Should You Caulk Around Your Toilet?


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Plumber fixing toilet in a washroom with silicone cartridge

A common discussion about toilet installation is whether it is best to caulk around the toilet or not. As you will find out in this article, both sides of the argument have some valid points, which makes deciding a bit more complicated. So, should you caulk around the toilet or not? Let us go through the pros and cons to help you figure that question out. 

The Advantages of Caulking Around the Toilet

Below are reasons why you should caulk around the toilet. 

  • Caulking the Toilet is a Plumbing Code

The first reason is that it is actually in the ‘plumbing code’ to caulk around the toilet’s base. While these codes are not consistently enforced, it is recommended. Caulking around the toilet is included in the building code should be considered. While some state that the wax ring will create more stability and waterproofing, others believe that the wax ring alone will not suffice. 

  • Aesthetic Reason

Applying caulk around the toilet’s base will effectively give it a smoother appearance. Compare a toilet without a caulk, and you will see it has an uneven floor. If you aim for a more aesthetically pleasing bathroom design, applying caulk around the toilet will help you achieve this goal. 

Of course, the toilet’s base can be considered insignificant towards the overall look of the bathroom, but if you want everything spick and span, consider applying caulk around the toilet. 

  • Prevents the Possibility of Bad Odors

While not a prevalent problem, there are concerns about odors if the toilet base is not water-tight. A toilet base without caulk does run the risk of water seeping out. These crevices around the toilet’s base can also take in water spills from the shower, which increases the risk of mold and mildew problems. Applying caulk will effectively seal up any small gaps and eliminate issues revolving around dirt and grime buildup. 

  • Improves the Stability of the Toilet

Toilet seat decoration in bathroom

The toilet bowl’s stability is crucial and while this can be achieved by using bolts, keep in mind that screws can loosen over time. One way to prevent the toilet bowl from losing stability is by applying caulk on the base and the bolts. All in all, caulking the toilet base improves stability further. 

The Disadvantages of Caulking Around the Toilet

While some highly recommend caulking around the toilet, others feel that this is unnecessary. Here are the reasons why some have this opinion.

  • It Can Hide Water Leakage

Quite possibly, the main argument as to why it is not necessary to caulk the base of the toilet is that it can hide leaks on the bathroom floor. Water leakage in the bathroom is a problem that can go from zero to ten in a snap of a finger, which is why it is crucial to find the leak before it manages to cause more severe damage. A caulk might hide water leaks until it is too late. This scenario might be rare, but the possibility is still there. 

  • Makes Repairs a Bit More Difficult

Since the caulk puts an extra layer above the toilet’s base, this means you will also need to break it off if repairs call for it. You should also be aware that removing caulk requires extra care as you might damage the floor if it is done incorrectly. If applied haphazardly, the caulk can also leave marks on the floor, and toilet base, so proper installation is essential. 

To Caulk or Not to Caulk, That is the Question

All things considered, I believe the best decision should be something in the middle. The pros and cons of applying caulk around the toilet each have their merits, which is why the answer will most likely be subjective. However, some key factors are crucial when deciding on this matter. For example, if the floor is uneven, then caulking is a must. Also, to avoid the hidden leak issue, make sure to leave a small gap at the back of the toilet to allow you to spot water leaks

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