How to Move a Toilet

Moving a toilet can improve a bathroom’s functionality and create additional space. Since bathrooms often do not make optimal use of space, moving a toilet even a few inches can make a drastic difference in the available space in a bathroom. While the task isn’t overly complicated, there are some things to consider before tackling the job.

plumber shifting toilet to new bathroom

Moving a toilet is more than just picking a spot and plunking a toilet down into it. When moving a toilet, you must relocate not only the toilet itself but also the waste line and supply line. If you are only moving the toilet a few inches, there may be some workarounds, such as installing a longer supply line tube. But, if you are moving it more than a few inches, there may be more work involved.

The wastewater moves whatever you flush into the septic tank or wastewater system. A vertical wastewater pipe is under the toilet. It uses gravity to move the water away.

Regarding the wastewater line, an offset toilet flange allows users to move the toilet a few inches in any direction without having to cut out a new hole or reconstruct the pipe. Yet with an offset flange, you may discover an exposed area in the floor where the flange was first installed, which may create a notable difference in the flooring.

It can also cause the water leaving the toilet to stop as it will be slightly diverted.

However, a new offset toilet flange and flexible supply line are easy to install. The cost is also nominal.

For a Bathroom on a Concrete Slab

bathroom renovation in process

To move a toilet a few inches, remove the concrete so that you can find the water and waste lines, and you will have to have the concrete foundation redone. You will not have access to the waste and waterlines otherwise. You will have to replace the subflooring, fixtures, and flooring as well.

The additional steps add more cost, mess, and time to your project. It is not as simple as just moving and installing a waterline. There is more involved.

However, if you want to do a full bathroom remodel, it may be worth the investment. Experts do recommend that homeowners hire a professional to tear up the concrete slab. It requires someone with more skill and experience.

For Space Beneath a Bathroom

If there is room beneath the bathroom to work, the possibilities are greater. With a basement or crawl space situated below the first-floor bathroom, moving the toilet requires changing the location of the wastewater line and moving the waterline over.

Second-floor bathrooms may be more involved. Homeowners may need to pull down the first-floor ceiling and go into the walls to move the water lines around. The job may end up being difficult and costly, but it can be done.

Related: Chair Height Vs Comfort Height – Which should you choose?

How to Move a Toilet

Moving a toilet has special considerations depending on where it was installed originally, how far you want to move it, and how much space you have available. You must also consider the awkward shape of the toilet when moving it, but it can be carried very carefully.

The steps to moving a toilet are as follows:

  1. Develop a Plan. Decide where the toilet will go before moving it. If it is going in a bathtub temporarily, then place a sheet down to reduce the damage done to the toilet. Should you need to transport the toilet into a different area, move it before new appliances and floors are completed.
  2. Completely Shut off the Water. Turn the shut-off valve to the right.
  3. Drain all Remaining Water. Do the following to fully drain the water in the toilet:
  • Flush the toilet
  • Force water into the drain line by using a plunger
  • To soak up excess water in the tank and bowl, use a sponge
  1. Remove the Supply Line From the Toilet. Place a bucket close to the spout to hold excess water.
  2. Take off the Bolts. By using a wrench or your hands, unscrew the bolts on both sides of the toilet. There should be two sets: one located near the base of the toilet bowl and the other below the bottom of the tank.
  3. Detach the toilet from the tank and move it first. Avoid moving everything all at once.
  4. Pull up the Toilet Bowl and Remove it. Rock the toilet bowl band and forth. It should detach from the floor. If the caulk is holding it in place, scrape it off with a razor blade before moving it. Since the toilet is heavier than the tank, you may need assistance while moving it.
  5. Plug the Drain Hole and Clean it. After you move the toilet, go back to where it once stood. Take off the wax seal using a putty knife and get rid of the bolts. Use a rag or old piece of clothes to plug the hole to prevent gasses from escaping.

When reinstalling the toilet, make sure that there is proper drainage. Again, the toilet rests on a waste pipe where waste travels through a vertical sewer pipe connecting to a horizontal sewer line. This line flows into the city’s main sewer line.

The pipe must connect to the vertical sewer pipe and have a slope, which may involve a great deal of plumbing.

plumber installing toilet in restroom

Furthermore, it isn’t enough that the toilet can simply drain. There must be adequate venting in place. Within the walls are a series of pipes- not all of which carry water. Vent pipes go out from other drains. They don’t all go to a sewer line- some lead up to the roof.

While it may seem strange, the purpose is to allow air to help water to flow properly. They also remove odors away from the house- especially when it comes to toilet vent pipes.

You must align the drain pipe with the mainline sewer pipe. It also needs to be correctly aligned with a vent pipe, which is where you will have an adequate water supply for the toilet.

Since the tank needs to refill after each flush, it needs to sit on a wall with water lines. Building codes do have strict rules regarding what pipes can be used for what function. You may have to go into existing pipes and use them for the same purpose or install a new set of pipes.

You will need to create a rough in, making sure measurements align with the drain, supply, and vent lines.

There are many factors to consider when moving a toilet. While it can be straightforward, there are some things to consider if you are moving it more than a few inches.

If you are looking to completely remodel your bathroom, moving the toilet may be worth the investment and mess. If it is just to move the toilet around for more space, it may not be worth the hassle.

Only the homeowner can decide whether they want to put forth the time, effort, and potential mess of this project.

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