Question: When laying tile in bathroom around toilet, do you need to remove the toilet?
Yes and no. It’s entirely up to you. But think of it this way, if you leave the toilet as it is, there will be more work when tiling around the toilet. As you will need to cut the tiles to shape around the toilet base. Most toilet base are oval shape with unparalleled curves, so good tiling skill is needed if you want a nice fit.
That’s not all. What if you need to replace the toilet later? Can you get back the same bowl base shape and size? The toilet model may be obsolete by then and the new replacement model may have a different foot print. May be bigger or smaller than the existing toilet. Whatever may be, you are going to have to either remove those tiles around the old toilet to make room for the new one, or improvise patches if the new toilet base is smaller. That will be ugly. And, not forgetting about repair. If there is leakage from the bowl, in which the flange or gasket probably need to be replaced. It will be costly then, which otherwise is a regular job for a plumber.
Just Remove The Old Toilet
The easiest way is to remove the toilet. There are only two bolts you have to deal with, and you will have an unobstructed floor space to do your tiling. After tiling just reinstall back the toilet. Easy peasy? But that’s assuming you have the old tiles removed before laying new ones on.
What if you just want to lay over the old tiles instead. Which is easier, faster and less messy compared to hacking off those old tiles to make way for the new ones. If that’s the case you need to know that the floor level is now being raised by up to half an inch or much more. Depending on the thickness of the new tile. And now you can’t just install back the toilet with the existing flange and a standard wax ring. You need something to make up for the raised height.
Using Toilet Flange Extender
Toilet Flange Extender is commonly used to raise the toilet flange to the floor surface level from the ‘sunken’ drain pipe opening. Depending on how much height you need to make up for the tile thickness, the Set-Rite Toilet Flange Extender Kit will have one that fit the bill. Or you may find the Fluidmaster 7513 Extra Thick Wax Toilet Bowl Gasket with Flange is good enough for the job. Whichever you choose the toilet should always be a snug fit, no wobbling and well sealed to the drain pipe. Otherwise, it will leak with every flush.