View Full Version : Relocate Toilet - Solid Slab Foundation

08-10-2005, 12:45 PM
I live in Florida where most homes are built on solid poured concrete slabs, and pipes are installed prior to this pouring. We just moved into a 1989 home in great condition with great views of a beautiful pond behind, but it has two small bathrooms. I have NO problem with removing and installing new walls, as many of my relatives are builders up north (Connecticut, Mass.) and I have experience with this. The "problem" comes with having to relocate the DWV for the toilet about five feet from where it currently is. I am going to re-tile the floor, but to "move" and re-install the trap and flange would obviously require quite a bit of cutting, chopping, and repouring a channel in the concrete slab floor. Am I a "fool" for even thinking of doing this ?? Am I opening up a big, big can of worms ?? Most of my life, with every project I started, I have always "first thought" it would be easy, cut and dry, only to have them blossom to the point of extreme frustration.

08-10-2005, 02:01 PM
Just finished doing the same thing - for the first time. It wasn't all that bad - but was a lot of work.

Make sure you know which direction the underground drain from the present toilet runs. Nothing more frustrating that cutting a hole and not finding the sewer line.

Plan on lots of dust from scoring the present concrete - and smell to permeate the house for a day or so --

I'm sure you'll get more advice from other "more qualified" people on this site... they've been invaluable to me.

08-15-2005, 03:00 PM
....Most of my life, with every project I started, I have always "first thought" it would be easy, cut and dry, only to have them blossom to the point of extreme frustration.
and your point is???? :D

the answer is "it depends." Largely it depends on where the new toilet will sit in relation to the old location. Is it moving along the same line as the existing drain (ie, you would shorten or lengthen the existing drain)? Or is this going to require a new run to the stack? Remember you want to keep the drain as straight as possible. And don't forget about the slope- if you (for example) are extending the current drain by 5' and there is a 1/4" per foot slope (is that right?) the new toilet flange would be 1-1/4" higher than the old one. Problem? you'll have to answer that one.

so like I said, "it depends." :rolleyes:

master plumber mark
08-15-2005, 03:37 PM
you can really get yourself into a mess moving
a pipe in a slab home....

if the heat runs are in the floor, they could be in the way

their could be water lines in the way too...

it really depends on how much you desire to do this move...

just about anything can be accomplished with some hard work
and a littte luck...

so it all depends on how lucky you are...

look at the mess I got myself into on my own personal project.....
scoll down to the bottom of this web page...
and see all the pipes I found in the way


08-15-2005, 06:33 PM
.... the extreme amount of difficulty and frustration a project like this can be. Luckily I am only moving the toilet about three feet from the original location, but more at the "end of the line" so to speak, so this new drain/waste pipe will actually be "higher" in pitch. Unfortunately this toilet relocation is the ONLY necessary evil to do to enable us to expand our very small Master Bathroom, presently 5 feet wide by about 11 feet long, into a new spacious, 11 foot wide by 16 foot long master bathroom, that will then have two nice large windows. I actually plan to remove a wall that presently separates the master bathroom from our very small dining room and eliminate the dining room altogether. We have a large eat-in-kitchen so we won't miss the dining room at all. The darn toilet is just in the "middle" of everything, and believe me, if I didn't have to move it I certainly wouldn't. I wish I had some "as-built" plans for this 1989 house or at very least a sketch of the DWV lines. Being very observant to many Florida slab constructed homes, I can almost tell where the drain line in our newly purchased home runs, but obviously it may have a slightly different path.
This "older" (1989) home actually has carpet in both bathrooms so once I tear it up, the raw slab is easily exposed. I was wondering if a Plumber can come over and actually "trace" the route of this drain pipe with a "meter" of some sorts.... something that follows water like the "call before you dig" people do?

master plumber mark
08-15-2005, 07:17 PM
if you are only going 3 feet

it honestly does not have to have any fall at all.

it will work fine even if it is running totally level

all the way . dont worry about it...

08-15-2005, 07:46 PM
........ but are there any "publications" or "guides" to properly instruct me in cutting into the slab so I won't crack it. I'm sure there is no water pipes and no re-bar where I will be cutting and hopefully no wire mesh under there. I have used water cooled, portable circular tile saws as well as masonary blades in standard circular saws many times before. In fact I spent four months (three years ago) constructing a Versa-Lok (split-face) stone wall (about 80 feet long by 5 feet high) and learned quite a bit about cutting, drilling and "splitting" concrete products. Should I invest in a good (used) "hammer-drill" or "air powered chisel" to actually break-out the concrete ?? Or just the old 20 pound hammer and 2" hand chisel ??

