How to lay vinyl tile around a toilet in a bathroom

Laying vinyl tiles around a column or other obstacles with parallel edges is fairly straightforward, but working around a curved surface of a toilet base is a challenge. One way of overcoming the problem is to uncouple the toilet, remove the bolts holding it to the floor and use the base as a template. Although this ensures a perfect fit, there is an easier way of getting the job done without plumbing expertise or heavy lifting.

Lay vinyl tiles across the bathroom floor, leaving a square opening around the toilet. Cut a straight line two-thirds through the centre of a 20-inch square of kraft paper with a pair of scissors. Fold the edges of the cut up so that the paper straddles the toilet base. Line the bottom edge of the paper up with an existing tile, and tape the paper to the floor with masking tape.

Run the ball of your thumb around the surface of the paper along the junction between the toilet base and the floor to make a provisional crease. Work in small sections at a time. Make a number of progressive cuts from the edge of the paper down to the crease so that the paper opens up like flower petals as you work.

Press the edge of your thumb nail into the crease to intensify it. Scribe a pencil line around the crease to mark off a preliminary template.

Cut out the preliminary template carefully with a pair of scissors. Place the template over the toilet base to check the fit. Mark off any overlapping sections with the pencil. Trim the overlaps and test fit. Mark any remaining gaps between the edge of the cut-out and the toilet base by tracing a line on the paper to represent the gaps.

Lay the preliminary template on a fresh square of kraft paper and use it as a guide to trace out a new outline. Carefully cut out the second template and test fit. If it is not a perfect fit, you may have to refine the outline by trimming the edges and/or preparing a third template.

Fit the final template over the base of the toilet and tape the edges down on the surface of adjacent tiles. Place a straightedge on the template and mark off the edges of the square gap of bare floor around the toilet base with a pencil. Cut the template to fit into the gap.

Cut the template into squares the same size as the tiles. Mark each tile to be cut with its own individual template using the tip of a sharp grease pencil or fine-tipped felt pen. Warm the tile gently with a heat gun prior to cutting. Cut the tiles with a pair of dolphin-nosed tin snips. Test fit each individual tile before gluing it down.

Pour a modest amount of flooring adhesive into the section of bare floor around the base of the toilet. Drag the adhesive by pulling the notched trowel across the floor at a 45-degree angle, while maintaining contact between the teeth of the trowel and the floor.

Position each tile with its straight edges butted firmly against adjacent tiles. Bed the tiles in by pushing a rubber roller across the surface in both directions while applying downward pressure with the roller. Wipe off excess adhesive with a damp rag.

Apply a thin bead of silicone sealant around the base of the toilet with a caulking gun. Press the sealant into the joint with your forefinger. Keep your finger wet by dipping it into water and running the tip along the surface of the compound while pressing inward. Start at the back of the toilet and work your way around, leaving a neat concave joint behind while pushing excess silicone ahead of your finger. Carefully wipe surface residue from the edge of the joint with a damp rag.

Things You'll Need

  • Kraft paper
  • Pair of scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Straightedge
  • Grease pencil or fine-tipped felt pen
  • Heat gun
  • Dolphin-nosed tin snips
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About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.