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Hone your throne – simple DIY toilet maintenance and repairs

Credit: Naomi Findlay, International Institute of Home Staging Credit: Naomi Findlay, International Institute of Home Staging

Toilet repairs need not be big, scary chores. Just follow these simple DIY steps to show your toilet some love!

Wobbly Seat

At the back of the toilet, there is a flip up cover where the bolts are found. Use a flat screwdriver to flip it up (or there is no cover and the bolts are visible) see Figure. 1

Using a flat screwdriver to flip up the bolt cover on a toilet seat Figure 1: Tighten a toilet seat: image courtesy of Bemis

Step One:

First, using a flat head screwdriver, tighten the bolts. You may need to hold the wing nuts underneath. Then try also tightening the wing nuts.

Step Two:

If this doesn’t work, (unless the seat is quite new), replace with a new seat. Repeat the steps above, except start by loosening the wing nuts and then slide the existing seat off. Remove the wing nuts completely.

Step Three:

Take the opportunity to give the pan (the part where you sit) a good scrub.

Step Four:

Place the new seat over the existing holes. Use the wing nuts that come with the new toilet seat and install them in the same place the previous wing nuts are and hey presto! New toilet seat installed.

Finally, call over other residents of your home so they can admire your handiwork.

Take your toilet base from ick to schmick

– Remove and replace the silicone

As time goes on, the silicone around the base of your toilet can become old and grubby, and no one wants to be looking at that while they are spending a penny! It can also mean that it is no longer fully functioning in preventing the join from water damage.

The hardest part of replacing the silicone is removing the existing silicone, but it is also the most important part too as new silicone might not properly seal the join if old silicone is still there.

How to replace your silicone! How to replace your silicone!

Step One:

Apply a strong silicone remover to the existing silicone if it is hard to the touch and the surrounding area is not plastic (i.e. the toilet and the floor). This will soften the silicone making it easier to remove, but it does damage plastic. Follow the application and removal instructions on the container to ensure you are doing things correctly.

Step Two:

Using a razor blade or sharp edge, slice off the old silicone by making a vertical cut along the contours of the toilet base and a horizontal cut along the floor. With a pair of needle-nosed pliers, you can pull out as much or the silicone as possible and with any remaining spots, try to pull them out with tweezers.

Step Three:

Once the joint is clear, scrub with a dry cloth (non abrasive) to get rid of any remaining traces of old silicone. Open the window and dip the cloth in mineral spirits and wipe the joint again. Then wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth and then dry with a dry cloth

Step Four:

Spray an anti-mould cleaner onto the joint to kill any mould spores, if you’re being more eco-friendly, wipe with a cloth that has some white vinegar on it. Then wipe it off with a dry or wet cloth (depending on the anti-mould cleaner’s instructions).

Step Five:

Line the base of the toilet and floor with painters tape. The gap between the tape should be approx 1cm wide

Step Six:

Cut the silicone tube using a blade at a 45 degree angle and make the opening in the tube about half a cm wide. Fit the silicone tube into a silicone gun with the tip of the tube away from the trigger

Step Seven:

Put the nozzle of the tube in the gap between the tape, holding the gun at a 45 degree angle so the opening lines up with the joint, and squeezing gently, apply the silicone smoothly between the tape.

Step Eight:

When finished, wrap some damp paper towel around your index finger, place your finger lightly into the freshly applied silicone and run your finger around the base of the toilet to smooth the silicone

Step Nine:

Carefully remove the tape and run over the silicone again with damp paper towel ensuring the line is smooth and even.

Leave for at least 24 hours before cleaning the floor around the base of the toilet and you’ve done it!!

Using a bit of elbow grease and know how your toilet is now comfortable to sit on AND has a lovely new silicone join! Great work, now put your feet up and take the afternoon off!

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