Bathroom renovations!
February 4, 2007 11:47 AM   Subscribe

How do I remove a recessed toilet paper holder?

My friend wants to replace the recessed toilet paper holder in his bathroom. How does he go about doing this without tearing apart the entire wall?
posted by Felicity Rilke to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Typically, you tear apart just the part of the wall where the holder used to be. Unless for some reason it's more complicated than all this, just treat it like a standard drywall repair job: cut out a square slightly larger than what you're replacing and slip in a new piece of drywall the exact same size. Tape, mud and paint and you're done.
posted by rhizome at 11:54 AM on February 4, 2007

Oh, wait..."replace"? Is there a reason why they can't just slide in a new holder? You can use the drywall-repair method above if the new holder is smaller than the old one, or enlarge the hole if it's larger (natch).
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on February 4, 2007

Response by poster: How is the holder anchored in the wall though? Do you just cut out the piece of drywall with the holder, or is there something more keeping it in place?

The plan is to remove the current recessed ceramic holder, patch the drywall, and replace it with a non-recessed wall-mounted holder.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 11:59 AM on February 4, 2007

Need more info. Is the wall tiled? Tile is a problem (according to my handman father who is, as I write this, remoing a ceiling so that he can replace it with ceiling he likes better).

Assuming the surronding area is not tile, the next question is what the paper holder is made of.

Ceramic might be glued in, and need to be smashed out. A metal holder might yank out or be held in by a single screw.

Really it can depend a lot on the make and who put it in. Any chance of a better description or perhaps photos?
posted by tiamat at 12:01 PM on February 4, 2007

Ah, didn't see your comment where you said ceramic; my handyman dad says that ceramic is almost certainly glued in. (Not like you can put a screw though it, afterall.)

If it's drywall with no tiles you MIGHT be able to just yank it out, assuming the glue assumption is correct.

Alternately, you can use a 'cold chisal' to break the ceramic up without risking damaging the surronding area.
posted by tiamat at 12:04 PM on February 4, 2007

Best answer: Ceramic might just be grouted in. I just checked my (metal) TP holder and there is just a metal bracket sort of tacked into place that the holder screws into this for stability. If there are no screws I'd think that there's just some minimal means of attachment. I'd say just cut around and free the outside edge/lip and see if it's still holding on from somewhere inside.
posted by rhizome at 1:02 PM on February 4, 2007

You don't have to save the old one, so that makes it a little easier.

Wear safety glasses or goggles. Normal glasses are not safety glasses. Anyone near should, too.

I'd put duct tape on the surface and break it in place, using a punch or cold chisel... not a
woodworking one
, but a metal chisel.

If you are gentle, you can remove it without making too much of a mess. You need only use enough force to crack it. Were I doing it, I'd deliver my first blows horizontally to the wall and towards the center of the fixture. You can crack the adjacent tiles if you're not careful; aim the chisel away from areas you want to protect and toward areas you want to destroy.

Wear safety glasses!
posted by FauxScot at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2007

sorry... my links did not work.
posted by FauxScot at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2007

I just did exactly this in my bathroom last month and all I had to do was take a razer knife with a fresh blade and cut out around the holder. It takes a couple of passes with the knife through the drywall to cut 1/2 an inch deep but once I had cut all around, it fell right out. The whole operation took about three minutes. That was the easy part.

Then I had a big hole in the to fill in. What I did was, cut a piece of drywall about two inches bigger than the hole in both dimensions. Then I put two screws in this piece near the center to act as a handle. Then I ran a bead of liquid nail around the facing edge of this piece and slipped it into the hole on the diagonal and holding it with the two screws, pulled it hard against the back of the wall board so that it filled the hole and held it there until the liquid nail set up enough to hold it in place.

The next day I took the screws out and used powered drywall compound to fill in the half inch depression to be flush with the rest of the wall and once that set up, put another coat of normal wet drywall compound. Waited another day, sanded with 120 grit sandpaper, primed, two coats of paint, screwed the new surface mount paper holder on.
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 PM on February 4, 2007

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