I never thought we would be experts at toilet removal, and uh, actually, we still aren’t experts at toilet removal. I guess I should say I never thought I would be writing a post on removing a toilet, but to be honest, we are fairly proud that we were able to remove the toilet all by ourselves. We are fairly new at the plumbing game, and have only replaced faucets in the past, so removing a toilet was a big step for us! We are so pleased we were able to avoid calling a plumber for this job. And so I figured other people out there might also like to save the bill for a plumber and do some basic DIY plumbing themselves.
So we are renovating our master bath. I already wrote about a DIY All-Natural Wallpaper Stripper and the steps on How to Remove a Bathroom Sink. Next up is removing that toilet- not because we are discarding it, but because we are tiling the floor and need to be able to tile underneath the toilet. Here are the steps we followed for removing the toilet.
How to Remove a Toilet
1. Turn off the water supply. Most toilets will have a shut-off valve next to the toilet near the floor. Most of the time, it’s a valve that you have to turn the handle clockwise all the way to close it.
2. Flush the toilet to drain the water from the tank and bowl. Now, use a sponge and small cup to remove any remaining water from the tank and bowl. Yes, I know this is not a glamorous step, but it has to be done. Nobody wants to drag dirty toilet water around the house. So use a sponge and soak that up. Wear gloves during the step, of course. Here is Mr. EngineerMommy doing this step.
3. Remove the supply line to the toilet. Remove it from the bowl if you will reuse the supply line. Remove it from the supply valve if you plan on replacing the supply line.
4. Remove the top of the tank. Disconnect the toilet tank from the bowl by unscrewing the pair of bolts near the center of the bowl where it meets the tank. Remove the nuts and the lift the bowl up. If the nuts are rusty, soak them in penetrating oil. Luckily for us, these bolts were not rusty, but we have some experience with rusted screws! Here is our toilet with the tank removed.
5. Remove the bolt caps from the base of the toilet. This is what keeps the toilet seated firmly on the floor. Remove the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. Usually, there are two of these.
6. Rock the bowl from side to side to free it from the wax gasket. This is a sticky, messy step, so have a drop cloth or other disposable material ready and nearby to place the toilet bowl onto, while you clean up.
7. Plug the drain hole to prevent gases from the sewer from entering the room. Make sure whatever you use cannot fall into the drain and clog it!
8. Plug the drain hole to prevent sewer gases from entering your room. Make sure your rag cannot fall into the drain and clog it.
9. Use a putty knife to scrape away the old wax from the toilet bowl and the drain flange. This is important to prepare the drain flange for the new toilet.
Removing a toilet may seem intimidating at first, but in reality, the steps are not all that difficult to follow and perform. And when you realize how proficient you are at some basic DIY plumbing tasks, you will be more confident to tackle even more DIY home improvement projects in the future!
Of course, my disclaimer is that I am not a licensed plumber, and this post is not intended to be an exhaustive, complete or thorough tutorial on toilet removal. These are simply the steps that worked for us. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult a licensed plumber.