January 16, 2012

Old house vs.. New House


Yesterday George and I got the lovely privilege to replace a wax ring on the toilet bowl in our house.

Now, I’m not a lazy person but we are selling this house so at this point I’m tried of plastering, painting, removing wall paper, and fixing things that the new home owners can deal with. However, I am for fixing things that are going to be a deterrence to a potential home buyer walking though.

Ever since I visited George back when he first moved to SD I can remembering smelling some sort of gas from the bathroom area. It would be there even if no one had used the bathroom so obviously something was wrong. George has had the septic tank emptied twice now and still the smell is there. About 3 weeks ago we had to have a Septic company come in and run stats on our water pipes. As soon as the guy walked in the bathroom he says to me… “um ya know that smell? Well, it’s methane and it’s leaking up from the toilet. Your wax ring has deteriorated so you may want to fix that.” DUH! why didn’t I think of that, oh yea because I’m 26 and this is my first house.

Well, because of the smell being so strong at times I told George we HAD to fix it. I didn’t want the realtors bringing people on tours of the house and having the house smell of Methane Gas. Which may I also add it poisonous so it def. needed fixed. The smell was getting worse as time has passed on.

We started our little project around 10am. Being the husband that he is, George googled how to fix the wax ring. Estimated time: 1 hour… we’ll see about that!First, we had to cut off the water in the house. We wanted to cut just the bathroom line but couldn’t find it. Sure enough that’s because it was right next to the toilet bowl and not in the basement. DOH! Better safe then sorry. After we shut the water off we detached the bowl from the floor and then emptied out the water. The guy was right, the wax ring that was there was almost gone. It wasn’t doing a darn thing. Not to mention the “Flange” was completely corroded and wasn’t even holding the bowl to the floor! (I like to take these opportunities to learn new words…

Flange; noun


a projecting rim, collar, or ring on a shaft, pipe, machine housing, etc., cast or formed to give additional strength, stiffness, or supporting area, or to provide a place for the attachment of other objects.

Around 10:30 we headed out to Menards (It’s basically a Lowes) to pick up the items we needed:

  • Wax Ring
  • Flange
  • toilet bolts

Of course that took almost 45 minutes because we were trying to figure out which ring we needed; just FYI they come in different thicknesses. We also didn’t measure which is a major DIY no-no! Measure before you go to the store!

When we got home, of course the Flange we bought was the wrong size.. George had to go back to the store and buy a new one. (This time he measured)

By the time George got home from the second trip to Menards, it was a little after 1pm at this point in the day. He had bought two different Flanges just in case and guess what! Neither of them fit! What the heck! We were starting to feel defeat upon us, this old house had almost beaten us. But George always says “You have to be smarter then the object” … one of this Grandmother’s quotes that he often states. So what did we do? We took a hack saw and cut the darn Flange down so that it fit perfectly! Haha! After we got that part screwed in  to the floor it was smooth sailing! Next was the wax ring; I had a great moment “ah ha” moment when I said we should use my hair dryer to help warm the wax so it would warm to room temperature and stick better to the bottom on the toilet. It worked! We got the ring on, reattached the seat and WAAALAA 3 hours later we have completed our first reinstallation of a toilet seat. Blast you Google for saying it should only take an hour!

George and I have done many projects in our house over the past 14 months and none of them are ever done in the time stated in most the directions. Our house was built in 1930 and although I love old homes because of the character they depict I’m starting to realize that a newer home would be less of a hassle.

A few our a biggest irritations with this older house have been:

  • #1 Plaster Walls: They are uneven so forget handing Shelves. They start to deteriorate over time leaving cracks and holes to refinish. If you try to hang things you have to be extra careful.
  • #2 Old plumbing: It’s just OLD, corroded, and rusted out!
  • #3 Old Wiring: Most all electronics come with a 3-prong insert, most old houses only have the 2-prong… Guess you’ll be switching them over.
  • #4 Wall paper: I’m not even going to comment, if you have taken wall paper done you know my pain
  • #5 Windows: Basically all old house NEED newer windows. Old windows are drafty and are not as efficient as today’s windows.

I really would love to find an older home that some one else took the time to update to the 20th century but the chances of that happening is slim. I think George and I are set on getting a newer style house so that we can move in and not have to do so much work to it.

Next problem: finding a newer style home in our price range 3+ rooms 2+ baths, that isn’t in “town” or a neighborhood. Preferably on 2+ acres of land, with a large garage, and close to the Ames area.

Is there a realtor fairy that can wave their wand and make this happen?


  1. I can't believe it took you that long! No fun!

    I hear ya on the wallpaper...yuck!

    Glad to see you've decided on a newer house. You will be so happy! Now...if that house would just jump out at you :)

  2. Yep! Totally feel your pain with old houses! Ours was built before 1849 and we are constantly fixing something. It is a conversation we have all the time... next house old or new?? We would love an old house that has already been fixed up!!! :) Oh and Chad ALWAYS states Mary's quotes. At least once or twice a day. ;) Good job on the toilet!


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