08-15-2005, 08:16 PM
why in the world would you buy a hammer when you can rent it for a few bucks? I know, I've occasionally purchased the big-ticket tools and resold later, but that was where I needed the tool for many days and rental fees got exhorbitant. You only need this thing for a day at most, especially if you do the saw thing first. My local Homer rented me an almost new Hilti 505 last week for less than 50 bucks for overnight (picked up at 6pm, returned by 9am). those things start at $1000 and go up quickly. :)

08-15-2005, 08:25 PM
Having just completed the same type project - I can tell you what worked for me...

Used a circular saw with masonry blades ( 10 blades for a 25 X 30 hole). Score the outline as deep as you can - I found 1 inch to be adaquate for a clean score on breakup. On one corner of the proposed cutout I went deeper - about 3 inches - and made a triangular cut big enough for the head of my sledge hammere. Once done with that I knocked out the triangle with a few good blows. Once that was out, I dug sand/gravel out from under the remaining portion of the cutout (to give the concrete some "give"). After that it was hammering/diigging/hammering/digging until my cutout was done. My 25 X 30 hole took about 3 hours and a bit of sweat. But all in all - not too bad. The only place I used a chisel was working close to the main stack (PVC). Other than that - a 9lb sledge did all the work.

The masonry blades kicked off tons of dust and the smell permeated the house for a full day.

Also - while I thought I knew intuitively which direction the main drain went - turns out I was wrong. Luckily my hole was big enough to reach it. Give yourself plenty of working room (make the cutout big enough to dig/cut and glue pipe/etc. Making it large enough now will save making it bigger later. You're only talking a couple more bags of Sacrete in the end.

Good luck... and stock up on some Ben-Gay

08-15-2005, 08:29 PM
....... I guess was thinking of a "small" hand held hammer drill, purchased used for like $75 - $100, something like the auto body shops used to cut steel. I'm sure that what alhurley is describing (Hilti 505) is ceratainly the professional (and easiest) way to go :) !! And YES, HD is okay for "tool rentals" too :D !!

08-15-2005, 08:36 PM
I would love to actually see some pictures. I'm a "nut" with the digital camera, photograph everything I do :D !!

I happen to find the following on a D.I.Y. forum:

As to finding an under slab line, contact a plumbing company that has a
SeeSnake with the locator accessory. It is a sewer line camera that the
locator can follow. There are other locators such as SubSite (by
DitchWitch) that can follow a beacon. They can usually also work
following a signal induced on a sewer maching cable.

You can sometimes get fairly close by following clues given by givens
such as clean outs, vent stacks, floor drains.

I know that currently here in this part of Florida they use that "greenish colored" 4" drain pipe, but I wonder exactly what drain pipe they used here back in 1989? I haven't removed the toilet yet, but I'm sure that will be the surest way to tell :D

08-16-2005, 05:40 AM
See my post "Would appreciate professional critique before inspection time" and also "More critique please" - located on this forum. Note the main drain comes off the stack at a 45 degree angle from the wall. I was expecting it to parallel the wall as the city sewer is actually "behind" the project area.

Of course, if you're moving an existing toilet, your "guestimate" will be easier. Start at the toilet stub - cutting out at least a foot in all directions (allowing cutting/glueing work).... then continue your cut to your new location. Be careful knocking concrete around the existing drain (that's where the chisel comes in - you don't want to shatter it to pieces - then again, you're going to take it out anyway so you don't need to preserve it...... then again, why take chances cracking the drain line....?

I wanted a pro's opinion of my plumbing work.....

master plumber mark
08-22-2005, 04:20 PM
sometimes you just got to get

Mid -evil on that floor and just use something

to beat the hell out of it....

a simple small or large sledje hammer and chisel sometimes
is the best way to go about work like this

you beat a small hole "Probe hole" through the concrete probably where

you want the new toilet to go then widen the hole

looking for trouble , then beat and dig work your way back

to the toilet location digging and widening the hole as needed..

cutting through someting with a saw is not good...

but chipping away at the floor with the chisel and sledje

you will discover all sorts of pleasent surprises without doing

major damage

08-23-2005, 07:51 AM
Unfortunately this toilet relocation is the ONLY necessary evil to do to enable us to expand our very small Master Bathroom, presently 5 feet wide by about 11 feet long, into a new spacious, 11 foot wide by 16 foot long master bathroom, that will then have two nice large windows.

