What I Learned Over the Weekend
Rebuilding the insides of a toilet is easy but time consuming.
Spending a little bit of diagnosis time up-front will serve you well. You may find that you do not need to purchase an entire rebuild-kit after all.
Chances are, you just need a new flapper-ball (the pink or black rubber stopper hinged to the vertical overflow pipe and attached by a short chain or thin rod to the handle). In fact, I’d bet that this $1.50 part alone will do the trick. And fortunately, it’s trivial to install.
If you open the toilet and find a float-cup next to the filler tube where the ballcock should be, you’ve got a newer toilet flush mechanism (more water efficient and made of plastic so you don’t have to replace it as often). Unfortunately, this also means you may have worse problems like a bad flapper-valve or a cracked tank or basin. Time to start from scratch with a complete rebuild kit.
If you have water around the toilet but no overflow, you probably need a new wax-ring.
Don’t take shortcuts where bathroom plumbing is concerned. Trust me on this. And another thing: don’t trust anyone who tells you a wax-free bowl gasket is more reliable than good old-fashioned wax.
That’s just nuts.