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Unread 06-04-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
Sandy1000
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Moving a Toilet

Hello,

My bathroom has already been tiled and my toilet is too close to the tub. I had asked about moving it at the time the tub was put in and it was about $800 so I decided a couple inches closer was alright and I'd live with it. I did not know this was not to Code. So, I'm wondering a few things in that I'm afraid the house won't be able to sell with this situation, in terms of an inspection.

Some tile would obviously have to be removed. There are two layers of cement backerboard underneath. My understanding is that backerboard falls apart when you start messing with it to replace damaged tiles. Is this going to be a problem if I have to move the toilet? Cutting into the backerboard or patching the area that was cut for the existing location?

Can moving a toilet be done through the ceiling below instead? I'm thinking this might reduce the amount of tile that needs to be busted up. Does that make sense to work from below instead?

This whole thing is making me sick. I don't know why the plumber would not have told me that the toilet was required to be moved over in order to meet Code. It is 11 inches oc from the side of the tub now. Must have been 13 before. This tub is a bit wider with an apron.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #2
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Sandy, you are going to have to remove and replace some tile not matter how you do it. I would leave it alone until time to sell and give the buyer an allowance for making any corrections necessary.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
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Welcome, Sandy.

What Injineer Bob said.

Not to mention that if you move it such that it's 13 inches from the obstruction instead of 11, you'll still not likely be in code compliance. Gotta have at least 15 inches each side of them terlits most times.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
Sandy1000
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Same amount of tile and trouble if changed from above or below you think? I was thinking it should be done before the kitchen cabs are replaced downstairs if it were easier to fix from below. And since the grout color could be matched better at this point in time, maybe it should just be fixed. Would probably be a disaster though, hm.

The toilet isn't installed yet, so I'm afraid it might even be too close for me even though it's only two inches. Every contractor through here says something about the toilet, will it fit (yes), but no one has mentioned Code. I came across it tonight. This is just nauseating. It's not like there weren't any pros around before the tile went in. Now it comes up.

I'm sure there must be lots of quirky old homes out there with space issues like this going on with their tiny bathrooms. They manage to live in and sell.

That's very good advice and reassuring about an allowance. Maybe it isn't hopeless. I don't know what goes on with the house inspections re meeting Code requirements, but as it stands this would require a small buyer or a good sized bathroom redo, I guess, if the floor gets ruined because it has to be fixed. The tile goes under the cabinets and the cabinets have feet that can't be removed, so it's not a clean base line for completely replacing the floor. Not a good cabinetry idea as I see it now.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 10:09 PM   #5
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Also came across offset-flanges. Can they be installed after the tile is in or still a bust-up?
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Unread 06-04-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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If you move the toilet away from the tub 4" to meet the 15" minimum clearance, will you be encroaching in on the 15" minimum clearance on the other side of the toilet from something like a vanity?

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Unread 06-04-2011, 10:39 PM   #7
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It's fine on the other side, I've got room for the 15 oc. It does get rather close to a floor vent which might have to be moved over a bit, for a toilet overflow. Not sure about that. But the vanity is plenty far enough away.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 11:14 PM   #8
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Okay, thanks for answering.

Well, an offset flange is only going to get you something like 1 1/2" of lateral movement and your 11" clearance will only be increased to 12 1/2"...still shy of the 15" code. And you'd have to cut some tile to make way for the new flange and do a difficult repair on the part that would otherwise be visible as a result of the move.

Without seeing your situation and how close the vertical drain pipe (under the toilet) is to joists that may impede the move, it's hard to make a recommendation. It may be rather easy...and it may be quite difficult. If the plumber wanted a full $800 to move it while the room was torn apart, either it's a really tough move.....or they were asking a very pretty penny for it. I wish I could see what you have to be of more specific help.

Ultimately, I'd either move it over to get the full 15" of clearance so you never need to go through this again....or, like Bob and cx said, leave it alone.

