elongated bowl. SEVEN! They stock only 1 in their stores. Needless to say, that one in stock was not my favorite option.
I had to go to Lowes. Lowes has 14 to choose from, but none in stock that with an elongated bowl and chair height. We were stuck with making a special order.
About a week later we got a message our toilet had arrived and was ready for pickup. Excited, we rushed to the store to pick up our new toilet. We shoved it in our car and took it home.
The next day we opened the box and found that the tank was cracked.
I was so sad to find that the tank was broken. I thought I was going to cry. This toilet was a special order that took nearly a week to get. Returning the toilet and waiting for a new order to arrive was going to make our project late. Worse, we had a half installed toilet in our bathroom that was unusable. The bowl was starting to turn pink from microbial growth and I couldn’t clean it!
I got upset for a few minutes and then I had to get back to work. How do I solve this problem?
We had a few options.
- I know that Home Depot stocks a 10 inch rough-in white toilet in chair height with an elongated bowl. It wasn’t the prettiest toilet, but it was a toilet that would do the job.
- I could glue the tank to resolve leaking issues due to the crack. Glue would not create the nicest view, but it is an option.
- We could install an outhouse in the back yard. My step dad likes to tell stories about the outhouse that his family once had. Perhaps I could have my own story to tell my kids one day.
- I could explore whether or not the tank for both rough-in sizes are interchangeable.
I called Lowes and got the plumbing department on the phone. A great guy named Bruce was happy to assist. The husband and I loaded up our toilet one more time. We headed to Lowes. Bruce rolled a 12 inch rough-in American Standard Edgemere toilet to the front of the store. We compared the product codes and serial numbers. Success! Something was finally going our way.
With a new toilet without any cracks, it was finally time to finish uninstalling the old toilet. I was so excited to get the old one out that I grabbed the wrench and got started with unhooking the waterline to the tank.
After it was properly unhooked from its original position, the husband and I dragged the old toilet outside for it to await its new owner: the trash company. The funny thing is that it has rained a considerable amount this weekend so the toilet is full of water. Stray animals have been drinking out of it. Thank goodness it goes to its new home with the next trash pickup. On a side note, I am increasingly aware of how ugly my flowerbed is.
After all the drama, we were finally ready to install our new toilet. Laila was uncertain about what we were up to so she stayed in the dining room the during the entire install. I caught her checking us out.
We had the old toilet out and the new one was ready to go in. We put the wax ring in place and started to bolt the base to the floor. We placed the tank on top of the base to get a look. The new toilet looked great, however brown paint could be seen around the edges like a poo colored halo.
I grabbed the left over paint from the storage room, mixed it up with a stir stick, and brushed paint over the brown spot. We were not about to stand around to watch paint dry. I grabbed my blow dryer from upstairs and blew the paint dry. Two coats took about 10 minutes with painting and drying time. Not bad for a last minute touch up.
We set the tank, ran the water line, and let her fill with water. It was such a glorious moment!
Before we started this project, our bathroom was dark and dingy. Here is a photo of the room before we started this renovation. It wasn’t much to be excited about.
Overall, we are happy with the toilet. It has only been about 24 hours since it was installed, so it hasn’t received a lot of mileage. The handle is made of chrome colored plastic. It feels cheap to the touch and will probably need to be upgraded in a few months. This was something that was not detailed in the product information on the Lowes website. I may have picked another toilet had I have known.
Here is a shot of the lovely new base. We have a visible trapway so I will have more dusting to do over time. However, the toilets with skirted or concealed trapways were not available at Lowes in the rough-in size our bathroom required. The skirted trapways and concealed trapways look more stylish, but would need to be cleaned, too. Unless you have an ultra modern home or just really love the sleek design, I don’t see the point.
Top view (notice that there is no brown paint peeking through!) The toilet seat, although you cannot tell from the photo, is plastic. I was disappointed to pull a plastic seat out of the box. Like the handle, we will likely replace it in the near future. Perhaps with a bidet seat like this one?
Full side view: