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How To Paint Behind A Toilet

A freshly painted bathroom for article- how to paint behind a toilet

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Are you all set and ready to start painting your bathroom but then find yourself wondering How To Paint Behind A Toilet?

The tight space behind the toilet is the toughest portion of your bathroom to tackle, creating issues when it comes to dusting and painting.

If the toilet tank is positioned not completely flush to the wall, it leaves little to no room to maneuver a roller or paintbrush.

If you are giving your bathroom a fresh coat of paint, you don’t want to ruin the finished look by missing the section behind your toilet.

You can freshen up behind your toilet without removing the tank, but you can also do it this way if you find it easier to remove the tank.

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to paint behind a toilet with and without removing the tank, as well as some guidance around what makes the best quality paint for a bathroom.

What Is The Best Paint For Bathrooms?

A fresh coat of paint is a great way to reinvent or give your bathroom a fresh look. Whether you aim for a relaxing vibe or a bright space to begin your day, the right shade and finish of paint can add to your desired look.

Bathrooms tend to produce high levels of humidity and dampness. Moisture from steamy showers or sink splashes on the wall can create bubbling and peeling, which is a texture you don’t want to see bursting through your bathroom walls.  

Therefore, picking out durable paints and primers to withstand these common bathroom conditions is important to get the most out of your bathroom.

The paint you choose needs to be designed to withstand the combination of the factors above. Choosing paint with anti-microbial preservatives and interior paint with a high gloss finish will repel moistures better than matte paints.

Remember: Start with your selected primer, ensuring it is moisture resistant. Selecting the best-quality primer will help to prevent water damage and paint peeling for years.

Latex Paint

While oil-based paints are recognized for their durability and ability to withstand cleaning and scrubbing, they are not the best paint type for your bathroom.

Oil-based paints release volatile organic compounds, and as you are working in a confined space, which will reduce air circulation, the fumes may be too much.

Latex-based paint is a much better pick for bathrooms, and durability levels and resistance from moisture are improving.

Picking out washable paint will help to prevent water from penetrating or soaking through your painted area, allowing you to clean your painted area without worrying about moisture ruining your paintwork.

Glossy Finish

Choosing paint with a high-gloss finish is typically moisture-resistant. Once the paint is cured, glossy finishes for a hard coating that will block out water.

The hard coating will allow the water produced from steamy showers or sink splashes to drop to the floor rather than seep into your bathroom walls.

Low-gloss paints tend to absorb moisture, which is a big no for your bathroom, so picking out a glossy finisher will preserve your bathroom from any damp.

Why Should I Paint The Wall Behind My Toilet?

Preparing tools to begin painting- for article, how to paint behind a toilet

Finding yourself looking at your bathroom and wondering how to paint behind your toilet or why you even need to paint there because nobody really sees it?

But learning how to paint behind a toilet with/without removing the toilet tanks will immediately enhance the overall look of your bathroom’s interior design.

Here are two main reasons why freshening up behind your toilet is an essential task to complete:

  1. Painting around your toilet, with the correct paints, helps to protect against any build of moisture.
  2. It’s the final touch to your bathroom, it brightens it up and makes it look complete. As well as create a more pleasant look than peeling paint.

Tools Needed To Paint Behind A Toilet:

Painting behind your toilet requires some basic tools, some cleaning and prepping- just as with all paint jobs- and just a couple of minutes of work.

  • Interior paint primer
  • Interior paint
  • Mild detergent
  • Cellulose sponge
  • Terry cloths
  • Painter’s mask
  • Drop cloth
  • Plastic sheet or Tarp
  • Garbage bag
  • Tape
  • Mini paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • 3 “- wide paintbrush(foam)
  • 1″-wide angled paintbrush

How To Paint Behind A Toilet- Without Removing Tank

Painting behind your toilet is one of the toughest areas to repaint simply because it’s hard to quickly move your hands in such a compacted space.

Some people find it easier to completely remove the tank when painting behind your toilet, and some people leave the tank connected.

We will explore both methods to let you discover what method suits you when figuring out how to paint behind a toilet.

Always begin with painting the entire bathroom before starting on your toilet but make sure it’s covered with a drop cloth.

Before you begin:

Bathrooms tend to be in small and confined spaces, which usually means poor air circulation. Wearing a painter’s mask in your confined space may be preferred to prevent paint fume inhalation.

Bath maths, towels, and shower curtains absorb and store moisture, contributing to humidity levels.

To ensure good ventilation, which will help to reduce paint drying times, remove any floor rugs, towels, and your shower curtain. Opening your bathroom window can also help to improve ventilation.

If you have a plugin in your bathroom, you can also plug in a small fan.

Extra Tip: You want to save your toilet till last because it’s a tight space to cover and requires patience and attention to detail.

Step 1: Prepare and Dust behind the toilet

cleaning and preparing a toilet with a cellulose sponge and detergent

Like any painting task, prepping and thoroughly cleaning the area is essential to allow the paint to adhere to the surface.

Using a mild cleanser and a cellulose sponge, remove any dust and dirt from the wall, floor, and toilet surfaces. Once you’re happy that your toilet is clean, using a terry cloth dry the area fully.

Note to Self: Don’t forget to clean the trim behind the toilet during your prep and clean process. If the trim isn’t completely dust and dirt-free, then the painter’s tape won’t stick, resulting in messy paint splodges all over your toilet base.

Step 2: Remove the toilet tank lid and cover the floor

Remove the toilet tank lid and put it somewhere safely outside of your bathroom. Cover the open basin with an extra-large plastic garbage bag to prevent any paint spills and secure it with painter’s tape.

Be sure to tape the bag around the toilet base and pay close attention to cover up any exposed areas like piping where paint spills can land.

Pointer: You’ll easily find resistant clean-up garbage bags at any local home improvement store in sizes up to 50 gallons.

To avoid any paint spillages from staining your floor, use a large plastic sheet or tarp, cover the floor around your toilet and secure with painter’s tape again.

Step 3: Prime

Before you get into the main painting, pour your primer into your paint tray. You want to start with one or two coats of a high-quality primer to maximize paint adhesion.

  • As you are painting behind a tight spot, a narrow or mini paint roller will be most ideal to apply the primer around the shape of your toilet.

Hot Tip: Rolling with the metal frame on the outer side will allow you to get as close as possible to the wall behind your covered tank.

  • Now using your 3″-wide paintbrush you can begin to apply primer behind the toilet. It’s important to load just one side of your foam paintbrush to create a smooth application.

Once you reach the back of the toilet, ensure the paint-covered side of the brush is facing the wall and apply in small gentle strokes.

Hot Tip: If your paintbrush is dripping, it means you have too much paint on your brush, so try to remove some paint to stop the drips.  

  • To reach the tighter and more detailed areas behind your toilet, such as pipework, you’ll want to use your 1″-wide angled brush,

Did You Know: Bathrooms tend to absorb a lot of moisture in the walls; therefore, priming is essential. Primers tend to work as a type of glue or sealant and help provide you with a smooth and clean area for the paint to bind to.

Step 4: Paint

Drying time will vary depending on the humidity and temperature level of your bathroom, but you must let the primer dry thoroughly dry before you start painting.

Refer to your paint tin to determine the manufacture’s suggested drying times between coats and before applying paint.

You can follow the same guidelines as you did to prime your toilet, starting with your mini roller to cut in around the shape of your toilet, followed by a 3″- wide paintbrush to fully reach behind the toilet creating a smooth application, and finally use your 1″-wide angled brush to cover the finer details.

Fact: Generally, you can leave the first coat of paint to dry for around 6 hours before applying another coat.

Place your finger gently on the painted area to check if the area is fully dry. If it’s still feeling tacky, leave it to dry for an extra hour.

Round-up: If unsure about drying times for either your primer or paint- check out the manufacturer’s guide on your tin and follow the instructions there. It is always best to be sure than to guess and potentially ruin your coats.

Step 5: Remove the garbage bag and replace the toilet lid

After waiting for your final coat to dry and checking by placing your finger lightly on the wall, you can now remove the garbage bag used to cover the toilet and replace the toilet lid.

Now you’re all done, clean up any accidental paint splodges and step back and admire your newly painted bathroom.

How To Paint Behind A Toilet- With Removing Tank

showing the water pipe that needs to be removed when removing the toilet tank

Step  1: Stop the water flow

To remove the water tank, it is vital to turn off the water to prevent it from following into the tank. It would help if you looked for a valve usually coming out the wall behind the toilet.

There will already be water in your tank, so you need to flush the toilet until the tank is empty.

Look towards the bottom left side of the water tank. You should find a water hose that needs to be unscrewed and disconnected.

Step 2: Detach the tank

Most toilet water tanks are attached using plastic bolts and plastic nuts. To remove the bolts and nuts, you’ll need to look directly under the two sides of the tank and unscrew them both.

Once disconnected, you should be able to lift the tank gently off the bowl.

If you are worried about any leaking, you can place the tank in a large garbage bag or inside your bathtub to prevent any leakages.  

Step 3: Paint your bathroom wall behind the toilet

You can now start painting behind your toilet, following the same steps as painting the toilet with the tank.

This should be a more straightforward task as the space will no longer be as tight and confined.

Step 4: Reattach the tank

After you have finished priming and painting behind the toilet and the paint is fully dry, you can reattach the tank to the bowel.

Gather your plastic nuts and bolts and tighten the tank to the bowl directly under the two sides of the tank. Reattach the water hose to the bottom left side of the tank. Ensure everything is fully secure and you are all finished.

Don’t Forget: The last step is to turn the water back on and give the toilet a test flush to make sure everything works as it should. 

We Hope You Learned How to Paint Behind a Toilet

Painting behind your toilet is a job you may be putting off, but it is an essential task that must be completed to add the final touch to your bathroom.

We’ve presented you with two methods of How to Paint Behind a Toilet and hope you can find the best approach to tackle this job.

Ensure you thoroughly prep and clean behind your toilet, removing any dust or dirt to create the best possible surface to paint application.

Carefully choose a paint and primer that repel moisture, which will prevent your wall from soaking up water and damaging your paint. Remember, glossy paints are a lot better than matte paint.

If you prefer to get the painting out of the way all at once, there’s a guide to figure out how frequently you should repaint your house or if you just want to focus on your completing your bathroom there’s a guide for that too.

Paul with Trusted House Painter Explains some Key Tips on How to Paint Behind a Toilet.

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