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Unread 06-05-2011, 07:04 PM   #9
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Here's the area. 12" tiles. I hate to have this bathroom finished wrong. And so far off at 4 inches less than minimum comfort level. Maybe crazy but I'm still wondering what would need to happen in the process of changing it. How do they change the piping? How many tiles have to come up to work on it? Is the backerboard underneath a problem (two layers) or just getting the grout color to come out the same a problem?

What a stupid mistake! I am so mad at myself for not realizing at the time that it was this far off and a Code problem. The tub wasn't that much wider. It just seems so darn dumb close now.

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Unread 06-05-2011, 07:23 PM   #10
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There are at least two types of offset flanges, and only one of them is any good. But, as stated, neither of them will move things enough to give you the clearance you need. If you've got access from below, cut the ceiling and take a good look. If you're lucky, it will be easy. As to the tile, cut the grout out around the tile, cut the flange off from below, and use the edge with a chisel to break the tile up from the flange hole that is now clear because you removed the flange. Depending on how long it's been down, you might be surprised and not mess up too much. The thinset, if it hasn't cured fully (normally considered 28-days), is the weakest link and it may shear off without too much damage.

Since this is a new installation, hopefully, you either have or can get some new tile in the same pattern and batch.
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Unread 06-05-2011, 07:51 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, the thinset is fully cured, it's been down a while. When you say the thinset is the weakest link, what exactly to you mean? It can crack when being chipped out? If it cracks underneath beyond the tiles that would be removed (3) this would be a serious problem?

What happens with the backerboard areas? The old hole and the first backerboard layer under the 3 tiles would be chewed up. Does it cut out nicely and can be replaced as a patch? Packed/filled back with cement material? Any serious foundation problem here?

I'm not sure I'd trust a non-tileman/plumber with messing with the tile and backerboard. I think a tileman would know the materials better and how to tread carefully. Would this typically be something you'd call the tile man in to remove the 3 tiles first then let the plumber do his thing? I guess the plumber would have to cut the backerboard at location. Not a risky operation for the plumber to mess with this?

I have more tile and leftover grout that might not be expired yet.
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Unread 06-05-2011, 08:26 PM   #12
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I would dry fit the toilet into place. Then I'd have a seat, and see if your right arm clears the tub edge and whatever shower door/curtain set up you have. If the toilet fits, and its functional/useable I'd leave it alone.

The home inspectors that come in as part of a home sale are not the same people as the code compliance inspectors the city sends out when work is done on a permit. Most times they are more intent on seeing if things are damaged or in need of repair prior to a sale, than they are with code compliance (many of these folks wouldn't know the codes in the first place).
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Unread 06-06-2011, 04:24 AM   #13
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And, even if a home inspector makes note of this, you and the buyer can agree on a monetary correction to the home's selling price if the buyer wants it fixed.
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Unread 06-06-2011, 11:08 AM   #14
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If you have access from below, you can install some ply from below, and a disk to fill the hole, then put in a disk(s) of cbu and screw it all together. You'd need to be careul on screw length, as you don't want to go deep enough from below to damage the tile.

Done carefully, removing a single tile is done all the time without damaging adjacent ones. Any damage to the cbu can be handled when installing the replacement tile. Since you already have a hole in the middle of the tile, you can start chipping from there. A chisel flat from that edge will crack and chip out the tile. If you've removed the grout, which ties the tiles together, it will be fine.
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Unread 06-06-2011, 08:38 PM   #15
Sandy1000
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Thanks very much everyone for the advice and for the information on what a correction would involve. I'm glad to hear it could be done successfully, in terms of the tile, if need be.

I put the toilet base in place and it will work for me. Had a plumber come through today for an estimate on something else and I asked him about the location issue. He didn't see it as a problem. Sat down on it and said it worked for him and that it would not deter him from buying a house. Said he's never seen an inspector measure them or anything and I think he even said, as here, that if it was a problem, you work those things out with the buyer if they're interested in the house otherwise. He said it would be a real big deal to move it and would leave it alone. It's fine.

So all is well again! I know I can live with it. Extra tile is available for the next guy if they want to change it.

Thanks again. I feel a WHOLE lot better!
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