Bathroom Plumbing: Common How-To's

Beyond the kitchen, the bathroom is the next most complex room of the home, which means that there are a few things that can go wrong with various fixtures. There isn’t always time to wait for a plumber. The good news is, some fixes are easy enough to do yourself — without the expense or long wait time that comes with hiring a plumber. Here are a few common issues and what you can do to solve them yourself.

Fixing a Clogged Toilet

When fixing a clogged toilet, first make sure that the toilet doesn’t overflow as you’re working on the problem. To do this, shut off the valve on the supply line that feeds the toilet and make sure that the flapper inside the toilet tank stays closed as you work. 

To fix the clog, start with a plunger. Often, the pressure that repeated plunging applies to stuck debris in the soil pipe is enough to fix the clog. If the plunger doesn’t work, you’ll need to use an auger. These inexpensive tools are cables that are designed to be run down the toilet’s drain. Push the auger into the bowl’s drain and apply pressure, feeding as much of the cable into the drain as you can. Eventually, you’ll feel the auger come to a stop where the clog is located. Apply a bit more pressure to break through the clog. If you’re having trouble getting the auger through the toilet itself, then you may need to remove the toilet for better access to the drain pipe. Refer to the next section for instructions on installing a toilet.

How to Install a Toilet

If you are installing a new toilet, then the first step is to put the toilet together. For this, refer to the instructions that came with the toilet: Some toilets come pre-assembled. Others are one-piece with little assembly required. Some toilet models are two-piece — the tank and bowl are separate — which means you’ll need to do the assembly before you can install it. If you’re simply putting your old toilet back after fixing a clogged drain, then move to the next step. 

Once any assembly is completed, start with the flange that sits underneath the toilet itself. Scrape any remaining bits of the original wax ring and then place a new wax ring over the flange. You’ll also need two closet bolts, which are brass bolts that secure the base of the toilet to the floor — insert these into the keyhole slots in the flange. 

Next, pick up the toilet (carrying it by the bowl and not the tank so that you don’t accidentally crack the tank) and gently place it on the flange, making sure that the closet bolts are threaded through the holes in the base of the toilet itself. Once in place, you can now tighten the nuts on the closet bolts to secure the toilet to the floor. 

Re-attach the supply line and turn on the angle stop (the shut-off valve behind the toilet) or start the next how-to for instructions on replacing the supply line and angle stop.

Replacing a Supply Line and Angle Stop

Replacing the supply line and angle stop is a simple task. Start by locating a shut-off valve that will shut off water to the plumbing that feeds your bathroom (or shut off the water to the entire home at the main valve). Once this is done, use a crescent wrench to remove the original angle stop. Gently clean the threads on the exposed pipe to remove debris or bits of old Teflon tape. 

Apply a new layer of Teflon tape to the pipe’s threads. Then, screw the new angle stop in place. Once the valve is finger-tight, use a crescent wrench to gently tighten the angle stop the rest of the way. However, be careful not to over tighten, as this can crack the angle stop’s housing. When that is finished, the new supply line simply screws down to the exposed threads on top of the new angle stop. When you’ve installed the supply line to the angle stop, you can then attach it to the bottom of the toilet and you’ll be finished with the toilet installation!

What About Bathroom Sink Drains?

What if you have a clogged bathroom sink drain? The process to this repair is a little bit different. Start with the drain plug assembly, as the problem is often hair or other debris that has collected on the plug itself. Underneath the sink, you’ll find a rod that connects to an arm, which fits into the sink drain. This is the assembly that allows you to open and close the drain plug. Unfasten the spring clip that attaches the vertical rod to the horizontal arm, then unscrew the nut that holds the arm and ball valve inside the drain. Remove the arm and ball valve, and you’ll be able to lift the drain plug out of the drain. Remove any debris, then replace the parts in the reverse order in which you removed them.

Clogged P-Traps

Clogged P-traps are even easier to fix. For this job, place a bucket underneath the trap to catch water as you take the trap apart. Then, locate the two nuts on either side of the trap and loosen them to remove the trap itself. Once it comes free, you can use a toothbrush or a bottle brush to clean the clog before replacing the trap. 

As you can see, not all bathroom issues require a plumber. Follow these steps to correct some of the most common issues that you’ll face quickly and easily.

