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Unread 10-06-2004, 06:14 PM   #1
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Tiling Under or Around Toilet

My wife and I are working on a fixer-upper in a small town in New Mexico. We are preparing to lay about 290 sq ft of Italian porcelain 1/4" 12x12 tile (Materie rosso) in 3 continuous rooms - a bathroom, a kitchen, and a "sunroom" that connects the two. Because of the remoteness of the town, we have bought a Felker TM-75 tile saw and plan on selling it when we get this and a subsequent kitchen counter tile job done.

We live about 400 miles away in Colorado so the work gets done in 1-week spurts. We have replaced the particle board floor with 3/4" plywood and installed hardibacker on top of that in preparation over the past several months. Besides dealing with the flooring, our first major project was to replace all the plumbing in the house. Since there is only one bathroom in the house and it's kind of nice to have a toilet when you are living there a week at a time, we installed a new toilet on top of the hardibacker back in June.

I have searched around the forum and have found a lot of discussion about setting the toilet after tiling rather than tiling around the toilet after it is set. The toilet right now is firm and well set and we hate to mess with it (besides the fact we would then be without a toilet again for the duration). Besides the added difficulty/aggravation of cutting pieces to go all the way around the toilet, are there other reasons we would still be better off to pull the toilet and tile under it?
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Unread 10-06-2004, 06:32 PM   #2
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Pull the toliet its very simple to do. In the end the finished floor will look like a million bucks. I have seen setters tile around a toliet and it looks bad very bad. A wax ring and bolts and a suplly line will cost ya about 6 to 9 bucks total.
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Unread 10-06-2004, 06:38 PM   #3
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I agree, pull it up. If you cut tiles to go to the toilet and ever need need to change toilets, you'll never find one that will fit the hole you have made.

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Unread 10-06-2004, 11:07 PM   #4
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I agree with Davy and Dan, you might be with out a toilet for one or two days but in the long run it will be done right. If the bathroom is fairly small you could use a quick set mortar setting and grouting the same day.
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Unread 10-06-2004, 11:16 PM   #5
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I also agree. One way to avoid some of the inconvenience of being "pottieless" in New Mexico would be to pull the toilet and tile (at least that area) just before you leave for back home. Seal the open pipe up good with a old towel, or a new towel about to become an old towel , then grout and reset the pot when you come back.
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Unread 10-07-2004, 01:12 AM   #6
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what they said jim
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Unread 10-07-2004, 04:36 AM   #7
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New towel becomes old towel. Funny one, Mike.

I agree to tile under the toilet, too. If you're not going to follow Mike's advice and do it before you leave, just don't eat or drink much in that time frame.
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Unread 10-07-2004, 05:32 AM   #8
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Get a portable potty from a camping supply store. Sell it on E-bay with your tile saw when you are done. Call it a combo-pack.
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Unread 10-07-2004, 07:26 AM   #9
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having just done as a do it yourselfer a kitchen and bathroom, I also recommend tiling under the potty. cutting the tile was actually way easy and I have just a cheapie $88 home depot special saw. I just drew the cutout on the tile and then made a bunch of cuts about 1/4 inch apart starting from the edge of the tile and ending at the circle drawn on the tile. looked like a comb when I was done. then just tapped the 'teeth' and they all fell out and fit great.

Unread 10-07-2004, 08:02 AM   #10
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I'm going to help you out here with a method that will not require the use of a bucket.
Install all of your tile as normal with exception of all the tiles around the toilet.Leave that in place for now.
The next day,after using the stool for your daily needs, remove it.Cut all the tiles to go around the stool area laying them in and dry fitting.
After they are ready to go, Mix up some thinset adding 3 or 4 tablespoons of Baking Soda. Spread this and set those tiles right away.(or you can purchase a commercially available product called speedset or rapidset)
Wait about 3 hours, grout the entire floor and then reset your stool.
Get an extra thick wax ring replacing the one that is there now.This is about a 2 dollar item.If your toilet bolts were cut off, get a replacement bolt set.These slide in easily.
You can have your stool back in and functional by dinner time done this way.
The Baking Soda will accelerate the setting up of the thinset allowing grouting and resetting of the stool much faster.

I am not reccomending this for entire floor area's but for a few tiles under the stool its a great plan.
As a side note, I did an entire small commercial entryway using this method as a testing ground a couple years back.
No problems as of yet.I also have a test set sitting in water in the basement thats about the same age with no problems yet.
I dont expect any problems at this stage of the game but 5 years in the field is a better test
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Unread 10-07-2004, 08:20 AM   #11
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This is scary, way too much agreement going on here. How is a person going to get a fair and balanced response when we’re all in cahoots with one another?
Porta pottie good idea…combo pack on eBay ?? Hummm, I dunno ‘bout that one Bob. ‘Cept that might help sell a Red saw.
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Unread 10-07-2004, 10:15 AM   #12
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Thanks, guys! I really appreciate all the tips on dealing with pulling the toilet, but my question is what is the advantage of tiling under it vs around it. So far I have heard that 1) it looks better; and 2) there would be a problem replacing the toilet later on. And I figure that 3) it will be easier cutting the pieces. On the other hand, the toilet is brand new and is well and firmly seated, and has been working well for 4 months. And I'm not sure the aesthetic advantage is worth disturbing that. I hate to mess something up when it's working good.

What I haven't heard is that tiling around might create some functional problems like leaks or cracking, etc. And I have also thought of another problem (question). There is no crawl space under this bathroom - no way to get at the floor from underneath. Since the holes have already been drilled and toilet fastened to the floor, if we tile under the toilet, somehow we've got to drill through the tile to re-fasten the toilet. I'm not sure how to do that and hit the old holes underneath.

One more question: the Felker TM-75 comes with an 8" ceramic blade so we need one suitable for the Italian porcelain. Any recommendation for a Felker or MK or other blade?
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Unread 10-07-2004, 10:59 AM   #13
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There's no need to disturb the toilet flange. Buy a flange entender and the face of the flange will be raised to where it needs to be. Cut the tiles to fit around the flange extender.

Don't spoil your good work with a shortcut that you'll come to regret later.
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Unread 10-07-2004, 02:22 PM   #14
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Smile From an amachure...

I just finished the tile portion of my powder room re-do. All you've been told here is correct. Even if you've never pulled a toilet before, it's not a tough job. And I've seen tile jobs that go to the WC, not under and what you really have is a dirt catching caulk deposit.

If you want, you can take the toilet part of this offline and contact me with my userid at AOL.

And I was planning to use a flange adapter, but for the record I just used the extra thick ring without any problems.

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Unread 10-07-2004, 02:46 PM   #15
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If your fixer uper is for resale you have to consider what your potential customers will think of it as well. Traditionally I would expect to see the tile run under the turlet. When I dont I expect it is a function of corners cut durring remuddelin, and I wonder what other corners have been cut.

I agree with everyone, that I dont like the look. Often times the toilet is grouted in, and when it decides to move (hey this thing could see several hundereds of pounds of instant load) it cracks, with the "moisture" it sees it could be a breeding ground for who knows what. Even if you caulk it looks funny, and your cuts have to be pretty darn good.

One other considrations is the impact it will have on the overall height of the installation. With the tile and setting materials decreasing the height. I'm 6'4" and most of that is in the legs, I notice the difference in height in my poor knees. I find setting a toilet to be both very simple in concept, and potentiall difficult in execution. I wouldnt hesitate to pull it and put it back. Even if its one of those low profile, one peice, designer hernia makers.

Just my 2bits
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