When DIY Doesn't Work... And My Updated Bathroom Look

I've previously written about my decision to make my bathrooms beach themed to take advantage of the sand colored tiles on the wall. But though I used lots of color and decoration to make my en suite bathroom beach themed, the bathroom for the main part of a house, literally just a toilet in one room (with the sink and bathtub in the room next door), was without color at all, just this sand colored tile, because there's no accessories that really need to be in that room, and not much room anyhow.

And the toilet seats, like all the appliances that came with the bathrooms, were stark white. Not fitting into the color scheme at all, but oh well.

So a few months ago the toilet seat in my bathroom broke. Just cracked right in half. I asked the builders of the house if there was a warranty on that, but there wasn't. They told me to replace it myself.

I looked on the internet about how to replace toilet seats and was told that it's super simple, you just unscrew the nuts from the bottom holding the lid in place, and screw the new toilet lid in place.

So I ordered a new toilet seat, one that would hopefully work with my color scheme, but apparently the order never went through and it never arrived.

So I'd been using a broken toilet seat all this while, but finally I remembered to order a new one. I And this time, found something that really matched the beach theme and color scheme, toilet seat with a picture of a starfish on the beach, and decided to just order two instead of one. It was relatively cheap, since I found it on a price comparison website, and the second one, while not necessary, would upgrade the look of the second boring bathroom, so it was worth it.

As soon as it arrived, I decided to attempt to install it.

Only it was a lot easier said than done.

I first tried in the smaller bathroom, but I had a lot of difficulty.

First there was the matter of reaching the bolts. 

So the bolts reach down from under the toilet seat and are connected to nuts that are under the toilet, but on these toilets, there's a part that hangs down on either side of the bold, so you have to have your hand directly underneath the toilet to reach it.

Oh, and did I mention that it's a small room?

Imagine a large woman trying to have access to the underside of the back of the toilet. To the left isn't an option because the tiled square covering the piping won't let your hands go directly underneath the toilet.

To the right is theoretically possible, only to have access you have to get down on the floor, but you need to get between the toilet and the wall... and you might be able to get yourself down there, wedged in really tightly, but then be stuck because your chest and the toilet and the wall aren't a good match.

But anyhow, while I was down there, I realized that I couldn't manage to have enough power at that angle to unscrew the nuts at the bottom of the bolt.

So I decided to try the other larger bathroom, pictured in the first picture. This one, because of the shower placement to the right of the toilet, actually gave me better access to the nuts and bolts, and I should be able to replace it, no?

I managed to unscrew the old toilet seat, and get the new toilet seat in place. I then put in the bolts and tried to attach the nuts . Only it was really hard. Because first there was this one piece that was meant to block the hole where the bolt comes in (lets call it piece A), then there was piece B which was an extender of some kind, then there was a washer, and then there was the nut.

Did I mention that because of the size of my body, the angle, and my arms, I could only get one arm at a time to reach the nuts?

And I'm not the most dexterous person in the world.

I tried. I really did. But needing to get 3 pieces onto the bolt in that specific order, and then screw the nut onto it, without really being able to see what you were doing (oh, did I mention I could put my hands there or my face there, but not at the same time?) was really hard. I'd get the pieces onto the bolt, then go to put the nut on, but to do that I kinda had to let go for a second, and then they'd all fall off. Or I'd try to pile them one on top of the other including the nut, but these things aren't really meant to be balancing on one another, and they'd tumble over and onto the floor. But eventually, I got one nut on, screwed in properly.

And then I had to do the other side. Which was even harder. Because I'm a righty. And because this meant I either had to do it from the left side, which was harder to reach because of the tiled box over the piping and the sink, or from the right side, which meant reaching through to the other side of the toilet from the further side.

And then I dropped something. And it fell in the crack between the tile and the piping underneath the toilet seat. And I couldn't get it out.

It was piece A.

I tried to see if I could manage without, but piece B just went straight through the hole in the toilet to the other side. But I realized that the old toilet seat had something similar to piece A, and I could just use that. No biggie.

Then I tried again with piece A version 2.0. And again. And again. And this time I dropped the washer into the hole. Not a big deal, I can get another washer, right? Only Mike finally took some of his things after my asking him to do that for nearly a year, and that included most of the building tools and relevant equipment. And the washers. I managed to find a washer that was big enough to go on the bolt but small enough that the nut wouldn't go right through it...

But I kept having trouble. Piece A 2.0 was even more difficult to balance on the stack than 1.0, and the washer was bigger too. I looked to see if we had sticky tac, thinking maybe that would help hold the pieces in place until I got the bolt on, but that wasn't where it used to be (Mike probably has it too), and my neighbor that I asked didn't have either. I attempted using aluminum foil to hold it in place, only that failed.

I finally managed to get the nut on the bolt, but the washer had fallen off. I said I'd try anyhow, and started screwing it on, but then piece 2 also fell off, because the hole was bigger than the nut... At this point I was just tired and exhausted and annoyed at how difficult "just screw these on" was, so I said forget it, I'll just screw the but into piece A. And I screwed and screwed and screwed until it wouldn't go anymore, because of piece A, but it still wasn't all the way. But then I couldn't take it off either, because it was stuck inside piece A.

Yea, I was screwed.

At this point, I said to myself that I was done. I tried to DIY it. I gave it my all. But my body just couldn't do it. And that's ok. I can do lots of things myself, but sometimes I need to turn to a professional.

So the next morning I called the handyman over, and asked him if he could do it. Maybe his body wouldn't fit there either? Maybe he wasn't dexterous enough?

But fortunately he managed to do it.

He ended up charging me $40 per seat, and was apologetic about how much he was charging, but then said "I'm sorry, but it was just really hard work."

"I know, I know," I told him. I tried doing it myself and couldn't, and know that this is definitely worth the money.

So now I have two new beautiful toilet seats, and my bathrooms are just that much more perfect.

The title of this post, when DIY doesn't work?

Sometimes you can't DIY. And sometimes you don't want to. And sometimes you pay a professional.

And that's fine.

No one can do everything.

And there's nothing wrong with paying someone to do something you don't want to or can't.

Have you ever tried to do something yourself, realized you can't, then outsourced it to a professional? What was it? Did you have any regrets?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. It looks gorgeous. Our main bathroom toilet is bright yellow. Periodically I "redecorate" by getting new shower curtains, which even I can hang.

  2. What a nightmare! Good for you for giving it a go. I wonder might a mirror on the floor have helped at all? It certainly looked a tough job with restricted access and fiddly parts.

  3. Yup, you are absolutely right. And your bathroom looks beautiful. You tried and it didn't work. There's no shame in that, and hiring a pro means you're helping someone earn a living.

    I have lots of things to outsource, but there are few handymen or roofers or anything else here. (Some guys just left, and others are victims of the opioid epidemic.) I just heard about a local couple who is trying to re-roof their home by themselves -- they can't find anyone to do it for them.

  4. Love the seats. So pretty. Next time get the kids involved. My Dad always had me be his junior handy girl for getting into tight spots (like a F-150 engine, age 9.) Or crawling under the house in the crawlspace to help snake some clogged drains at age 13. One of the children could have held everything in place for the right side while you were stacking. Perhaps even one of the boys could installed the left side. I've changed my fair share of toilet seats over the years. They are annoying.

    1. I agree. I wish my dad had taught me to do things (he only taught my brother) but we were always holding things for him while he worked.

  5. Your bathroom looks really cute. I agree about the DIY part not working sometime. Nevertheless, what matters is you tried. And how else will you learn if you don’t fail sometimes! https://www.ceraonline.org/

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