Why You Can Move Your Sink, Tub, And Shower Around, But Not Your Toilet

When you want to remodel and redesign your bathroom, you will quickly find that you can move nearly all of your fixtures around except one. Your toilet has to stay right where it is. Bathroom design being what it is, it cannot account for relocation of the toilet, and here is why.

The Toilet Stack

The toilet stack is a long, thick, wide, heavy duty, vertical pipe that goes up through the floor of your bathroom to meet the bottom of your toilet. When you flush, the waste travels down through the trap and through the opening in the floor into the toilet stack. The toilet stack takes the waste, via gravity, to the city sewer system (or septic tank, if applicable). The toilet stack cannot be moved, since you would have to rip up the floor in your basement or completely excavate under your home to lay new pipe for a newly-located stack.

Cold and Hot Water Valves Exist for the Shower/Tub and Sink

Virtually all of the rest of the bathroom plumbing is interchangeable. The sink, shower, and/or shower/tub all have cold and hot water valves and delivery pipes. If you ripped out the fixtures, you would find the same plumbing and drains for these fixtures.

That means that you can replace a sink and vanity with a shower stall, place your sink and vanity where the tub once was, add an additional sink and longer vanity to fill the old tub space, and even install a tub on a bare wall/floor. All of this plumbing works the same way and is connected. Installing additional cold and hot water valves, pipes, a drain, and connecting new plumbing to old is not that difficult.

The Hole in the Floor for the Toilet

Finally, the open hole in the floor for the toilet cannot simply be boarded over. It is the weakest point in the floor because it is open. Completely removing the old toilet stack below it does not help either. A contractor would have to gut your bathroom, rip out the entire floor, rebuild the floor, brace it from below, install a new toilet stack, and new toilet pipe to the sewer/septic tank, and then saw a fresh, new hole in the floor over the top of the new toilet stack before installing the toilet and moving other fixtures around. Not only is that a lot of work and expense, but it is also very dangerous and time consuming. Unless you have another full bathroom in your home, it is better to leave toilets where they are.