Category Archives for "Interior Home Improvement"

House Smells Musty After Rain: Causes And Solutions

Different houses often have different smells which reflect the nature and lifestyle of their occupant. Sometime, environmental factors such as the weather could exacerbate the issue and make the house atmosphere become unbearable. That is why your house could emit unpleasant odors during season change or after heavy rain.

In the usual case, there are many things that could make your house smells musty after rains along with a variety of solutions. If you are interested, this article would introduce you to several ways to deal with the odor in short term and long term. There is also a detailed guide on how to get rid of other odors as well in case you run into them in the future.

What are the causes of the musty odor?

For most the time, if you don’t clean your house regularly and thoroughly, there would be a musty odor in the house atmosphere. Old furniture and aged construction material are also prime suspects behind that detestable stench in your lovely home. At first, the odor could be limited to a section but if you fail to come up with a solution, it would envelop the house.

Here are some of the most common culprits.

Mold and mildew

Places that are constantly exposed to high humidity such pipes, roofs and alike tend to experience a moisture built up over the years. Combine with low light and stagnant air, these locations are excellent breeding grounds for mold and mildew. In many cases, the funguses could grow in a completely undetectable manner because they are shielded by the house walls.

Long after the funguses are eliminated, the odor could still linger in the atmosphere because it has penetrated the house curtains, carpets, etc.

HVAC system

As time goes by, the efficiency of the house HVAC system would slowly but surely drop. After a number of years, these arrangements could become dusty, rusty and smelly.  Hence, the HVAC ductwork could circulate a musty odor around the house interior whenever you turn on the system.

Cigarette and Cigar

Drywalls often absorb odors that they are subjected to on a day to day basis which included the smoke of cigarette and cigar. So if the house owner is a smoker, the musty odor could be retained and emitted by the house walls for years. In the usual case, smoked absorbed walls would have noticeable brown or yellow nicotine stains on them

Foods and drinks

If you don’t properly clean up spilled foods and drinks, they are going to resurface later on in the form of a nasty smell. Leftover snacks and fermented beverages could also generate a musty odor in the case you don’t store them correctly. Similar to the cigarette and cigar smoke, the kitchen walls would soak up cooking smoke and release an unpleasant smell into the atmosphere.

How to get rid of the musty smell?    

​​​​​​​​Temporary methods

An air freshener is able to mask the musty odor of the house when used due to its strong odor.  Open up all the windows and doors could provide a short-term boost to the house ventilation and push out the musty odor. However, these methods only work temporarily, it’s advised that you attempt to eliminate the source of the odor as soon as possible.

Permanent methods

Take care of moisture built up

Repair leaky pipe and cracked roof in order to avoid moisture built up, it’s often enough to prevent the growth of fungus. It’s also wise to seal exposed dirt floor using concrete so as to eliminate musty or earthy odor in hot humid weather. You could attempt to pour concrete over the area on your own or you could hire a contractor to do it for you.

Clean the air duct and update the HVAC system

During normal operation, duct and alike could accumulate inside the air duct and decrease the system efficiency as much as 40 percent in some case.  The built up also permit the growth of microbial which could lead to the circulation of the musty odor. To clean the air duct, you must have suitable equipment and you should only do it when there is no in the house.

To reduce the number of time you have to clean the air duct, you should change the filter regularly and perform maintenance periodically. If the cleaning isn’t enough to solve your odor issue, the smell probably embedded itself in the component of the HVAC system. In that case, you have to consider replacing the entire HVAC system in order to get rid of the musty odor for good.

Swap out the carpet and curtain

Take a quick sniff of the fabric in order to decide whether the musty odor is coming from these items. Unless you just replace them recently, swap out the carpet and curtain if you encounter a foul stench on them. The carpet comes in to contact with people shoes regularly so make sure that you wash it regularly.

Inspect places with high humidity

Fungus often growth where it’s wet and damp so take a good look at places with high humidity such as the bathroom. In the case you spot mold and mildew, deal with them using an acidic compound like vinegar and so on. That should be enough to eliminate the musty odor once and for all, the smell would fade away from existence in no time.