Vessel Sinks: Still A Hot Trend

If you think vessel sinks were a fad that has faded, think again. These unique bathroom sinks haven’t disappeared, even if their heyday seemed to be a decade ago. The vessel sink option has remained not only available, but desirable for many discerning designers. Several standout qualities are responsible for vessel sinks remaining popular among many designers and remodelers today. You’ll find them in model homes, renovated bathrooms, hotels, restaurants, upscale stores and many other types of commercial buildings. And you’ll find that they are available in a wide range of styles, from rustic to modern. They come in all kinds of looks, are easy to install and look great in any number of bathroom settings. 

So what’s great about bathroom sinks that are mounted vessel-style? How could you incorporate a vessel sink in your own bathroom update, and why would you want to? If you’re thinking about going with a vessel sink design, what do you need to know? 

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the biggest advantages a vessel sink provides:

1. A stylish look.

Rather than “hiding” the sink within the counter, a vessel sink celebrates it as a showpiece of the bathroom space. Putting the sink basin above the countertop makes it a real focal point of the bathroom. A vessel sink grabs attention, creates visual interest and makes a real statement in a space. So when you want to make a strong design statement with your sink choice, a vessel sink is a great way to go. 

2. Design flexibility.

There seem to be very few limits when it comes to styles for a vessel sink design. Shop around for traditional, modern, bold and classic looks — whatever appeals to you. While these sinks tend to feature oval or round shapes and they are beloved for their compactness and clean lines, vessel sinks do come in various colors, materials and styles. If you explore the market far enough, you’ll find porcelain, glass, bronze, bamboo, copper, stainless steel and more materials available. 

3. Versatile installation options.

A vessel sink is traditionally installed above the counter, but it may also be partially recessed if you prefer. This is one more way it adds possibilities to a bathroom design that you can customize for your tastes. 

4. Easy installation.

Another perk with vessel sinks is their convenient installation process. Because they are typically mounted on top of the counter, it’s easier to put them in place and easier to hook up the plumbing. 

5. Easy replacement.

Easy installation means easy replacement, should you ever want or need to swap your vessel sink with another style. This kind of flexibility is a great selling feature when you know you might want to change your mind later. 

6. Useful counter space.

A vessel sink leaves a little bit of counter space beneath its ridge that otherwise would just be part of a bigger bowl for a regular sink. This is one reason why it can be a great fit for a small bathroom space. 

7. Taller design.

Because vessel sinks are set higher than under-mounted options, they can be a great bonus for tall individuals who typically would have to lean down farther to use the sink. 

For all their benefits, vessel sinks may require a little extra care to clean. Because they’re higher, they also may not be optimal for households with shorter individuals or small kids. A vessel sink can also be more vulnerable to damage due to its exposed edge. Nonetheless, it has so many features and benefits, many homeowners make it their sink of choice. As you explore the marketplace of sinks and bathroom designs, consider incorporating a vessel sink. 

Finding the Right Vessel Sink for You

Are you interested in exploring vessel sink options for your bathroom design or remodel? If so, visit to find the Internet’s best factory-direct pricing on all things associated with bathroom design, from a vessel sink to a glass shower enclosure. Our online catalog sets you up with savings of up to 70 percent on a wide range of bathroom design products. On top of that, we offer a low-price guarantee. We’ll refund 110 percent of the difference if you find a lower price on a purchase somewhere else within 30 days.

So when you need vanities, faucets, sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, mirrors or accessories for your bathroom makeover, come to us. Explore our website at to find the best products for your home — and enjoy free shipping to all 48 contiguous states.

Guide To Cleaning A Porcelain Tub

Anyone who owns a porcelain tub would tell you that the worst part of having one is cleaning it. Whether you’re talking about a vintage claw-foot tub that’s made of cast iron and coated with porcelain or a new model for which you’ve been the only owner, porcelain tubs need regular upkeep to keep it looking good. When you find an old one, it’s not uncommon for it to have dingy, dirty marks from years of use. When you buy a new one, it won’t be long before you see some signs of damage. 

  • If you’ve got a porcelain tub that you want to clean, what should you do? 
  • What materials should be avoided, and which are the best for getting your tub clean? 
 To help answer these questions, here’s a look at the basics of porcelain tubs and what you need to know to care for them.

