my Old Workshop

How to survive the one-toilet bathroom reno

Planning a bathroom renovation? Here’s a tip you’ll thank us for. If you don’t already have one, build a second bathroom first. Just kidding, but you should plan on minimizing the amount of time the toilet’s out of service.

Maybe you’re doing renovations behind or above the toilet and you need it out of the way. Or you’re working on the floor near the toilet. No matter what, you’ll be without a toilet during the work. If you’ve been a good neighbor, you can probably prevail on your neighbors for bathroom rights. Not so at night.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to simply remove the toilet every day to do the work and replace it at night. Once you’ve practiced a couple times, you’ll be able to do it in no time.

First thing you should do is install a shutoff valve either for the entire bathroom, or for each fixture. This way you can do all your work without cutting off water to the whole house.

Okay, buy a bunch of wax gaskets. These inexpensive things help seat the toilet in the drain. Shut off the water. To remove the toilet, remove the tank by draining it (flush), disconnecting the threaded supply line, and undoing the nuts holding it to the toilet bowl. Place it carefully somewhere. Then, drain the bowl with a cup and siphon, and gently rock the bowl till you can lift it.

When it’s time to go back, put a new wax gasket at the bottom of the toilet around the drain opening, and reseat the toilet by twisting it a couple times and sitting on it. Reverse the steps above. When you tighten the bolts holding the tank to the bowl, be very careful not to overtighten; you can crack the tank.