Last weekend, I decided to replace the two toilets in our house. As a person ages, it gets harder and harder to get up off the throne, especially when the seat is lower than sitting in a chair. So, I did my research extensively, trying to find the best toilet for our budget, and for our bu….. oh, never mind with that comment. We will, after all, be spending a lot of time sitting on those seats in the coming years.
I did not realize that Lowes lists hundreds of models, with many in the $500-$900 price range! Who knew there are self-cleaning, heated, powered, fashion toilets? So, after a couple of days of spreadsheet comparisons, looking at seat height, GPF (gallons per flush), flush valve sizes, rough-in measurements, and of course, customer ratings, I chose the model I most wanted. Fortunately, our local Lowes reported 6 in stock. So last Friday, we went to pick them up, one for each bathroom.
I knew that the bathroom off the master bedroom would be an issue, as I had worked on a leak once before. The flange was well below the level of the floor. Rather than putting in two wax rings (they really do break down over time), I decided to put in a “flange extender kit”. The instructions make it look pretty easy. Just set this on top of the existing flange, with the seal provided, drill some masonry screws in, and mount the toilet. Little did I know that the existing flange was installed before the concrete was poured for the house! I had to chip out enough concrete to be able to insert the flange extender into the space where it needed to go.
My “one hour – tops!” estimate was grossly insufficient. The first toilet took 6 hours to install, almost all of that being preparatory work. The second installation gave me two advantages: I knew what I was doing, and I had more room to do it in! It only took a mere four hours to install! Trying to chip away about 1 1/2 inches of concrete in a near perfect circle, and with a flat level bottom surface – is not at all easy.
But the result is spectacular! I know that these toilets will give us no problems for many, many years to come! They only use a fraction of the water we used to use, and yes – it is much easier to stand up!