The Appeal and Frustration of Old Porcelain Tubs

If you’re the kind of person who loves vintage charm, you probably love porcelain tubs. Made of cast iron and covered with porcelain enamel, porcelain tubs are beautiful and luxurious. What’s more, they’re designed to be durable. However, over enough time and use, they tend to chip, crack and dull. In fact, if you use the wrong products on the tub, you can wind up damaging it even faster. This is why understanding the proper materials and methods for cleaning is so important.

Materials to Avoid

When it comes to porcelain enamel, abrasive cleaners and materials can ding or chip the surface, making it even worse through the cleaning process. To avoid increased damage, here are a few materials to avoid: 

  • Scouring powder 
  • White vinegar 
  • Steel wool

Materials to Gather

You know what materials to avoid, but what materials should you use? When you buy or rent a home or otherwise inherit an old porcelain tub, you need a few key materials to take care of it properly. About once a month you will need to gather the following materials to deep-clean your tub: 

  • Warm water 
  • A bucket 
  • ¼ cup ammonia 
  • ¼ cup baking soda 
  • A cloth or non-abrasive nylon sponge for scrubbing 
  • For tough stains: Salt and the juice of half a lemon

How to Deep-Clean the Tub

Fill a bucket with warm water and add ammonia and baking soda to the liquid. Soak a cloth or sponge in the mixture and use it to scrub the tub — focusing especially on stained spots. Keep dipping the sponge, scrubbing and repeating until the tub is clean. Afterward, rinse it well with warm water and use a clean rag to wipe the tub clean.

What to Do About Tough Stains

If you have any tough-to-remove stains on the tub, cover them with salt and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top. Or, you can try two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide set on a stain for about 30 minutes. Use a clean cloth or sponge to scrub the salt mixture into the stain and remove it. If this doesn’t work, leave the salt mixture on the stain for about an hour and retry with a little more lemon juice.

Strategy for Weekly Upkeep

Once your bathtub is sufficiently cleaned, all you need to do is gently clean it on a regular basis to keep it in good shape. Ideally, you’ll want to give it a scrub once a week or so. Here’s what to do: 

  • Mix a gallon of hot water with a few tablespoons of dishwashing soap. 
  • Use a cloth or sponge to scrub the tub’s entire surface. 
  • Rinse well and repeat a week later. You may also want to polish your tub with a little lemon essential oil, rubbed all over with a soft cloth.

What to Do About Stubborn Stains That Won’t Clean

If proper cleaning and upkeep do not resolve your bathtub’s stains and damage, another option is to call in professional help. Through a re-glazing service, you may be able to see your cast-iron fixture looking like new again.

Where to Find a Quality Bathtub

If you’re in the market for a new porcelain bathtub or other bathroom fixture, Modern Bathroom is your online resource. We’re proud to offer factory-direct prices that save customers up to 70 percent off retail costs on bathroom products of all kinds. What’s more, we offer free shipping and a low-price guarantee. If you buy from us, we’ll refund 110 percent of the difference when you find a lower price on that product anywhere else within 30 days. Shop our website to learn more!

Bathroom Remodeling Myths

There are many myths circulating about bathroom remodeling — such as: these endeavors are massively costly but despite that cost, the remodel itself adds no value to the home. Further, the only reason to remodel a bathroom is to make it more luxurious.

Bathroom remodels, according to these myths, add no functionality and offer no ways to save money. Read on, and you’ll soon see that none of these myths are true!

Myth No. 1: Bathroom Remodels Add No Value to a Home

One of the biggest misconceptions about bathroom remodeling is that remodels add no value to a home. While it is true that you are unlikely to recoup the entire cost of a bathroom remodel, at least a large-scale remodel, it is not true that you will end up losing money in the long run. Think of it this way: A bathroom that has not been recently remodeled only serves to drag down a home’s value, often drastically, depending on the condition of the bathroom. This is because when prospective buyers see the bathroom, it not only colors their impression of the home but it also makes them think about how much money they will need to spend on updates after purchasing the home. 

