Vinyl floor tiles are a fast and easy way to change the look of a room. They are ideal for bathrooms because they are water resistant and when laid properly will protect the sub-floor from water damage. They are easy to shape for placement around objects because all you need are scissors. But, in order to get a good fit around an odd shape, such as your toilet base, you need to start with a good pattern.
You have a choice when it comes to laying vinyl tiles around your toilet base. You can cut the tiles precisely to fit right up against the edges of the base, you can loosen the toilet and slip the tiles under the edge, or you can remove the toilet and place tiles up to and around the outflow pipe. Each of these methods has pros and cons.
Cutting the tiles to fit neatly and precisely around the base is the hardest choice for executing a finished look. Both methods that require you to move the toilet base can result in a leaky toilet if not done right, but will look much more finished.
Cutting the Tiles around the Base
If you choose to cut the tiles and butt them against the base, you will need to create a pattern. Start with copy paper. Put the paper on the floor with about one-half of it up against the base. Tape the part on the floor down firmly. With your hand or a large blade putty knife, smooth the paper from the taped edge toward the toilet base. When you reach the base, crease the paper against the edge forming a mold of the base. Remove the paper and cut carefully around the edge that you created. Slip the paper back against the base and make any adjustments needed. Tape the paper to a piece of cardboard, trace your pattern and cut the cardboard. This is your pattern to use for the vinyl tile.
Loosen the Toilet
Your toilet is held on the outflow pipe with two bolts. Sometimes the bolts have plastic covers on them that you will have to remove. The covers either twist off or there is a small gap at the bottom that you slide a flat-blade screwdriver into and pop off. Loosen the bolts just enough to rock the toilet enough to slip the tile under it. Measure the width from the last tile applied to just under the base using a thin metal ruler. Cut just enough of the tile away so that 1/2 inch is under the base of the toilet. Hand tighten the bolts back down. Don't tighten with a wrench! The base is porcelain and you can crack it if you tighten the bolts too much.
Remove the Toilet
Only do this if you are familiar with replacing the seal on a toilet. It will give you the most professional look to your tile installation, but until someone goes to replace the tile again, no one will know you took the trouble.
Depending on your strength, you might need two people for this. Turn off the water supply to the toilet and unhook the supply line. Drain the toilet by flushing until most of the water is out. Unbolt the toilet from the floor. Lift the toilet from the outflow pipe and move it out of the room. Clean the exposed floor before installing the tile.
To make a pattern to cut the tile around the outflow pipe, measure the diameter to the outer edge of the collar around the outflow pipe. Mark the pattern on cardboard with a compass set at 1/2" bigger than the circumference of the collar. Cut the circle out. Cut and place your tiles using the pattern.