We recently did some remodeling, and in the process, managed to hook up the toilet in the bathroom to the hot-water line. The trouble is, we discovered this fact after we had already put down the plywood, cement board, and then floor-leveling compound (The floor is very sturdy, let me tell you!)

What's the easiest way to tear down back to the studs? The initial floor removal was messy and lots of saw-zalling, but since we were going to replace it anyway it wasn't a big deal.


It's a second floor bathroom. All the water lines run through the floor of the room. They actually run in a U, from the corner where the lines come up next to the main drain, along the outer wall, then to the sink where they T-off. From there, it goes to the end of tub/shower wall, where they then go up into the wall where the tub faucet/valve is. Then from there, up into the wall to the showerhead.

The ceiling on the floor below is the ancient lathe/plaster (Although it might just be lathe) with a covering of tin tiles/sheets/sheets that look like tiles.



After some convincing, we've opened up the toilet-side of the shower wall (It's one whole piece), and put a T-fitting into the shower's cold line. The new line pokes out the side and into the toilet as opposed to from the floor, but at last it's cold water, haha. Thanks for all the help guys and gals and those of an unspecified gender!

  • Its not a disaster to use hot water: some installations deliberately mix in hot to cold to minimize tank sweating, especially in the basement.
    – HerrBag
    Aug 28, 2013 at 17:49
  • Can you access it from the ceiling below, or a wall behind?
    – BMitch
    Aug 28, 2013 at 17:50
  • 6
    Ceiling repair is much easier than leveled floor and subfloor, IMHO.
    – HerrBag
    Aug 28, 2013 at 19:03
  • 1
    What is keeping you from tapping into the cold line at the top of your picture? Cut open ceiling from below, run it under to toilet. So you would have minor drywall in the wall to fix and a tiny bit of ceiling right?
    – DMoore
    Aug 30, 2013 at 15:24
  • 1
    Since you have tin it should be easier. Your lathe/plaster refinish just has to be flat, not look good since the tin will cover.
    – DMoore
    Aug 30, 2013 at 18:54

4 Answers 4


Open shower wall.

Cut hot line in wall and cap it.

Cut cold line in wall.

Put a T on cold line.

Connect cold line to shower.

Connect cold line to toilet.

Repair wall.

Sit on toilet and notice the bad repair job you did on wall.

  • You can almost for sure use the existing hot line to toilet in this situation so make sure you cap it to give yourself room to connect it in the wall for the cold side.
    – DMoore
    Aug 30, 2013 at 19:09
  • The wall is actually one piece of drywall about 4 feet tall, so we actually were able to pull it off without much damage. And the toilet line is actually T-ed off under the floor, so we're going to leave it poked under the floor until we redo the ceiling downstairs.
    – Justin C
    Sep 6, 2013 at 13:24

As HerrBag suggested, it's much easier to go through the ceiling below than to open up the floor. Cut open the ceiling back to a joist on each side, do your plumbing repairs there, and install some replacement drywall. You'll have to mud the joints, which is a bit of an art to make them disappear. And then prime/paint your patch.

Trying to tear out the floor from above would require removing everything that's on the floor, it's much more costly to replace the flooring, and structurally you don't want a lot of joints in your subfloor.


I assume that the hot water and cold water run up to the bathroom through the wall on the first floor? If so, cut a hole in that wall and cut your water pipes. Then connect them back together but swap the hot and cold. Depending on your home construction, it might even be possible/easier to do this from the basement or crawlspace. Swapping under the sink should be a piece of cake; worst case scenario you need longer flexible lines. For the shower, open the wall behind the shower control and cut and swap those lines, too.


Install an icemaker on the wall above the tank. Run the hot water line in a coil through the ice.

  • That sounds cold ass hell.
    – DMoore
    Aug 30, 2013 at 19:47
  • On the plus side, you get ice conveniently located near the shower for maximum prank throughput. I'm all about maximizing the prank throughput.
    – longneck
    Aug 30, 2013 at 20:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.