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Upgrade your bathroom

“Bathrooms are the big remodel job for me right now,” says Eddie Dye, co-owner with Jim Rogers of 2 Old Men Construction in Pulaski County.

“Most people take everything out and make it all new. Almost everyone installs either a separate shower, a garden tub, or both. The showers are mostly three-piece units; the top two units come together to form one stand-up unit,” he says.

Dye says a new toilet is also a popular feature, particularly the new power flush commodes. “These take only a few gallons of water to flush,” he says. Numerous manufacturers offer models that use less water.

Dye’s advice: “If you are thinking about a bathroom remodel, talk to the remodeler first to see what you can and can’t do based on where the electrical lines and plumbing pipes are. The remodel is much more expensive if you move water lines or electrical lines.”

Install a power flush commode

Materials: 5-gallon bucket, wax ring, flange bolts, plastic shims, socket wrench, level, bathroom caulking. There are packages available that include most of the items.

Budget: $100-$300 for the toilet (Some higher-end toilets can cost up to $1,000)

Steps

  1. Check the water pressure.
  2. Close and disconnect the supply line from the existing toilet if applicable and place the supply line in a 5-gallon bucket.
  3. Open the water supply line completely for 30 seconds and then close it as quickly as possible.
  4. Check the amount of water collected in the bucket. If you have less than a gallon, you do not have sufficient water pressure to install a power flush toilet. If you have a gallon or more, proceed.

Install the toilet

  1. Wear gloves. Remove the existing toilet and scrape the old wax if necessary from the flange in the floor. The wax will not be very clean.
  2. Insert the flange bolts into the notches on the flange and secure with plastic clips. This hardware will be supplied with the new toilet.
  3. Dry-fit the toilet onto the flange and check to ensure that it is level. If needed, place shims under the base of the toilet. Leave the shims in place and remove the toilet.
  4. Place the toilet upside-down on a towel and press the wax seal into place on the hole in the bottom of the toilet.
  5. Place the toilet back down onto the flange, ensuring that the flange bolts slide through the holes on the toilet base. Position the toilet properly and press down firmly to compress the wax ring. Sit down on the toilet to press it all the way to the floor and complete the seal.
  6. Place washers and nuts over the flange bolts and tighten to secure the toilet to the floor. Tighten each side a small amount at a time. Make sure the bowl is secured firmly, but avoid overtightening as you could break the flange or the base of the toilet. If you have a one-piece toilet, you can skip the next step.
  7. Fit the tank into place on the back of the toilet bowl. Insert bolts into the holes at the bottom of the tank. Secure the tank in place using washers and nuts from the underside of the tank. Use a level while tightening to ensure the tank doesn’t install at an angle.
  8. Attach the water supply line to the toilet inlet. If using a flexible supply tube, simply tighten the compression nuts at the supply and the toilet. If using a solid metal tube, you may need to bend or cut it to ensure a proper fit. Open the water supply and check for leaks.
  9. Set the toilet seat down, ensuring the bolts fit through the holes behind the bowl. Tighten nuts from the underside of the toilet to secure the seat in place.
  10. Run a bead of caulk around the base of the toilet to seal any gaps. This improves the look of the installed toilet and helps to hold the toilet in place.

Hint: If you have an older galvanized pipe, you may need a wax ring with a piece that drops down into the drain. This piece is connected to the wax ring.

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