Ever wonder what kind of wallpaper a bathroom once had? Try looking behind the toilet tank, where you'll often see a patch of faded or painted-over paper. Removing wallpaper from behind a toilet tank is a challenge for many do-it-yourselfers, who try to squeeze their hands back there to scrape, pull or scrub away the paper and glue. But there's a much easier way: Simply remove the tank. If you've never taken apart a toilet, that may sound intimidating, but anyone can do it.
Things You'll Need
- Sponges, rags or a wet-dry vacuum
- Large flat-bladed screwdriver
- Hex wrench
- Channel locks
- Toilet hardware kit (if necessary)
- Stool gasket
Shut off the water supply to the toilet. There should be a valve where the supply line comes in from the wall. Turn it counter-clockwise all the way.
Take off the tank top and set it aside.
Flush the toilet and hold the lever down so as much water drains out as possible.
Use sponges, rags or a wet-dry vacuum to get the remaining water out of the bottom of the tank.
Lay a towel beneath the back of the toilet to catch any water that may be in the fill valve.
Disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the toilet. The coupling can often be unscrewed by hand. Use channel locks if necessary.
Remove the bolts holding the tank to the bowl.
Pull off the tank and set it aside.
Strip the wallpaper the same way you did in the rest of the room.
Inspect the hardware you removed earlier. If the bolts are badly corroded or the rubber washers are eroded, buy a replacement toilet hardware kit at a hardware store.
Replace the stool gasket--the rubber ring where the tank meets the bowl. Replacement gaskets are available at all hardware and home improvement stores.
Replace the tank by following the removal directions in reverse order.
Tips & Warnings
- If you're having trouble removing the toilet bolts, hold a large flat-bladed screwdriver in the slot on the top of a bolt, then use a hex wrench to turn the nut underneath the toilet.
- Patch the wall while the tank is off. If you have another bathroom in the house and can leave the toilet out of commission for a while, then leave the tank off so you can prime and paint--or put up new wallpaper--on all of the walls at once.
- You can still use the toilet even with the tank removed. To flush, simply fill a bucket with about 1.5 gallons of water from the tub spout and pour into the bowl. The toilet will flush itself.
- If there's no shutoff valve at the toilet, shut off the main water valve.
- When replacing the tank, don't over-tighten the bolts. Doing so can crack the porcelain.
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