Flooring Tips (Under Toilet, Before or After, Vinyl Plank)

Homeowners are slowly taking up their floor renovations since most modern flooring options are easy to install. As such, you can do flooring on a budget and enjoy durability with proper installation. When it comes to flooring in your bathroom, a common concern will be whether to do this under the toilet or around.

So, does flooring go under the toilet? Whether you are installing vinyl, laminate, or any other type of flooring, it is advisable to install it under the toilet. This makes installation easy, as you will not go through the hassle of cutting the edges of your flooring to fit around your toilet. Also, you will attain a professional look, as the toilet will hide the edges underneath. Installing the toilet over a floating floor is also safe as the gaps throughout the room will allow free expansion and contraction.

With most homeowners switching to DIY floor renovations, one needs to be knowledgeable on the do’s and don’t of flooring. The bathroom floor is exposed to harsh conditions, including constant water flow, steam, and frequent scrubbing.

This subjects it to more wear and scratches than other rooms. Where the toilet seat rests, this floor will have to stand the weight of the seat and that of the users. As such, proper installation is necessary to achieve the above.

It is advisable to install flooring under the toilet instead of around it. Installing the flooring under the toilet makes the process easy as the toilet will not be an obstacle. Also, you will take less time in this installation, as you will not have to worry much about measuring, marking, and cutting your flooring to fit the shape of the base of your toilet. In case of uneven edges under your toilet, the toilet seat will rest on them and hide the imperfections.

When installing the flooring under the toilet, you will start by removing the toilet if doing a renovation and installing all your flooring pieces up to the toilet flange. When you reach this point, measure the piece that will run into the flange and where the cut will be, then cut the board accordingly and continue with the normal installation.

Depending on your type of flooring, if you do not want to make rounded cuts around the flange, you can cut a square, as this will not matter as much, provided the toilet seat covers these pieces.

After finishing the flooring, ensure you replace the wax ring as you reinstall the toilet. Failure to do this may cause a leaking toilet. A leaking toilet may cause water seepage underneath your flooring and harbor mold and mildew.

It may also cause discoloration, affecting your floor aesthetics. Thus, if your flooring is laminate, your toilet flange should sit a quarter-inch above the flooring to ensure a good seal with varying wax thickness. You should also use a flange extension kit to ensure the toilet seals properly in the case of a flange lower than the floor.

To protect your flooring around the toilet after installation, use silicone caulk. Silicone caulk is advisable in this case, given its waterproof features that prevent water from a leaking toilet from finding its way under your flooring.

Do You Install Flooring Before or After Toilet?

Some individuals may install the toilet first and then the flooring around it. In this case, the shape of your toilet base will dictate how you cut your flooring to fit around it and seal any gaps that may result from imperfections. To ensure a professional finish, I address the concerns about installing flooring before or after the toilet and how to proceed.

You should always install the floor before the toilet if you want a high-quality finish. This installation will ensure proper coverage by protecting your flooring against water damage. Installing your flooring first means that you will not have to cut your flooring in awkward shapes to fit around the toilet base.

As such, you will not have to incur extra expenses, purchasing tools appropriate for this task. It also means that should the sealant fail, there will be a layer of the floor under the toilet protecting your floor from water.

To start with, a bathroom renovation can be costly, even as a DIY project. Failure to do a perfect job during remodeling may end up costing you more in the long run, and, for this reason, it does not make sense to cut corners and end up with a half-baked project.

Tiling around your toilet will also make your installation look unprofessional, and this will be easily noticeable by anyone entering the room. This is because it is impossible to cut certain types of flooring precisely and fit them around your toilet base. The end product will have uneven or thick joints around the base, which may require extra caulk to seal.

Besides the final product looking good when you install flooring first, you will make your work easy. The toilet can be an obstacle to your work and removing it will make the process much smoother.

However, you should note that removing an already installed toilet is not as easy as it sounds, but you cannot compare this difficulty with cutting your flooring around the oddly shaped toilet base to attain perfection. Even for a seasoned flooring installer, cutting the flooring around the toilet base will be challenging.

By removing the toilet, you will tile up your floor to the flange, as you would in any other room. The base will rest perfectly on the new floor, covering any imperfections around the flange for a professional appearance.

Installing the flooring before the toilet sets you up for potential problems in the future. This is especially if you will have to replace or remove your toilet in the future. Toilets have a wide range of base footprints and finding a toilet with the exact footprint as yours is slim to zero. This may result in a shoddy installation in the future or flooring replacement, should your toilet fail.

Finally, since a toilet first installation gives you more room to work, not to mention the smooth flooring installation and a professional bathroom look at the end, it is a worthy procedure to follow.

