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Sarah Palin is the other whom Yoda spoke about.

calendar   Sunday - January 31, 2010

work work work

Home again from my Sunday maintenance job. Had to put in a new toilet seat today. That really isn’t a hard job, especially if you clean the thing first. And while no one has yet invented a strong enough bolt to secure the seats that doesn’t corrode, once you get the wrench on they usually come right off. A touch of Kroil or some WD-40 loosens up the nuts most of the time. If it was up to me, I’d design some sort of compressible nylon collar that fits in the holes in the bowl and keeps the bolts centered. Those holes are all made to a common size and spacing, so it should do the job. Then I’d put in a grade 8 stainless steel bolt with a nylock nut. Brass corrodes, plain steel rusts, nylon bolts snap and the threads pull off. And bad bolts give you wobbly seats. Wobbly seats are annoying, which always leads somebody to tighten the heck out of them, which bends the bolts or over stretches them so that they later snap. Let’s face it, most toilet seats aren’t made to actual commercial spec. They’re semi-disposable, which fits the price bracket of $15-$30. That’s a shame. I’d rather pay $50 and have one that lasts several decades.

But I sure would like to find a good brand that holds up. I’ve put in American Standards with both brass and chrome fittings. 3 years, tops, and they’re dead. I put in a top of the line Bemis, one of those Slo-Close models that take the lid down slowly. $45, and within 6 months the chrome was pitted all over. After a year the Slo-Close feature stopped working. But the worst part is the finish. This Bemis was a painted wood seat, and the paint used is not at all durable. I’m not expecting it to be impervious to toilet cleaner - which is usually a pretty strong acid - Ok, I am actually expecting that, because, come on, what do you think toilets get cleaned with anyway? No, the finish on this one didn’t even stand up to Windex. Within a year it developed blue stains all over the underside of the lid. Not what I’d call quality.

So today I went to Lowe’s and found an all plastic Kohler. $20. Solid plastic seats hold up to the cleaners much better than painted wood. This one has steel bolts with plastic nuts, so we’ll see how it lasts. I’m betting on a year. The downside to most all plastic seats is that the lid is usually too light to work as an actual seat. Sure, sure, they’re not designed that way you say, but they really ought to be. Let’s face it, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself using the toilet as a seat. Unless you’re rather well off, and have a bathroom big enough for an actual chair or two. Sure, I keep mine in there too, next to the table by fire place, right alongside the tame cheetah and the indoor waterfall. Yeah, right.

The one brand of seats that I have found that holds up is made by Church. They live up to their slogan “the best seat in the house”. All plastic, heavy weight, big solid hinge pin. Brass bolts I think, but pretty robust ones. It’s about as commercial weight as you the homeowner is going to find. That’s the 380TC for the closed front residential model with a lid, $50. Slo-Close, $55 in colors. The commercial, lidless open front model is the 9500, $40. You will not find either of these at your local Big Box home repair store. Home Depot carries both models, in colors, online only, for a huge mark-up. Get yours at PaulSupply for almost half HD’s price.

But when it’s Sunday afternoon, and you have to put on a new seat RIGHT NOW, you take what you can find. At the closest place that’s open. And hope for the best.



PS - to my not-really surprise, it turns out that most of the name brands of toilets and toilet seats are all actually the same company. Bemis owns Church, although they used to be owned by American Standard. Church appears to own Eljer and one or two other specialty brands.


Horry Clap, I saw a $942 Kohler toilet for sale at Lowe’s. Recession? What recession? And Kohler really isn’t the real top of the line in porcelain water chairs. There are high end brands that sell for 5 times that, and that’s not even including the electronics. Yes, electronic toilets. I am not kidding.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/31/2010 at 07:10 PM   
Filed Under: • work and the workplace •  
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