Dehumidifier and ionizer are excellent ways to keep the house atmosphere acceptable and free of moisture at any given time. You could also place a bowl of active charcoal at strategic locations across the house to absorb unpleasant smells and sanitize the airs. Finally, it’s recommended to set up a logical cleaning scheme to make sure the odor would never visit your lovely house again.

The difference between musty and moldy odor

While the cause of the musty and moldy odor could be the same in some cases, they are not similar to each other.  Moldy odor tends to be the stronger one of the two and it indicates that without a timing response, the fungus could cause extensive structural damage. On the other hand, musty odor only means that something is wrong and that you should take a look around the house.

 Other common odor issues that you could run into.

House smells like urine after rain

In most of the cause, this is caused by a leak in the house facilities or an encapsulated crawl space. In certain situation, pet pee could get soak up by hardwood and the pee would be squeezed out when there is a rise in humidity. Therefore, you have to deal with the leakage or tear the pee soaked hardwood away to remove the urine smell.

House smells like rotten eggs when it rains

This could be caused by a loose or punctured toilet gas ring around which leak methane gas into your house. All it takes is a pin size gap or crack for the methane gas to flow into the house unopposed. Replace the ring and see if it’s enough to solve your odor issues.

Septic tank smells when it rains

After a heavy downpour, the air becomes heavy that makes it hard for the methane gas to dissipate through the vent. To solve it, run water through the house sink, bathroom, drain and shower everyone in a while. While you are at it, pour down a couple of quarts of treatment compound such as CCLS as well.

House smells like sewage after rain

A punctured sewer pipe could be the cause of the nasty smell you are experiencing. It contaminated the soil right below the house and when the rainwater saturates the ground, the smell would resurface. The best solution is here is to wait for the ground to dry and then pour a couple gallon of bleach around the house.

Basement smells like sewer when it rains

You most likely have a water trap somewhere that has dried out due to the lack of use. When the water evaporates, it allows sewer gas to pass through the drain into the room.  Dumping a few gallons of water into the drain should fix your problem.

Another potential culprit would be the cleanout plug inside the drain, remove the drain cover and see if there is a plug there.  If the plug is missing, the sewer gas could bypass the water trap go straight into the room through here. Grab a replacement plug from the local hardware store, install it and you should be able to prevent further infiltration of sewer gas.

Yard smells like sewage after rain

There are two possible causes: clogged drain field and leaky sewer pipes.  These make the septic tank sewage to come up through the ground and release horrible smell in the process. In most of the case, you should contact a professional septic company and let them take over the repair. It’s unwise to attempt to deal with the situation on your own when you are inexperienced.

How To Easily Fix Your Washing Machine For Free

Have you planned for a very critical moment in your life late at night, but are currently in a panic only because your washing machine suddenly refuses to do it’s job properly just when you need it the most? Have you ever had that one chance to help out a friend who has, only to realize that you have no idea how to? To make matters worse, maybe you do have complete knowledge of how to, but you think you do not have the resources. On a lighter note, maybe you’ve been using your machine for quite some time now and simply want it to run the way it did brand new. What if I told you that you actually have everything you need to fix almost all your much-loved and much-needed machine’s problems for little to no cost and effort at all?

A Washing Machine That Refuses To Run

Most people jump to the conclusion that a machine that does not wash is a broken machine and that it needs to be serviced by a professional. Fortunately, the cause of the problem is usually not as serious as it seems.

