Caulking around the bottom of the toilet has been a topic of debate for years. While some homeowners like it, many have disagreed with it from time to time.
This can leave an average homeowner confused. Because there are indeed some positives and negatives of caulking around the toilet.
This can make you wonder, should you caulk around the bottom of a toilet?
Caulking around the bottom of the toilet has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include better stability and preservation of wax seals. Caulking also helps prevent water leakage and bacteria build-up. On the contrary, you’re less likely to see water leakage with caulking around.
That was a pretty short answer to something that requires a lot of explanation. And I am more than okay to discuss the matter in detail.
To know more about the pros and cons of caulking around toilets, please keep reading!
Does Your City Code Allow Caulking Around the Toilet?
You can’t just start discussing the caulking around the toilet. That’s because it’s possible to have some restrictions on caulking in your area.
These restrictions are imposed by the area codes which are related to US state codes. You’ll have to check whether you can actually caulk around the toilet or not.
Because if the city code doesn’t permit it, you can’t even attempt the caulking process.
Luckily most of the states and their cities do allow caulking around the toilet. But still, you’ve got to check your local codes about caulking.
The problem is the USA plumbing codes don’t have a specific rule about caulking. But they do have codes when it comes to sealing.
This can be an umbrella term and caulking can be a part of it.
The United States has 2 major codes in plumbing about sealing. One of them is chapter 4 section 405.5 of the 2012 US plumbing code.
This code states any joints that are formed between walls and fixtures must be sealed. Since caulking is a form of sealing, it can fall under this category.
The other code is the 2009 US Plumbing Code’s chapter 4 section 407.2. This mentions that when there are fixtures connected to walls, the joint must be water-tight.
This is where it can get a little confusing. Because you can argue that wax rings of the toilet already water-tightens the joint.
Because of that, you’ll see many people against caulking the toilet. Likewise, there are also some great counterpoints.
That’s why I suggest you talk to the local officials about plumbing. They will give you a clear idea about the eligibility of caulking around the toilet.
If you’re new to caulking, then you must look at both pros and cons. This way you can understand faster and make your own decision.
A little bit of knowledge can help you gain a perspective. For instance, with some knowledge about flooring techniques, you can easily install vinyl plank flooring.
Caulking around the toilet is quite famous. While discussing it with plumbers and homeowners, you’ll find them praising it.
That’s because caulking does provide a couple of advantages. To keep it easy and simple, I have listed them together for you.
Simply go through the points and see the benefits-
Reason 1: Caulking Around the Toilet Increases Stability
The first advantage of caulking around the toilet is the toilet’s stability. To be frank, a toilet being on the floor doesn’t guarantee absolute stability.
Usually, toilets come with bolts for holding them. These bolts are the ones that keep them stable. But one bolt on each side often proves not to be enough.
And that was only one possible reason. The other one is the flooring. If your toilet is on a concrete floor it may not be stable.
This can also happen on vinyl or laminate floors along with cement floors. Tiles are also no exception to this.
It’s important to install vinyl flooring in the bathroom correctly. Especially around the toilet bowl flange because otherwise, it’ll create leakage problems.
If your toilet is indeed built on uneven surfaces, it has to have caulking. In other words, caulking is the best possible approach to fixing an uneven toilet.
Even if the toilet feels pretty stable, adding caulking will make a noticeable difference. You’ll instantly feel more stable while sitting on the toilet.
Other than that, it also reduces overall pressure from the bolts. Since caulking adds stability around the edges, bolts aren’t the center of the focus anymore.
This way the bolts last longer than usual which is a benefit anyone would enjoy. Overall, the caulking will help you keep the toilet nicely planted on the floor.
Reason 2: Caulking Around the Toilet Helps Preserve the Seal
I have already discussed some stability issues in the previous section. But there is one more that deserves special attention.
This is about the seal around the toilet flange. The seal around the toilet flange protects you from possible water leaks.
If the toilet isn’t totally stable, it will start rocking. Unfortunately, that’s big bad news for the toilet flange seal. It’ll weaken the seal gradually.
Because when the toilet moves around, the seal will also move a bit. This will weaken the seal and cause it to get loose.
Since caulking adds some extra stability, it can help you preserve the flange seal. This way the seal will last longer than usual.
Reason 3: Caulking Around the Toilet Prevents Water Leakage
No one likes to deal with water leakages. They’re disgusting, annoying to deal with, and super time-consuming to fix.
It gets even worse when the toilet leaks. Because then you’ll have to deal with the smell too.
If you’re afraid of toilet leakage, you should consider caulking around it. Because caulking also prevents the wax gasket from moving around.
