It's been a busy thirty hours or so. Last night a plumber arrived around 9 p.m. to fix a leaky toilet. A good friend had located him and brought him over when he was available. As is usually the case with Cairo craftsmen, he showed up with a cloth bag containing all his tools. I missed an opportunity to photograph one of those cloth bags - what was I thinking. I did notice that the bag contained a piece of green broomstick about a foot long. That, it turns out, was his caulk gun. He used it to push the caulk out of a conventional tube of the stuff.
The 9 p.m. arrival was not unusual. Plumbers, electricians and carpenters doing repair work come after finishing their day jobs. Or, at least, the ones that our friends bring us seem to usually arrive then. This was not a problem for us but did cause a bit of an issue for our friend whose wife had a dentist's appointment for 9 p.m. As we say, "everything is different here."
Back to the toilet problem. The main bathroom toilet was dripping when flushed when we arrived last year but the leaking stopped before we were able to get a plumber on site. I elected to leave well-enough alone. This year the leak returned and didn't go away. Obviously, some part of the joint was drying out and separating. Think rigid porcelain and plastic joined by plaster and you will understand the problem.
Egyptian toilets don't have a waste exit underneath with a wax ring connection to the waste stack as do American toilets. The waste goes out the rear and into the stack. Note this "before" picture.
My first inclination was to apply a layer of 3M tub and tile caulk to the joint externally and let it go - but why not call in the professionals? After assuring that the plumber was going to bring his own rags (Cairo craftsmen are notorious for using your nice new towels to wipe the floor) and that the job included cleanup - another rarity here - we were ready for the plumber's visit. The plan was to cut out the existing waste pipe, move the toilet out, install a new flexible pipe and reconnect to the stack. And, re-seat the toilet, of course.
The plumber pulled a floppy saw blade out of his bag and began cutting on the existing plastic pipe. I went to the closet, opened my tool box and offered my hack saw but it was too late, he had already finished the cut.
An hour later, I inspected the finished job and we (especially Linda) didn't like the re-caulking around the base of the toilet. It was pretty much caulk on everything including the floor and toilet base. Well, that green broomstick pushing the caulk out of the tube doesn't exactly lay down an even bead!
The toilet now seems to work fine and there is no leak. As for the final appearance, well, you be the judge. As for me, the wax ring system, hidden from sight, seems more desirable.
We'll see how long this works. Stay tuned!