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    For safety, most washing machines nowadays come with a sensor that detects if the lid is properly sealed. Make sure that there is nothing preventing the lid from resting where it is meant to.
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    Most machines will refuse to work without water to prevent unnecessary damage to itself and to your clothes. Remove and clean your water supply making sure that there is no blockage in the hoses.
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    Make sure your machine is filled to at least the minimum level.Some machines refuse to start when overloaded or if there is something preventing the motor from spinning. Try decreasing the amount of clothes and check if there is anything stuck within the small gaps between the rotor and the body of the machine.
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    Double check if the machine was plugged properly. If it was, follow the power cable from the plug all the way to the machine and see if there is any damage. If there are no signs of damage, try plugging the machine into to a different power outlet and make sure that no fuses and circuit breakers in your house’s power supply have been tripped.
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    For those with a few extra tools, here’s a video showing more ways you can troubleshoot your machine.
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    As a bonus, here’s a video of how a washing machine was repaired by cleaning a tube used to measure pressure.

A Washing Machine That Shakes Too Much

Aside from shortening your machine’s lifespan, excessive vibrations may cause serious damage that could prevent your machine from operating efficiently.

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    The most common cause of this is an unbalanced load. Your machine is capable of spinning your clothes at nearly 2000 rotations per minute. This means that a slight imbalance in the weight distribution of your clothes may cause very big vibrations. Try rearranging your clothes or decreasing the load for your machine.
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    Almost all machines come with locking mechanisms that secure them firmly on the ground. Make sure that all locks are engaged correctly.
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    Adding a little additional weight on top of your machine may stabilize it further, however, be very careful and make sure that you are not setting up a safety hazard for yourself and the people around you.
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    Here is a video which shows how you could level your washing machine to stabilize it even further.

A Washing Machine That Refuses To Drain

You set your usual washing machine cycle, go out to grab a coffee while planning your next appointment. After an hour of trying to maximize every minute of your time, you come back home and are greeted with a machine that is stuck mid-cycle.

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    Carefully take apart your machine’s drain pipe and inspect it for any blockage. Clean and flush it out even if there is no visible blockage. Sometimes a slight difference in pressure is all it takes to halt an entire wash cycle.
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    If possible, check the inside of your machine’s drum for any drains blocked by little objects such as plastics, coins and dirt.
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    Make sure you used the proper amounts of detergent. Too much can cause blockage within the machine’s plumbing.
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    Depending on your machine, do not position your drain pipe too high. Some machines do not pump water out while draining and simply rely on the pressure of the water itself and gravity. Placing your drain pipe too high may prevent the water from draining properly.
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    If you’ve got tools such as a multi-meter and wanted to diagnose your machine’s problem even further, here’s a video showing additional steps you may take.

A Washing Machine That Leaks

If left unattended, a leaking washing machine could lead to serious accidents. Make sure that all power cables within the area are secure even after adjacent portions of the floor are submerged in water.

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    Do not fill your machine with too much water. Most machines are designed to automatically drain when you exceed the maximum water level.
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    Make sure that your machine is not shaking more than it is supposed to. Excessive movement could render your machine unstable and cause water to leak.Make sure that all hoses are attached correctly.
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    Disconnect water supply hose and check if your faucet is leaking water even when its valve is shut tight.
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    Check the inside of your washing machine’s drum for any damage. As a temporary fix, place waterproofing tape over small cracks or dents.
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    Here is a video which shows how to pinpoint the source of your machine’s leak.

A Washing Machine That Makes Too Much Noise

Abnormal noises should always be given immediate attention because although it may not always mean there is a problem, it could eventually lead to major damage.

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    Check if you have completely emptied all pockets and if there are any solid objects that could cause noise while the machine is operating.Inspect your machine’s drum for any stuck objects.
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    Check if the lid of your machine is properly shut.
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    Make sure your machine is not shaking more than it is meant to.Inspect the immediate surrounding area of your machine. Be sure that your machine does not make contact with anything while operating.
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    Check if the drum or rotor of your machine is still secured tightly.Loose or shaky components could also cause unnecessary noise. Check for missing screws and bolts.
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    If these don’t solve your problem, here is a video which shows some uncommon causes for excessive noise.

A Washing Machine That Doesn’t Dispense Detergent Properly

Observe the wash cycle of your machine from time to time as old or dirty machines might not be dispensing detergent properly. The wash cycle may continue, but your clothes will not be cleaned efficiently.

