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Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by acechapman
There can be heated debate about whether or not to caulk your toilet base. In search of an answer, we examine the pros and cons.
Many people base their reasoning on tradition and their personal opinions, which can be fine but not very helpful. Ineffective fillers have been used in the past and they crumbled away. Perhaps they don’t realize the versatility and durability of modern caulking products. It is also important to understand the potential problems and how they can be solved. To help you find the right answers, we have examined the pros and cons of each option.
Is it necessary to caulk the base of your toilet?
Leak detection is the point of contention.
People cite the main reason for not caulking around the toilet base is because they believe it can hide leaks. The damage that could result from a leaky toilet base can be severe if it is not discovered. The theory is that if there was no caulk, the water would leak out and be detected immediately.
Although it might seem like this could happen if there were major pipe breaks, it is very rare. Most leaks don’t reach the floor of the bathroom and instead, soak into the structure underneath. They can be seen from the floor beneath the toilet. This is often the case for leaks beneath the tub. It is not uncommon for an apartment tenant to notice a problem first.
This argument against caulking is flawed, but it is not the only one. There are many reasons why caulking around the toilet is a good idea.
Caulk stops water seepage under the toilet.
This seal, which is supposed to prevent a leak from ever being discovered, also prevents “external water” from getting under the toilet. If the floor is sealed properly, water from a bathtub or shower will not seep beneath the toilet.
Any water that seeps under the toilet can be left unattended if there isn’t any caulk. It will quickly stagnate and become a breeding ground for mold and fungus. Caulk can be applied to prevent this, making the bathroom healthier.
Stabilization on uneven floors is achieved by caulking around the toilet.
Bolts are used to attach the toilet base to the ground. However, if the floor is uneven, the toilet may rock back and forth. This can be frustrating and noisy and could cause problems for the plumbing. It is dangerous to tighten the bolts past a certain point. This could cause cracking of the porcelain.
Caulk can be used to seal the toilet from the floor. It also provides a layer to cushion the uneven floor. Good quality caulk provides durable and effective cushioning once it has fully dried.
According to plumbing codes, a toilet must be sealed to the floor.
This is undoubtedly the most important reason. It is required by building codes in most areas of the United States to caulk around the toilet base. This applies to both remodeling and new construction. However, regulations can vary between states so it is a good idea to check local laws.
Plumbers are usually knowledgeable and will answer any questions for clients. DIY installers may feel tempted to skip the inspection. The homeowner might not find it worthwhile unless they are required to inspect the work. There is no risk of a fine. If they later wanted to sell the property, however, finding something not up to the current code could put them off or make them less cautious about their appraisal.
It makes your home look better and prevents unpleasant odors.
Many people believe that a neat, professional look is achieved by using white caulk. You can use it around tubs, wash basins, and showers. Why not also caulk around toilet bases? An unfinished, dark and uneven joint between the toilet and the floor is a comparison.
It is also important to prevent unpleasant odors from escaping the toilet’s bottom and into the plumbing. Mold or fungus can cause the problem to worsen.
HOW TO CAULK AROUND YOUR TOILET
Let’s dive into how to caulk around the toilet.
A detailed look at caulking, in general, has also been done by me. If you are new to this whole process, you may want to begin there and then return here.
REMOVE THE OLD CAULK
First, you will need to remove any old caulk. This was easy for me because the caulk was so gross and cracked that it just popped up.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Begin by running a razor blade or utility knife along the joint where the caulk meets the toilet. Then do the same for the floor joint. This will loosen the material and help to pull it off the floor and toilet. You must be careful not to damage tiles or cut into floors with a knife.
- After you have scored the caulk around the edges, start peeling it off. To get the caulk started, use the edge of the utility knife and then use your hands to remove it. There are also caulk-removal tools that can prove to be very helpful.
- After you have removed the main caulk, remove any remaining residue.
This caulk remover is great for those stubborn spots.
After removing the caulk, clean the toilet and floor. Next, we’ll move on to the next step.
Also, make sure to check that the toilet is secured to the ground. To add stability, tighten the bolts at the back if it is rocking. Next, flush it one more time without using any caulk. This is to make sure the wax ring doesn’t leak and is in good condition.
APPLY PAINTER’S TAPE
Use painter’s tape to cover the base of the toilet if you are nervous about caulking or are new to the idea. To follow the contour of the toilet, you can use small strips. In order to allow the caulk a little to spread, place the tape 1/4″ away from the toilet.
It’s a great way of adding confidence and ensuring the final product is polished.
To avoid lifting the newly applied bead, remove the masking tape as soon as the sealant is dry.
SET UP THE CAULK GUN
Now, you can put the caulk in your caulk gun to set it up.
Begin by cutting off the tip of your caulk tube at an angle. You will find markings on the caulk for different-sized openings. Just choose the one that corresponds to how large you want your caulk bead to be.
Some cartridges such as AMP have a foil seal at their base that must be punctured before they can be used. This can be done by using the seal puncturing tool that is located on the trigger handle or side of the caulk gun.
Next, insert the caulk tube into the caulk gun. Finally, tighten the lid. If you are new to caulk guns, I suggest you practice a few beads before you begin. Some guns will push the caulk out even after you pull the trigger. This can cause a lot of mess. Before you go to the toilet, make sure you are familiar with the gun and how it stops the caulk from flowing.
Now, it’s time to put caulk around your toilet!
Keep your caulk gun at 45 degrees and move slowly around the toilet, while engaging the trigger. You will see a bead of caulk coming out, which can be used to seal the space between the toilet base and the floor.
To get the best results, maintain consistent pressure on the trigger and slow down your movements around the toilet.
When working with caulk, it is best to pull the gun toward you rather than push it away. This will ensure a consistent and even distribution of caulk.
SMOOTH THE CAULK
After the caulk is applied to the entire toilet, it’s time for you to smoothen it out. To smoothen the caulk, use a baby wipe. Wrap it around your finger and run it gently along the caulk. You will find any excess caulk on the baby wipe, not your finger.
You can use your bare fingers to apply latex caulk. All other chemistries, including AMP’s mixture, should be used with a gloved finger.
After you have smoothed out the caulk, let it dry for the recommended time (only 30 minutes).
Caulk can be used around the toilet base. This is up to you, but it is worth researching. It’s easy to maintain, and it eliminates unnecessary bacteria as well as germs. It reduces unwanted odors in areas that are already prone to foul odors. This is required by the International Plumbers Code. Caulk allows you to have a seamless transition and makes it easier to clean your bathroom.
Caulking the joint is quick and easy. It also has many benefits that far outweigh any chance of a leak being discovered sooner.