View Full Version : Builder Cements Kohler Toilets to Ceramic Tile-how to Remove..?

10-01-2011, 04:47 PM
Hi Terry (and gang)...

Long time lurker on the board...Lots of great people and posts!.

My problems intensified lately when my wife wanted an Electronic Bidet for the MBR toilet....NP....So I check the make of my Toilet and it is a circa 2000 Kohler Rosario(a Rialto with "batwing"s) that you can only fit two e-bidets on-one of which is discontinued the other is 800 bucks.

Well...as Terry probably knows well the Kohler Rosario is bar none the most god awful toilet ever designed. The only way it could be worse if the Builder used Grout(aka portland cement) to shim the base as I am surmising the PVC flange was too high(by 3/8") on all toilets and being on a slab means "raising "the toilet by setting it, during install in a layer of grout to relieve the pressure on the flange.

After getting excited about smashing these Kohlers w/a hammer and throwing in Three Ultramax's I realized the base max width on the U-Max is 9" and 10.5" on he Kohler.


I've read I have little to zero chance getting that grout off a glazed tile(s); I don't want to lose $$$ and a 700MAP by switching to an expensive skirted TOTO.

I need a toilet with a based width of 11"(no Soiree priced units are within my reach x 3)and I bet the Kohler I have has a MAP of 150 so any brand would be a rescue.

Long to short....anyone know a Toilet with a descent MAP that exceeds 10.5" or any idea how to get grout off glazed ceramic tile?

Thanks for your help and have a great evening!

Regards....Greg in South Carolina.

10-01-2011, 04:56 PM
Unless it's some super epoxy grout, I can't see it sticking to the glaze so well that it cannot be removed. A little elbow grease and some muriatic acid should do it.

10-01-2011, 08:23 PM
I took a Dremel tool with a carbide bit to the 3/8" thick grout and smoked the bit. After Portland has 10 yrs to set up on even glazed tile you(I) may get the grout out but the lime (Calcium Oxide) in the grout may have faded a "ring around the base" into the tile so that if I use a 9" Ultramax I'll have a 3/4" Halo in the tile where the 10.5" Kohler base used to set on the black tile-hence the need for a 11" wide based (god forbid Kohler or American Standard) toilet with a decent MaP...eg....Some of the Kohler Cimarrons have a MaP of >=800 to 1000

I just wonder WHY the current toilets were suspended 3/8" in the air; unless the closet flange was too high(can't push that down once the slab is poured around onto the Schedule 40 waste drain pipe.

Here's a pic......I tilted the bolt cap up for contrast.

Check out how thick the grout is!

10-02-2011, 01:25 AM
If you can't get the grout off, you may be retiling anyway.

10-02-2011, 07:59 AM
If you can't get the grout off, you may be retiling anyway.

Hi Terry.....

And lowering the flanges too; as I would have to use rubber mat to raise the toilet if I did not.

That is why I asked for a non skirted toilet w/a wide base(wider thatn 10.5").

I am definitely not a plumber; but as an engineer (non hourly paid) we think in a parallel process; not serial. If I do not have all the contingencies covered such as lowering the flange on the PVC waste pipe-I am in the same situation I was before...Re-tiling or not.

What has gone from what would be a 45 min DIY (per unit)job costing 1100 for three TT U-Max's could spiral into a nightmare of several trips and over 1 thousand in labor for plumber and tile replacement.

I can't go down one path at a time and this looks to be way beyond my skill set scope.

Being a Yankee in SC we get HAMMERED by plumbers (no offense to any plumbers) and I get quotes 3x what I use to pay in a Unionized State; here in a "right to work" state.

I may have to research this further as there seems to be no direct answer to my situation.

(Paragraph deleted)
If you want to advertise for my competition at "my" business location, then get them to buy advertising from me first. Terry Love



10-02-2011, 10:40 AM
You don't know for sure the flange is too high, until you pull the toilet.
I'm a "I need to see the real deal" before I make a judgement.

If this is in fact on slab and the flange is too high in the concrete, I wouldn't faze me in the least to take a sawzall out and cut the flange down, and then use a repair ring to hold the closet bolts. You still have a 3" pipe in the ground and a 2" toilet outlet with a 2-5/8" horn that easily fits into a 3-0" pipe.
We do that all the time if needed. A repair ring picked up at the hardware store is a handy thing. I put them down with a rotohammer and inserts. It's called, getting it done.

You big problem is the grout. It either comes off with an acid wash, or it doesn't.

If you need a wider base, options are Soiree, Guinevere, and farther down the list, Clayton, Dartmouth.

10-02-2011, 11:48 AM

Thanks-that advice was golden-in all your experience have you ever heard of this happening on a Slab foundation?

Thank goodness I have a couple cases of matching tile after 10 years.....

I am going to order the Ultramax's and do this one at a time. I was going to pull one from the far guest bedroom but then I am opening pandoras box on a Sunday-I'll wait till I have toilets in hand.

BTW....My builder was notorious for short cuts and I can't imagine why the bowl is riding 3/8" high unless the flange is simply riding in air because he neglected to remove the 2x8 frame (placed before slab pour) and fill the void with cement before he laid the tile. Long to short.....the cement is bearing the weight/leveling and the PVC flange is simply for drainage-no weight bearing.
But you are right...you won't know till it is off!

Thanks again...



PS...The good news is I believe a 500lb person could not break my wax ring!

10-02-2011, 01:04 PM
If a toilet actually rests on a flange, it will either break the wax seal or the toilet...a toilet flange is designed to sit on top of the finished floor. If it is, any toilet should fit over it and sit on the floor. There is a gap, and that gap is then filled with the wax ring being smushed while setting the toilet. If you wanted to get creative, there are lots of things you could use underneath a toilet to raise it. I wouldn't use grout, as you may crack the toilet trying to get it off. But, you could have a solid surface material (Corian, Silestone, etc.) cut and the edge polished to match the base in the proper thickness. The best thing, though, is to reset the flange. Depending on what you have, this may be a DIY'er operation. It looks like sanded grout, and that might scratch the tile when trying to remove it. Once the toilet is up, a low angle whack with a chisel may break the bond. If you can wait overnight, a rag soaked with vinegar may just disolove enough of the calcium carbonate in the grout to let you scrape the rest off if you can't get it with say a putty knife. Muriatic acid would work, but makes a lot more fumes (and would be faster).

10-02-2011, 01:46 PM
Thanks Jim....

All excellent points!

My builder had a "cement fetish" as he cemented the sills(instead of using brick rowlock) on our in swing french doors(3 sets) to the outside raised patio and it took extreme force to remove the cement sill support and swap in brick before I could rip out the door(S) jam/sill and rerough the openings for the new gliders.

This house is so prototypical(steel framed) that I am in a constant state of fixing things done out of code and common sense. He had hid the grout with latex caulk so it took me a while to discover this epic error.

Terry's right-won't know till the toilet's up and the state of the tile. I am more worried about the Calcium Oxide discoloring the tile after 10 years.

But we shall see....

I have to re-study my Acid Chemistry..If Vinegar will work...Glacial Acetic will chew it (CaC03) in 5 minutes but won't dissolve sand. HF acid will dissolve Silicon Dioxide; but that's quite risky and would destroy the tile.

Thanks again for the recommendations---xlnt advice!



10-02-2011, 02:33 PM
Remove the 'glue', and you can brush away the sand...

It depends on the tile, whether there'll be any problems.