How To Remove A Toilet

You may need to learn how to remove a toilet for several reasons. Do you want to replace the toilet or the floor it is set on? Is the toilet flange seal damaged, allowing water to leak onto the floor? Removing the toilet is a common DIY plumbing job. Let me help you with these easy steps.

Take note... these instructions only describe how to remove one piece or close coupled two piece floor mounted toilets.

Stay Safe While You Work

To be safe while working, be careful. Toilets are heavy!! Protect your back. Get help when you need it. Be careful not to break the china fixture. If the china is already broken, use extreme care! Broken toilets are as sharp and dangerous as any other large piece of broken glass!

Never check for fractures in chinaware by passing your hand along the surface, knock on it, and listen. Unbroken china should produce some kind of a note while broken china produces a click or buzz.

Tools Needed To Remove A Toilet

  • 3 or 4 old bath towels
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • a hand operated bilge pump (or a small tub/bucket for dipping water, a yogurt tub works great)
  • a sponge to help remove the last of the water from the toilet bowl
  • an 8” or 10” Crescent wrench

Finally, The Instructions

  1. Put a towel under the service stop (also called the shut off valve,) and turn the handle to shut off the water. Then flush the toilet, if you can. If the tank starts to refill after the toilet flushes the service stop leaks and will have to be repaired or replaced. If water is not flowing or seeping into the tank, the service stop is holding.
  2. Pump the water out of the tank and bowl with the pump and bucket.
  3. Remove the supply tube nut from the service stop, and from the toilet fill valve at the tank. Set the supply aside to be reinstalled or replaced. Once the supply is disconnected and the tank and bowl are empty, you may remove the bolt covers if there are any. Next remove the nuts and washers from the toilet bolts that hold the toilet to the floor flange.
  4. Your next step is to pick up the toilet. Be careful, because it's very heavy. The safest way to lift a toilet by yourself is to straddle it, facing the wall, then reaching down grab the bowl about where the seat bolts are. Bend your knees and lift with your legs. Better yet, find someone to help you when you remove a toilet.
  5. The toilet will now lift off of the flange unless it is being held in place by caulk. In that case a little easy rocking usually frees it, or you may cut the caulk with a knife. Be careful, it's very easy to cut the flooring with the knife. If you intend to set a different toilet its foot print on the floor will likely be different so try to maintain the integrity of the flooring.
  6. Set the toilet on a towel that has been laid flat. Tip it back until the bottom of the back of the tank is on the floor. Using a terrycloth towel for this task protects the floor and the toilet from each other better than something thin will.

Once you've remove a toilet, you can do the repairs on the floor or toilet. Then you'll be ready to learn how to install a toilet.

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