How To Guides

How to Access a Concealed Cistern Toilet

A concealed cistern is a relatively modern way of allowing you to attach the toilet pan to the wall for a floating effect. With the bulky cistern and pipework tucked away behind the wall, it creates a more spacious feeling and makes cleaning around it easier.

But what if something starts playing up and you need to access the cistern for an adjustment or repair? The more popular concealed cisterns have become over recent years, the more ingenious those access panels have become – and it’s often hard to tell how and where you should try and get behind them, especially when you’re staring at a featureless tiled wall. It’s going to take a bit of detective work on your part, but we’re going to help reveal the secrets of how to access a concealed cistern:


Type 1 – A concealed cistern in a cabinet

These types of unit are usually pretty easy to get into even if they look seamless, because the access panels in most are only secured by clips.

  1. See if there’s a panel you can pop off on the top or front. Gently levering one edge with a screwdriver should pop it out of the clips so you can get behind. BUT…
  2. On some products the flush button is screwed into the cistern behind, so that panel won’t come off until you remove the button.
  3. If the button is round, grip the sides and gently unscrew it anti-clockwise. If it’s a rectangular panel, slide it upwards to release it, or try lifting the cover plate gently with the edge of a flat-headed screwdriver and it should pop off. Buttons may be connected to air hoses that you might need to disconnect before you try removing the panel.
  4. Once the button is off, you should be able to leaver or lift the panel off clips or brackets and gain access to the cistern inside.

Type 2 – A concealed cistern behind a wall

Wall hung toilets are mounted on a frame that’s attached to the timber studs behind the wall. The plasterboard and tilting is installed over it with a hidden access panel.

  1. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a system that has an access panel behind the flush panel.
  2. If this is the case, all you’ll need to do is slide the flush panel firmly upwards to remove it from the wall.
  3. Behind, you’ll see the two flushing rods, which can be removed by turning them anticlockwise and pulling them out.
  4. If the reason you want to get to the cistern in the first place is because not much is happening when you push the flush, the most likely culprit is the flushing rods themselves. Look closely and you’ll see they have grooves along them where you can snap them to the right length to accommodate the thickness of the wall and tiles. A slightly lazy installation could mean that they haven’t been snapped off to the correct length for your setup – so now’s your chance.
  5. If you still need to reach the cistern itself then unscrew / unclip the two bolts on either side and remove the plastic cover to reveal the debris plate.
  6. There are usually two small levers at the top you need to push down to reveal the cistern parts behind.
  7. If you remove the flush panel to find you have no access to the cistern then your installer may have created a tiled access panel, which is siliconed in place. You’ll have to look carefully for a silicone joint where a grout joint should be and cut it through with a sharp knife to release the panel.



Writer and expert