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    Clean your machine regularly. Dirty machines will always have a shorter lifespan than machines that are always well-maintained.
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    Do not overfill your machines detergent dispenser.Make sure that you are using the right detergent for your machine.
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    Inspect if there is anything blocking the detergent dispenser.
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    There could also be damage in the detergent holder assembly. Here is a video that shows how a broken detergent assembly fails to dispense correctly.

A Machine That Smells Bad

Unpleasant smell could indicate contamination or simply bad maintenance.

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    Rinse off any substance from your clothes that has an unpleasant smell such as vomit or chemicals before placing them in your machine.
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    Clean your machine thoroughly.
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    Inspect both the interior and exterior of your machine for mold or corrosion.
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    Rust could indicate that your machine is damaged. Apply rust removers to affected areas.
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    Leave bleach on areas with growth for a day.
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    Check if the smell is coming from your laundry room’s drain.
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    Here is a video which shows a very effective way to clean your washing machine and prevent it from accumulating unpleasant odors.

Simple Recipes: How to Make Homemade Roach Killer

Simple Recipes: How to Make Homemade Roach Killer

Having cockroaches around is a sign that you have sanitation problem. Cockroaches crawl in dirtiest places you can ever imagine. Given this disreputable fact, imagine cockroaches crawling on your kitchen and over your utensils and food items. That is totally horrible!

Somehow it is tough to absolutely get rid of roaches, all the more if your house has been around for many years. But there are many ways you can get rid of these pests and in this article, we shall explore some of these homemade roach killer options.

You can get rid of an infestation.

Homemade Roach Killer: Effective and Super Easy to Make

To find an effective roach insecticide can be challenging. For household owners who encountered such a problem can attest to this. It is almost impossible to completely eliminate them. Hiring the services of a professional exterminator can cost you a good sum of money. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. There are several homemade roach killers which are proven to work really well. They are not only cheap but also safe to use. The elements needed are easy to find.

Baking Soda Roach Killing Ball Baits

Our goal here is to make cockroach baits. This option is not complex mainly because all the ingredients are very common. Baking soda can be found in almost every household because of its many uses. It may seem hard to believe but the baking soda you use for baking and cleaning is also a potent ingredient for killing roaches!

You may be wondering how baking soda could kill roaches. Well, there is a pretty simple explanation for that. Have you ever tried pouring baking soda into a cup of water? The natural reaction of baking soda and water is a bubbling effect. When the roach eats a piece of the baking soda ball bait that you made and then the roach drinks water what happens inside the roach stomach is the bubbling effect which causes the roach' stomach to burst and die.Follow these simple steps

  1. Gather the ingredients.
    • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
    • ½ tablespoon of confectioner sugar, this is what attracts roaches to eat the ball bait
    • 2 tablespoons water, this will glue the baking soda and sugar together.
  2. Get a container enough for your mixture. Set aside.
  3. Get another container for the baking soda and confectioner sugar. Mix it well.
  4. Pour the mixture into the bowl with water. Do this in small portions to avoid lumps. Mix it well then knead between fingers.
  5. Prepare a bond paper. When you have achieved a certain consistency with the mixture, roll mixture into tiny balls with fingers. Place balls on the bond paper to dry.
  6. Put the ball baits in places where you suspect roaches frequent and repeat this for a week or until such time you don’t see any roaches anymore.

Boric Acid Roach Killing Paste

Boric acid contains Boron and is considered as a pesticide. Given this fact, it is still important to be cautious when you opt for this roach killer recipe option especially when you have kids or even pets. On the brighter side, while this is classified as a pesticide, it doesn’t carry as much risk as those roach killer formulas found in stores.

Boric Acid

In making the paste you will need the following:3 teaspoon boric acid½ teaspoon used cooking oil, preferably with food residues from frying as this will attract roaches3 teaspoons waterMix the ingredients into a small container until the mixture is smooth.Once you have achieved the smoothness of the paste, you can then apply this in areas where you usually see cockroaches.You may have to spray water on the paste once a day to keep it moist and attractive to roaches.

