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January 30, 2017 “Plumbers and Other Folks of Varying Opinions”

It seemed like a milestone moment—like we were finally on the home stretch!  Little did we know the hours of consternation and deliberation that lay ahead!


The tile was laid—not perfectly, of course—but we were happy with the outcome.  The tile having been finished, it was time to move on to the plumbing installation. 


Late one evening I looked at the tile as it meets the toilet flange.  I realized the flange had not yet been screwed to the floor and decided to look at recommendations online as to the best modes of attachment to the floor.  That’s when the difficulty set in!


That search online took me to a host of discussions and YouTube videos on the topic.  The very first I encountered hit me square between the eyes!  The flange was to go on TOP of the tile, but I had cut the tile short—just to the edge of the tile.


The first response—well, self-castigation, of course.  How could I have been so dumb?  How could I have missed such an important aspect of tile-laying/plumbing installation protocol?  And more importantly still, what does one do to correct such a ghastly error?


I placed a call to Ken lamenting our grievous error.  Then came WEEKS of research, seeking out the best solution.  That’s when I realized that plumbers certainly do have varying opinions about the most basic of topics in the plumbing world! 


One YouTube video lauded the benefits of spacers to fill the gap should someone have made the grievous error I had made!  I was prepared to place the online order for the recommended spacers, but then Ken warned, “Well, sure he recommends spacers!  His business is spacers that he devised!”


With those words of caution, I searched other sources online, but I would not limit such an important quest to online only.  Instead I went to the local hardware, a source of help with a host of other DIY projects around our old house.  I felt vindicated about my laying the tile just to the edge of the flange when a clerk at the hardware—one who has given decades to the plumbing task—looked aghast at the report I had read about installing the flange ON TOP OF THE TILE.  Despite his incredulity, he showed me an array of spacers and flanges.  The flange already on the floor at my old house, of course, he considered to be inferior, so he sold me a new one.  He questioned the validity of EVER using a spacer—too much possibility for leaks.  The leaking tendency he saw to be dealt with best by appropriate wax rings.  He sold me a new one—a better model!  Then came the discussion between himself and other plumbers in the store about how many wax rings.  Some said two.  One said to install the horned wax ring and then to cut a plain wax ring in half and put it on top!  Of course, online sources said to never, never use two wax rings!


I became weary!  If folks can disagree so vehemently about something so simple as a toilet installation, how much more might we disagree on other topics—on matters of faith, on matters of life and death within our families!  


I was in at a stalemate.  How could I move forward?  With all the disagreement about toilet installation, how could I make a decision and begin the actual work?  I decided to weigh all the opinions one against the other.  But I decided that in the final analysis it’s a matter of the heart.  Reading, studying, listening—all very important, but I must move forward trusting that my heart is pointing me in the right direction.

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