This installation will also allow you to inspect your toilet flange, which can allow sewage seepage. As such, you do not necessarily have to wait for a home inspector to detect such leakages when it is too late.

How Do You Install Flooring Under a Toilet?

As stated earlier, you will have to remove the toilet when installing ceramic, vinyl, or wood on your bathroom floor. After that, you can reset the toilet such that the base covers the cuts around the drain. Given that you will be raising your floor level, you will also need to increase the flange level. You can check with your hardware store for a flange extension kit.

To install flooring under a toilet, start by turning off the water supply to the toilet. Next, flush the toilet severally to empty all the water in the system and disconnect the water supply using a wrench or pliers. Proceed to remove the bolts at the toilet base and remove the toilet except for the open floor drain.

Depending on the flooring type you want to install, proceed with the layout. If you are installing vinyl tiles, start from the middle outwards; however, if you are installing wood flooring, start from one side of the room to the other. However, when you get around the drain, stop for more technicalities around this area.

For a more professional final look, set a piece of tracing paper on the toilet drain, and using a pencil, trace the outer edge and cut out the circle with a razor knife. You can then lay this piece of paper in the cardboard and trace it around it and cut the circle out of your cardboard.

Next, lay your flooring loosely over the floor drain and then the cardboard circle on top of it and mark around the circle and the flooring. Using the marks on your flooring, cut the flooring with a jigsaw or wet saw depending on your flooring, and install the cut flooring so that it fits well around the edges of the floor drain and complete the rest of the flooring.

To raise the flange level to the new floor, set a flange extender from the extender kit. To ensure stability and prevent water leakage, secure the extenders with a screw and seal the flange perimeter with silicone caulk. Finally, reinstall the toilet, and you are good to go.

Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Go Under Toilet?

When installing vinyl plank in your toilet, your approach will be based on how the planks react to temperature changes and the fact that water pipes in bathrooms will come from the floor instead of the walls.

You can put vinyl plank flooring under the toilet. Vinyl plank installation under your toilet offers the support your toilet needs to stand on the surface that supports everyone using it. Without the vinyl plank support, the toilet will be supported by the pipes, which is not a good idea. Also, installing the planks under the toilet will not affect durability as they will have enough room on the ends to expand and contract without warping or bulking.

Putting vinyl flooring around or the toilet is unsuitable and will leave room for water retention by the floor. Over time, the planks will warp and buckle. Thus, while caulking around your toilet to prevent water seepage works, putting the planks under the toilet is the ideal option.

Usually, you will face the temptation to install vinyl plank around your toilet instead of under it.  This will happen if you are trying to save on material and time. While you can do this, the result will look unfinished and unprofessional compared to the rest since a gap will exist between the toilet and flooring.

In addition to the poor support of your toilet, this will make it easily movable and put pressure on the pipes. Thus, you should avoid this type of installation, as it will likely damage your pipes and floors, affecting durability.

To lay your vinyl plank flooring under the toilet, start by considering the flange, which is the piece that holds your toilet to the floor and hooks to the pipe. The flange should be up against your flooring and may require a few adjustments to get the correct height. This height ensures your toilet anchors down properly to prevent movement during use. Thus, for maximum accuracy, measure the height of the flange and factor it during installation.

After accounting for the flange, remove the toilet and prepare your subfloors. As usual, the subfloor should be clean, level, and free from inconsistencies. With this set, fit in the flange and continue with the installation by adjusting your flooring to your bathroom measurements.

Do the installation per the manufacturer’s instructions, leaving the recommended space between the wall and flooring. You should also cut the relevant holes in the necessary planks to make room for the water pipes.

Once done with the above preparations, install the remaining flooring by tapping each row into place, paying attention to what the end pieces will look like. While at the final row, get the correct measurements such that this row not only fits but also leaves the recommended gap between it and your bathroom walls. Finally, you can install the transition pieces and baseboards.

Wrap Up

If you want to enjoy easy installation and durability, consider flooring under the toilet. This option works well with a DIYer, as it saves on the struggle of cutting perfect pieces of the flooring material around the toilet base. The toilet will eventually rest on the floor, covering any imperfections for a professional finish.

To install your flooring under the toilet, cut the water supply to the bathroom and empty the system. Next, remove the toilet, leaving the open floor drain. Depending on the flooring material, use appropriate equipment to cut it into relevant shapes, install the flooring and reinstall the toilet.

Finally, you can also install vinyl plank flooring in your toilet. This flooring is strong and will offer extra support to the toilet seat users, minimizing strain on the pipes below it. Also, vinyl planks are safe under your toilet as long as you provide adequate space on the ends for contraction and expansion.

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