In order to install a bathroom on a first floor or basement with a slab, one must cut into the concrete.   This was basically the very first project I did at the new house.   It was most definitely daunting to move in, and then use a tile saw and cut through your floor!  After the initial shock of what I was doing began to wear away, the actual task became clearer.

concrete cuts with saw
lines cut into concrete by the concrete saw

I started by cutting out a small square around the septic pipe (stink pipe known by many).   I made the square large about  3 x 3 to give me ample room to tie into said stink pipe. I then cut a cross into this square to make the removal a little easier. Using a very fun jack hammer, I chipped away at the square until all the debris was broken up.  As I had just moved into this house I had basically no tools not even a garbage can or a wheelbarrow, either would have been immensely helpful.

JackHammering Concrete

So I was relegated to hauling the chunks out one by one for the larger ones and using a cardboard box for the rest.

After the initial hole was cut, I then cut two long channels, one for the toilet which in the pictures is the longer of the two and one for the sink plumbing.  I would say the most difficult part of doing this was knowing where they would go.  I had a rough bathroom design in my head.

Picking up concrete pieces

And to be fair this “rough” design came from weeks of toiling with graph paper and a pencil trying to come up with a design that would work.  I went around and around, not liking small things about each design.


Committing to a final design was tough, and i’m not entirely sure that I had at the point of cutting and digging, but I had to start somewhere.  My feeling was that I could easily fill back in if I needed to change something.

Tips and techniques for using these tools:

  • Cut like you would with a chain saw
  • Make sure your water stays flowing to the wet saw
  • Clean up your area beforehand as the wet saw will get everything wet
  • Don’t try to use it inside unless you really have to, or have tarps set up
  • Jack hammer?  Point and shoot.
  • Pick up the concrete.  Simple.


If you are considering putting a toilet in your downstairs basement, or in a concrete slab, don’t be afraid.  If you can get to your “stink pipe” with enough slope, then cut away.

Install plumbing into concrete slab for toilet, sink and shower
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