Is this crack a sign that my toilet is about to crack?
July 17, 2007 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Is my toilet about to crack into two pieces?

Please help me predict the future (and avoid a flood). While examining the corroding tank bolts in my toilet, I found this hairline crack. Is this a sign of an upcoming disaster, or can toilets live happily for years and years with cracks like this? I've never noticed the crack before, but I've never looked that closely, either. The toilet is from the 1970s.
posted by The corpse in the library to Home & Garden (23 answers total)
Response by poster: Ooph. Please ignore that weird title -- it's an editing mistake.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:40 PM on July 17, 2007

Maybe, maybe not. But you really should get a new toilet.
posted by bigmusic at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2007

Best answer: I know what you're thinking. "Will it last six years or only five weeks?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I can't really give you the answer. But being as this is a toilet, the most useful fixture in the house, and would spew water all over the place once it goes, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
posted by Floydd at 1:05 PM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

I noticed a similar crack in a toilet shortly after I moved into a new apt. Three days later, I woke up to neighbours from downstairs banging on my door b/c it had fully cracked and had flooded my bathroom and was leaking throught the floor into their ceiling.

It would get it replaced ASAP.
posted by modernnomad at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2007

*I* would, even. Sorry.
posted by modernnomad at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2007

Best answer: You can get a toilet-in-a-box kit for about $100. It's a pretty straightforward process, just a bit heavy so have a second set of hands to help. Extracting water from various bits of your house will cost more than that and is not a straightforward process.

In fact, if you have to wait until the weekend or whatever to do the replacement, I would shut off the water at the supply behind the toilet when it's not in use. That way if it goes (and now that it knows that you know it's there, it could be any second now) you've got one tank full of water on the loose rather than many many gallons.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2007

New toliet: $150.
Reassurance that you won't come home to a bathroom awash in unmentionable filth: priceless.

Plus, new toilets are much more water efficient and have nice features like anti-slam lids.
posted by cosmicbandito at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2007

I have had two toilets fail after cracking similar to that in your picture. You can get a new toilet for $50 if you aren't picky about brand names. If this is your first toilet installation it will take a couple hours. It isn't that hard, though.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2007

Joining the chorus.
Replace it. Better safe than sorry. Replacing a toilet is easy work (unless you have some truly frozen closet bolts...then it gets "fun")
posted by Thorzdad at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2007

Best answer: Get a second wax ring and a set of flange bolts while you're at the home improvement store. They're only a few bucks and if you screw up putting it down you don't want to go 'But I'll have to go back to the store....' and not pull it up and do it over again - It's important that the thing seats right.
posted by Orb2069 at 2:11 PM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster: OK, so I will have the affair replace it. Thank you, chorus.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

Hopefully you'll start saving water right away with a modern toilet. Almost all of them are more water efficient than they were 30 years ago. It's a good investment even if it weren't about to break.
posted by scarabic at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster: Sneaking in a second question: if anyone has recommendations for a specific toilets, I'd appreciate hearing them -- Consumer Reports' reviews are a few years old.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:26 PM on July 17, 2007

Crane toilets made in the 70's have a known history of bursting - it happened in my SO's condo on a weekend she was away. and flooded the place. Insurance paid for the cleanup and replacement. You might inquire whether your insurance might want to be proactive and replace the toilet for you.
posted by Neiltupper at 2:36 PM on July 17, 2007

I covet my friend's Caroma Caravelle, which has a selectable flush.
posted by jamaro at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2007

Definitely second getting the extra wax ring.

For one difficult toilet (not a proper flange) I ended up getting one of those waxless toilet junction kits after going through a couple of rings. They more expensive, but much more forgiving.
posted by Good Brain at 3:09 PM on July 17, 2007

jamaro-- So... are the buttons labelled? Or do guests stare at it confusedly until they randomly choose one to push, praying that it's the flush? (And if they are labelled, are they with cute little icons?)
posted by doubtful_guest at 3:10 PM on July 17, 2007

I covet my friend's Caroma Caravelle, which has a selectable flush.

Yeah, we had them when we lived in Australia many years ago. I don't know why the half/full flush style hasn't become common in the States. Instead we get efficient toilets that don't always flush the number two requiring multiple flushes negating water savings. At least that's a common complaint I've heard about new toilets within the last few years.
posted by 6550 at 3:19 PM on July 17, 2007

Generally there is a smaller button for the yeller and a larger for the brown. It's pretty intuitive.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:20 PM on July 17, 2007

doubtful_guest, the ones I've seen had two buttons, one with a filled in circle and one with a half filled in circle. It's pretty easy to figure them out. You can sort of see it in some of the pics on jamaro's page.
posted by 6550 at 3:21 PM on July 17, 2007

Dual flush toilets; my god, my vistas have been broadened tonight!
posted by MadamM at 7:36 PM on July 17, 2007

Regarding recommended models -- most current low-flow toilets should do a decent job. If you're a hyper-researcher like me, or if you'd just enjoy snickering at photos of "test media", this 2005 toilet study [PDF] will give you plenty of models to consider -- and a few to avoid.

Seattle-area plumber Terry Love's suggestions (and forum!) were quite helpful when I went through this myself, though his recos seem to push performance somewhat more than affordability, perhaps because he also sells them.

Do check to see if your municipality's waterworks has a toilet-replacement program in place... here in Austin, I could have gotten a (basic model) toilet for free if I'd been willing to go through their paperwork/inspection process.
posted by skyboy at 8:24 PM on July 17, 2007

I had to replace a toilet for this same reason. I did some research to find a good, powerful-flush toilet that was affordable, and ended up with a Kohler Cimarron Complete Solution Toilet kit. The Comfort Height version of this toilet did very well in the study cited above. It was easy to install - I removed the old toilet and installed the new one all by myself. It's a much better toilet than the other toilets in my house (builder-installed, frequently clogged).
posted by candyland at 9:32 PM on July 17, 2007

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