I wish our main bathroom was "very small" like that. Its 5'x8'. The 2nd bathroom is smaller than that.

Removing a room in a house is not good for resale value IMO...

08-23-2005, 08:23 AM
IMO it depends on the house... In this day and time, a large - well done master bath is a huge selling point. Having numerous tiny rooms is "claustrophobic"........

08-23-2005, 08:47 AM
Anytime I cut a slab in somone's home, I call a concrete cutting contractor out.

He drives out with a large box van and brings in his choice of wet saws to do the job.
He has a large walk behind for really large jobs and smaller ones too.

These all work with a water hose attached to keep the diamond blade cool and to prevent dust.

He hands me the wet-vac, which I use the suck up the concrete slurry as he doing his cutting gig.

This takes almost no time, the cuts are straight and smooth, and there is never any dust.

The whole job takes less time than I would spend renting jackhammers and returning them.

There is no dust in the home and no smell.
If there is rebar or mesh, it's all cut smoothly.

I don't know why you would do it any other way.

08-23-2005, 09:03 AM
Awww. C'mon Terry - you're taking all the fun out of DIY....

master plumber mark
08-23-2005, 02:40 PM
yes when its a big big job

I have had had the concrete cutting

guys out too.........

its really the only way to go for something overwhelming...

but for only going 3 feet I guess it really all depends on

what their minimum price is.......

or how much you want to avoid useing a sledje hammer

Personally, I think its good to swing one once in a long while

because it definitely humbles you and makes

you remember how good you really got it.

naw, I am just kidding

08-25-2005, 11:17 AM
Terry is absolutely right for larger jobs. For a small job like this, you score with a circ saw (wet or dry) and break it with a rented good size electric jackhammer.

If you want to see how the drain pipe is run under the slab, get a plumber out with a sewer camera. You see every turn, T or Y and the distance to it.

Sledge? Well...sure, whatever your favorite method of self-abuse...

08-28-2005, 07:00 AM
If you want to see how the drain pipe is run under the slab, get a plumber out with a sewer camera. You see every turn, T or Y and the distance to it.

FANTASTIC idea ....... thanks !! Although it has been suggested in a few previous replies, I think this is the best (and surest) way to absolutely KNOW where the pipes are located and indirectly might even help indicate if any other "obstacles" will be in the way to make the relocation safe and easy (although cutting concrete and using a jackhammer is far from being an "easy" task :D )
In the house we just MOVED OUT OF I was very fortunate to have all the "as-built" blueprints, including electrical and plumbing, etc., in addition to hundreds of actual photos taken by the homeowners, from ground breaking to finished product. I was able to see every single DWV, water pipe, cleanouts, etc. before the slab was poured, after slab, as walls were being put up, etc., etc. Unfortunately with the house we just purchased in Plant City, all I have is the original sales brochure and survey map. :(

My Wife and I have been planning and designing this "newly remodeled master bath" for the past month and we must have gone through a dozen pads of paper (and half dozen arguments :mad: ) but all-in-all it is "fun" !!

I guess I can say "fun" NOW ...... just wait until the clouds of concrete dust fly through our house. But seriously, I plan to do like many commercial projects are done, with a "double door" effect made from heavy plastic, to help confine the dust and debris....... and now I can really get to try out my brand new Shop-Vac :)

08-28-2005, 07:16 AM
Make sure that when you use your new vac... that you use the paper filter that came with it when sucking up fine dust... otherwise, you just recycle it through the house....

08-28-2005, 11:53 AM
also put a fan in the window blowing out. a must when doing demo!

08-28-2005, 01:18 PM
........ a GREAT suggestion....... a nice, powerful window fan pushing out the airborne particles. THANKS !! :)

......... and THANKS for the "heads up" about the Shop-Vac filter ....... ;)

After once spending a summer making a Versa-Lok splitface block wall (85 lbs. each block) with over 250 blocks.... grinding, cutting and more grinding almost 50% of these solid concrete blocks so they will "fit".... the dust it made OUTDOORS was incredible. Traveled for hundreds of feet onto neighbors houses, Lanai's and pools. Even the OSHA dust mask I was constantly wearing clogged every five minutes, and I actually "wore out" (due to abrasion) two pairs of prescription glasses (luckily they were those two for $49.95 "specials"). Concrete "dust" can be really nasty......... yes sir !!