Roaches become dehydrated when they are able to eat some of the paste which causes their death.

Spice Roach Spray killer

A powdered spice like garlic, onion and cayenne pepper are great ingredients for a roach spray killer. Natural chemicals in these spices make them natural repellents. You add any of these to dish soap mixture will make a perfect deterrent from roaches. When the roach is sprayed with the solution, it results to clogging of pores that disable the roach to breathe. So it is only a matter of time that it dies.

Dish SoapPrepare the things you will be needing:Spray bottle1 tablespoon of dish soap1 cup of water½ teaspoon of powdered spicePour the cup of water into the spray bottle.Add the teaspoon of liquid soap and shake to mix the solution well.Add the powdered spice and shake again. You now have a roach spray killer. Spray it on every roach you see.

What are other tested solutions to stop roach infestation?

Common herbs you have in your kitchen. Yes, you read it right and some of these are catnip, bay, and mint leaves. All you need to do is chop the leaves to release the leaves’ natural moisture and scent. Put it in areas where cockroaches hang out. They will go away because they hate the smell of the herb.Mouthwash. If your mouthwash has more mint content, the better. Roaches are not fond of mint odor so if you mix this with water and detergent, you instantly have a roach repellent spray.Check this video showing cucumber as a remedy in ridding of roaches.

​Check this video showing cucumber as a remedy in ridding of roaches.

Takeaway Tips:You may be amazed by the many options of homemade roach killer that were presented to you. However, you can actually avoid going through the tedious process of getting rid of roaches. The following discussion isn’t something new but this is certainly a good reminder to all of us.

Clean your home with clutter and get organized

Do you know that roaches have a thing for papers? Yes, they tend to be attracted to the smell of paper. Now that you know this fact, it is best to get rid of unwanted papers in your house. These could be old newspapers, paper bags, cardboard boxes and many others. If you do not see yourself using such items in the near future, dispose of them for recycling.

Eliminate the things that keep roaches alive

Food: Roaches, as little as they are, love to eat. So, it is just logical to keep all food items from them. You can do this by clearing your kitchen counters of any food items. If you insist, then utilize containers that can be tightly closed. Another way they can’t find food is making sure food containers are washed before putting them into your recycling can so they are free of food residues. Apart from that, you will just have to be religious in emptying your trash.

Shelter: Cockroaches are attracted to water. Be sure to fix any leaking pipes and drains. Ensure that damp areas are immediately dried especially in dark places in your house.

Cockroaches should not have a place in our household. They can contaminate our food and surfaces in our house. They also carry diseases and allergy causing agents. We do not want to suffer just because of cockroaches. If you have roaches try any of the homemade roach killer options above and you can forever say “Goodbye roaches!”

2 Ways on How to Correct Toilet Flange That Is Too High

If there is a part of our house that we want to be looking good and functioning well, it would be our bathroom especially the toilet! It is an important place in every household that we cannot afford at any one time for it to be dysfunctional or else it will create so much discomfort to everyone.

Over time our restrooms call for an overhaul. Most often when renovating, we want to change almost everything, especially toilet bowls. In toilet bowl replacement, there are usually problems that we can encounter in the process and it could either be “toilet flange too low” or “toilet flange too high.” In this article, we shall discuss the latter.

What is it about toilet flange? Do we really need it?

Before we even go further with any discussion, it is best that we know what a toilet flange exactly is. A toilet flange is a device that joins your toilet bowl into the septic tank pipe. They come in various materials such as PVC or cast iron. The flange is bolted to the floor in order to secure the toilet bowl. With the flange is a gasket used to ensure that you will not have a leaky toilet.

Do you know that if there is no such thing as a toilet flange you will not be enjoying an indoor toilet? The flange essentially functions as a funnel device that channels the water and wastes into the sewer pipe and away to the septic tank. Apart from this primary purpose, it is also utilized to raise toilets.