In that sense, it is better to get the remodeling done to preserve the value of your home as a whole. As far as cost recoupment goes,’s 2017 “Cost Versus Value Report” shows that nationwide, homeowners were spending an average of $18,000 on a bathroom remodel and recouping an average of $12,000 on the remodel during the sale of the home. 

Keep in mind that this cost is for a large-scale remodel that includes replacing walls and moving fixtures. On top of that, it does not factor in money saved on green upgrades and smart features. All in all, bathroom remodels will significantly increase the value of your home. Plus, you’ll enjoy a cleaner, fresher, more useful space throughout your time in the home.

Myth No. 2: The Major Benefit Is the Luxury of the Upgrade

The idea that a bathroom remodel adds no functionality is another myth that homeowners should ignore. It is true that a bathroom remodel will increase the luxury of the bathroom, but there are many more reasons than that to consider an upgrade. 
  • If you have hairline fractures in the tub, sink or toilet, then upgrades will certainly help you prevent costly leaks and damage down the road. 
  • Remodeling is your chance to add organizational options such as shelving or additional cabinetry.
  • Lighting can be moved around or increased. If you find yourself styling hair or doing makeup in some other, brighter part of the home, then you’ll appreciate the ability to confine these tasks to the bathroom where they belong. 
  • There are money-saving options to be had. Increase energy efficiency with new light fixtures and save money on the water bill with low-flow faucets and a water-saving toilet.

Myth No. 3: Remodeling Does Not Help You Save Money or Increase Your Home’s Eco-Friendliness

Remodeling within your bathroom can absolutely help you cut utility bills and make the bathroom more environmentally friendly. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simply replacing the top five most often used fixtures or lightbulbs within your home can cut the electric bill by $75 per year or more. Multiply that across all of the lightbulbs and fixtures in your bathroom — or across the entire home — and you’ll see that those savings are substantial. 

Even more importantly, the bathroom is responsible for at least half the water usage in the average home. 

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average bathroom faucet uses 2.2 gallons per minute. While faucets marked with the WaterSense label flow at a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute. Replace faucets to save 30 percent on water usage in the bathroom sink and shower. 
  • WaterSense faucets not only save gallons per minute but they save on water heating costs, as well. The fewer hot water gallons per minute used, the less energy is used to heat the water.
  • Leaky toilets often go unnoticed but can go through up to 200 gallons of water each day. Replace older toilets to prevent such leaks.
  • Further, think about replacing the toilet with a new high-efficiency model. Even if your current fixture does not leak, a high efficiency toilet can save you 4,000 gallons per year — enough to pay for the cost of the upgrade quickly.

Myth No. 4: Remodeling Makes Your Bathroom Larger

It is a major misnomer that bathroom remodeling increases the size of the bathroom. The only way to increase a bathroom’s size is to remove walls and expand into other rooms. If you don’t plan on doing this, then the size of your bathroom will remain unchanged.That doesn’t mean you can’t make the bathroom feel larger, however. Plan the remodel well, adding plenty of new organizational options and storage spaces, and the bathroom will operate more efficiently with less clutter, which in turn helps the bathroom feel more expansive. Additionally, bright lighting and light-colored finishes will give the room a fresh, airy look — another factor that helps enhance the sense of space.

Myth No. 5: Bathroom Remodels Are Expensive

On average, bathroom remodeling costs $18,000. That fact lends credence to the idea that bathroom remodels are costly. Bathroom remodeling does not have to come with a huge price tag. It all depends on the scale of the project, the materials selected and the amount of work that you are prepared to do yourself. 

A small-scale bathroom remodel, for example, could be as simple as new grout; a coat of paint; and fresh caulk around the sink, tub and toilet, just to freshen the room. This is a project that can be completed by the homeowner over the course of a weekend for $200 or less. The average cost to install a new toilet is between $360 and $500 (one more task that isn’t all that expensive compared to the value and cost savings that you will reap from the project). 

Rather than allowing contractors to purchase the items you need at whatever cost their suppliers offer, shop Modern Bathroom to find the fixtures you want at an affordable price. This is another way you can keep costs low. 

There are many myths surrounding bathroom remodeling but these five are the most prominent — and the most likely to make you hesitate when you consider undertaking this project. Remember, they simply aren’t true. Don’t let them get in the way of your remodel!

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