There are many reasons to remove a toilet permanently. You may want to stop sewage from backing up into the toilet or perhaps you don’t need it in a specific location any longer. When this is the case, it is important to remove the toilet properly and close off the drain.
Working with bathroom pipes is complicated and messy. If you are hesitant about doing the job, leave it to a professional. It is better to pay a little extra and have it done right than have a bigger mess on your hands.
To tackle the job yourself, first, put on gloves and shut off the water using the toilet’s supply line. Then, flush the toilet a few times until the tank is empty. Use a mop, microfiber towels, or a wet-dry vac to remove any water that’s left.
Disconnect the plumbing, then unbolt the toilet from the floor. Rock the seat to break the toilet free from the wax ring, then dispose of it appropriately. Measure the drain hole to ensure you use the right plug or cap. Fasten it on the pipe and tighten the wing nut to secure it. Cap the drain with a toilet cover.
If you have a delicate stomach when it comes to smells, you may want to avoid doing this job, as pipes can create a nasty sewer gas stench.
You can remove a toilet permanently without a plumber if you are experienced with plumbing and are handy enough to give it a try.
How to Permanently Remove a Toilet
Removing a toilet is not a difficult task but can be smelly when dealing with pipes. Completing this project involves four basic steps.
Step One: Shut off the Water
Before beginning this project, shut off the toilet’s water supply. Most of the time, you will need to shut off the valve, usually located on the back of the toilet, instead of shutting off the water for the entire house.
This step is important. If you don’t properly shut off the water, the smelly sewage water will splash everywhere, ending up in a bigger task when cleaning up. Plus, you’ll likely have a stench in the room, as well.
After you turn off the water, flush multiple times to empty out the tank. If any water remains, clean it out with a mop or microfiber towels. When the toilet and tank are dry, use a wrench and disconnect the toilet’s supply line. Then, you can physically remove the toilet.
Step Two: Unbolt the Toilet and Remove
The toilet is attached to the floor with bolts. While it may be a simple job, if the toilet is older, you may find that the bolts are rusted in place. First, try using a wrench to unbolt the toilet. If it doesn’t work, then you can use a hacksaw to unbolt the toilet from the floor.
Once you remover the bolts, rock the commode until it breaks free from the wax ring. When it’s free, you can dispose of it appropriately. Then, the only thing left is cleaning up left-behind residue and mess from the floor.
If you can unbolt the toilet bowl from the tank, it will be easier to carry once finished. Toilets easily weigh as much as 100 lbs. Removing it in two stages will help to prevent back pain and overexertion.
Step Three: Take Drain Hole Measurements
Take measurements of the toilet drain hole carefully. Generally, they will be three or four inches. Write down the measurement as it will help you in determining the cap size or plug.
Use a tape measure or ruler, and be as accurate as possible. If the cap/plug doesn’t fit, you will need to go back to the home improvement store to buy another one and you probably won’t be able to return the first one.
Step Four: Place and Tighten the Drain Plug
After you choose the right-sized plug or cap, place it on the pipe. Many plugs use a wingnut located on them. Once it’s fastened on a pipe, tighten it to secure it into place.
The final step is capping the drain with the toilet cover. Toilet covers are rubber or PVC attached with a rubber skirt. The drain is capped when you clamp the skirt around the pipe using hose clamps. They can be attached using a small wrench or screwdriver.
Things to Avoid
Homeowners should avoid these common mistakes while completing this project as a mess can quickly be created, and the smell can remain in the house for a prolonged period.
Avoid Rocking the Toilet too Much
If you do this, you can shake out water that is hidden in the toilet plumbing. This water will stink for a long time afterward and is difficult to get rid of.
Check for Threads Inside the Flange
To determine whether a threaded cap is needed, check the inside of the flange. If no threads exist, you need a different cap to effectively close the drain. Most plugs are rubber. However, some are wood and require pounding them on the top until fully inserted.
Placing the wrong plug into the hole can permit sewer line vapors to come through the pipe.
Always Wear Gloves
The toilet and pipes are slippery. They can contain fluids that you do not want to touch while working. For safety, gloves help you get a reliable grip on your tools, and they protect your from anything that may be harmful. The best type of glove to use is made of rubber and has some form of a grip.
Removing a toilet and capping off a drain is not a difficult task to accomplish. Most homeowners find they can easily do it themselves and end up saving money in the process. All steps need to be followed carefully as the wrong move may equate to a smelly mess that lingers long after the job is done.
Be sure to take your time, and if you are even remotely hesitant, hire a plumber. In the end, you may be thankful that you did.