How to go about a toilet flange that is too high

So now that you are currently renovating your bathroom. You decided to change your toilet bowl and you have pulled out the old one and had your floor retiled. You are now getting ready to install the new toilet bowl and then you discovered that the toilet flange is too high. What should you do?

This is how toilet flange that is too high looks like.The image above shows that there is a problem with how the flange is set up. You do not want to proceed with the toilet installation in this situation. You must do something to correct the floor height mismatch. In this case, you will need some building up to do with the floor.

How to correct a toilet flange too high

The succeeding discussion will walk you through on what to do when confronted with such a problem. Here you have options. It all depends on what works best and practical for you. But first and foremost you will have to measure how high the toilet flange is from the floor. You need to be accurate on this one so that you will not waste materials and time to redo everything. In this step, you would like to determine how many inches you will have to append to the subfloor to attain the height where the flange is sitting well on the floor eliminating the gap.

Option 1: Using a cement board for floor build up

1.1 Filling in the gap

If the gap between the subfloor and the outer circle of the flange is just about ¾ inch, cement backer board and a tile on top will do the trick. What is amazing when you use backer boards is that you do not have to be troubled when it comes to any swelling because they are dimensionally stable. Remember that swell causes tiles to crack and you do not want that to happen. It will cost you for the replacement not to mention the hassle it will create.

1.2 Measure the floor area

Identify the floor area that you would include in building up your subfloor. Here you will determine the number of pieces of backer boards.Cement Board

1.3 Measure the radius of the toilet flange

This will allow you to create a circular shape on the backer boards as shown in the figure above. You will need a pencil or chalk and a compass for this to accurately make the hole. You may want to start with 4 pieces of backer boards. Put it together to make a bigger square. Referencing at the center of the bigger square, draw the circle. Add a ½ inch to the measurement of the circle. Cut the circle and break the bigger square. Snug the backer board around the flange.

1.4 Spread mortar on the entire floor area you need to build up

Evenly spread mortar on the area you need to build up and set the boards while the mortar is still wet. Secure the boards with screws. Corrosion resistant screw is advisable. Spread mortar to seal around the outer flange as well as in between boards.

1.5. Set the tiles

Spread tile adhesive over the backer board and set tiles. Make sure that the tiles should close the gap. When the tiles are set and the tile adhesive has dried, you can screw the flange on the floor and proceed with the toilet bowl installation.

Option 2: Using a plywood for floor build up

2.1 Cut the plywood

Determine how much plywood you will be using and cut this to applicable sizes. How big the plywood you will use will definitely depend on the floor area. You will need circular saw and sawhorses for this step.

2.2 Measure distance

Measure the distance between the nearest wall towards the center of the toilet flange. Get this measurement into the plywood with the use of a pencil. Measure the distance between the adjacent wall that’s closest the toilet flange towards its center. Get this measurement into the plywood.Building up the floor with plywood

2.3 Take the radius of the toilet flange.

Add a ½ inch to the measurement and get this measurement into the plywood. Draw the circle using a compass. Cut the circle using a suitable woodcutting tool.

2.4 Get the plywood to fit the toilet flange

Make adjustments when necessary to ensure that the plywood is snugly fit. Secure the plywood with screw and glue. Make sure this is done well to avoid any squeaking in the future. You are now ready to set the toilet bowl.

This video shows another way of correcting a toilet flange too high.

Do you have what it takes to fix a toilet flange that is too high? Well, I am certain that I have furnished you with enough information to do it on your own All you need to do is to build up the subfloor as shown in the two options presented above.

More takeaway tips:

Remember to use a wax ring between the toilet flange and toilet bowl. When you have secured the toilet flange, place the wax ring on it before setting the toilet on top. The wax ring is a gasket that serves to seal the flange and the toilet which helps in avoiding leaks.When the toilet is up, it’s time to bolt it. You might consider using a brass bolt over a steel bolt. This is mainly because brass is resistant to moist and thus, you do not have to deal with corrosion.

While a toilet flange that is too high can be corrected by lowering the flange, this will be more time-consuming and costly compared to building a subfloor. So this guide is not only effective but practical as well!