If your toilet is rocky or moves around a little bit, the wax gasket will also move. The gasket, rubber, or wax, keeps the toilet firmly attached.
But it may not be enough and can get broken. That’s where the caulking comes in and it acts like a reinforcement.
It acts like extra protection to it which is nice to have. This way you can easily prevent any future toilet leakages.
This is one of the reasons why professional plumbers recommend caulking.
Speaking of caulking around the toilet, here’s what I recommend-
They’re all great products and long-lasting caulks. You can pick any of them and they’ll do you a great service.
Please note that not all toilet leaks happen in the base. In such cases, you’ll need to take other approaches while trying to fix the leakage.
Reason 4: Caulking Prevents Bacteria Build-up In the Toilet Base
After having a shower or in general, bathrooms have a lot of moisture. The wetness is a great environment for bacteria to spread around.
That’s why it’s always recommended to keep the toilet clean. Washing the walls or glass is a great habit and always encouraged.
But you can’t clean places like the toilet’s base. Places like that become a hub for bacteria over time.
By caulking around the toilet, you can easily prevent possible bacteria or moisture build-up.
Reason 5: Caulking Around the Toilet Improves Aesthetics
It’s not just technical benefits that you get by caulking around the edges. Caulking can improve the overall look of a toilet.
Without the caulk, the toilet base will have a gap. This gap is often disliked by many people.
By caulking the toilet, you can make it seem like it is attached to the floor. It gets rid of the gap and the white line looks sleek.
But then again, it can be pretty debatable and depends on a person’s taste.
Disadvantages of Caulking Around the Toilet: 3 Reasons
Despite having a lot of advantages, there are some disadvantages that you should note. Although some of the disadvantages don’t seem like a disadvantage to many people.
Either way, my job is to inform you. That’s why I have listed some of the advantages voiced by most homeowners.
Reason 1: Caulking Can Prevent You From Noticing Toilet Leaks
This is the biggest concern among people that don’t support caulking around the toilet. After all, you do seal the entire toilet base by caulking.
That’s why many people like to have a gap between the floor and the base. Because after all, long-term accumulation of water can be extremely damaging to subfloors.
But you can easily solve this problem by keeping the back uncaulked. That way you will notice if the toilet’s leaking.
Also, it’s super easy to fix a leaking toilet that has rusty bolts. It’s as easy as fixing a leaking toilet with rusted tank bolts.
Reason 2: Caulking Seems Unnecessary Because of Wax Seal
Another common argument against caulking is the wax seal itself. A lot of homeowners and professional plumbers argue that wax seals are enough.
Wax seals can prevent possible leakage from the toilet base. Wax seals have a limited function compared to caulking. It also provides limited protection.
But it can indeed seem sufficient. In that case, caulking would seem unnecessary to you.
Reason 3: Caulking Prevents Easier Repairs
The third and final argument against caulking around the toilet is the complex repair. And this is an argument that you can’t just skip over.
If there’s no caulking, the toilet repair becomes easier. You can simply unscrew the toilet bolt and start working.
But if there’s caulking, you’ll have to remove that caulk first.
That’s why some homeowners choose not to have caulking around the toilet.
How To Caulk Around the Toilet?
Have you made your decision yet? If you’re thinking about caulking then I got your back.
Luckily, caulking is extremely easy and only takes about a minute or two. All you need is a silicone caulk and a wet cloth.
Start by cleaning the edges of the toilet base. When you’re done, gently use the caulk and apply it around the edges.
Be sure to take your time and stay patient while you do it. After applying it, use your hand and rub over the caulk. It’ll make the caulk stick better.
Wait for the caulk to get dry and you’re done!
How do you know if the wax ring is leaking?
If the wax ring is leaking, you’ll notice water coming out of the base. This is the biggest sign which is always easily noticeable. Other than that, bathroom odor can also indicate a possible leakage. Also, if there’s a leakage, the floor under will get soaked. Be sure to check the toilet.
Are rubber toilet rings better than wax rings?
No, the rubber toilet rings aren’t any better than the wax rings. They’re quite similar, look the same, and have the same functions. There’s also no difference in durability as well. Sticking to wax rings is a great idea if you don’t want to switch to a new one. For new toilets, get rubber rings.
What kind of caulk do you use for a toilet?
To caulk around the base of the toilet, always pick silicone caulks. Silicone caulks are preferred because they’re extremely durable and can last for years. Other reasons include high water resistance. If you apply silicone caulk properly, it’ll last up to 20 years. It’s a great moisture repellant.
That was everything on should you caulk around the bottom of a toilet. I hope that my discussion was helpful and insightful enough.
If you’re still confused, seek a plumbing expert. That person will notify you about state codes and overall thoughts about caulking.
Finally, have a nice day!