Ack! My do-it-myself bidet is not a feature...
September 23, 2009 6:33 AM   Subscribe

[PlumbingFilter] Ack! The toilet sprang a leak and is now acting like an impromptu bidet when flushed! What is the proper way to fix this? (more inside)

So. The toilet has a small chip on the flat part, just behind the seat and infront of the tank - you know - the solid part that collects crud. Unfortunately, this chip seems to be right above where the water comes out - meaning that when you flush the toilet, a small stream (not all) shoots out of this hole and soaks the seat for about 10-15 seconds. This is a tiny hole - I mean a really tiny tiny hole.

I don't know how this happened, but I would assume that a combination of something being dropped from the cabinet above, and perhaps some rusting or wear and tear from below caused the porcelain to give out. Either way, this is inconvenient, as toilet water (at least from the clean end) spews forth every time it is flushed.

We rent, no landlord in their right mind would replace a toilet over this, and realistically I know that I'm going to need to fix this myself if I want it done (at least partially) right. Obviously, home depot doesn't cover this sort of thing in their plumbing books, so I'm at a bit of a loss...

I can think of a few ways to fix this, but I don't know what really is the best way, or if it is the sign of something else... I need suggestions, help advice and some more advanced know-how..

My thoughts sofar:
1. clear silicone caulk from the inside, then smoothed to fill the hole on both sides. The problem with this is I would assume the drying time might make living in a 1-bathroom appartment a little rough. Plus this seems like a temporary solution that will just cause problems later.

2. Some sort of plumber's putty or epoxy. Plumbers putty seems like it would disintegrate, but I don't know of an epoxy that wouldn't besides the caulk.

3. Some sort of porcelain glaze. This seems ideal, except - I'll just state that the toilet is yellow - making finding a color match a bit difficult, as well as previously expressed time and prevention concerns expressed above.

I have a window of opportunitity for 8 hours on saturday for drying time... so ideally any solution dries in that time frame or we'll be spending a lot of time in other people's bathrooms.
posted by Nanukthedog to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I'd use a 5 minute clear epoxy found in twin syringes ... If it was the Christmas long weekend or something and I couldn't get a new toilet. As it is whatever you patch the leak with is still just covering a ticking time bomb disguised as your toilet breaking into several pieces and flooding your bathroom.

Either call your landlord and have them replace the toilet or do it yourself. Cheap toilets can be had for less than a $100 new or for substantially less used.
posted by Mitheral at 6:43 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Toilets are not that expensive. I would have the landlord deal with this.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:49 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

A toothpick, wooden matchstick, or bamboo skewer forced in the hole will expand when wet and seal it until you can get a new toilet.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We rent, no landlord in their right mind would replace a toilet over this

Respectfully, this is exactly why a toilet would be replaced - he might argue that your negligence caused the damage, in which case maybe you might want to get a couple (at least three) bids on how much it will cost.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:02 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Any landlord in their right mind would have this fixed pronto. It's not a little scratch in your wall paint - it's more akin to a rock chip in your windshield. Might be ok with a quickie repair; the windshield/toilet might completely come apart tomorrow. Toilets are cheap, as mentioned above. It's a one-hour job for a competent plumber, two with driving time. Versus the possible mess when the toilet shatters and sends water and shit everywhere, any landlord would go for the terlit replacement.
posted by notsnot at 7:03 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Followup:
I definitely intend to notify the landlord, I didn't make that clear. From this - I will request a new toilet - although I am pretty sure that's unlikely (for now).

1. I'll use a toothpick or matchstick to block it tonight temporarily. Short term.
2. If 5-minute epoxy really dries in 5 minutes that sounds ideal in the medium term..
3. While I don't think that this is something that will cause the toilet to split into two pieces, it is definitely a possibility if there is a larger fracture internally, so I will make sure to bring that possibility up with the landlord (just incase it does). Replacement is clearly the long term solution.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:06 AM on September 23, 2009

Followup: I just spent part of last week busting up old toilets to make room in a dumpster. I'd throw a tank lid into the side of a bowl to no effect; then I'd toss in something innocuous like some bolts, and the toilet would collapse into dust. *Any* crack merits replacement, unfortunately.
posted by notsnot at 7:35 AM on September 23, 2009

Five minute epoxy starts thickening in about 4 minutes and is tack free in about 6. It takes a hour or so to get most of it's strength and the package will say 24 hours for full cure. You can speed that along mightily by heating the epoxy with a hair dryer after about 20 minutes. Don't over do it, set the hair dryer on low from several inches away.

Also even though you've got a window of eight hours on Saturday a toilet doesn't actually require flushing immediately after use; especially in the case of liquid waste. And if it isn't a pressure or jet assist flush toilet you can flush it manually with a bucket of water.
posted by Mitheral at 9:27 AM on September 23, 2009

I'd go with epoxy putty instead. Dry time is similar to the 5 minute epoxies (a recommended overnight cure time) but you don't have to chase a runny liquid around while it cures. Buy at Home Depot, mix like play-doh, squish it into the gap.

Please wear nitrile gloves, no matter which epoxy you choose. Epoxy hardeners are nasty stuff sometimes and are allergen sensitizers.
posted by alight at 5:54 PM on September 23, 2009

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