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Caulking the toilet base


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I know that the caulking-around-the-base-of-the-toilet thing can get controversial.

This is from an adjacent thread. Not meaning to open a Pandora's box here but for educational purposes....should the junction between the toilet bowl and the floor be caulked? Mortared? The search function on the forum archives isn't working for me right now.

Marc

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I know that the caulking-around-the-base-of-the-toilet thing can get controversial.

This is from an adjacent forum. Not meaning to open a Pandora's box here but for educational purposes....should the junction between the toilet bowl and the floor be caulked? Mortared? The search function on the forum archives isn't working for me right now.

Marc

I'm no plumber, but my vote is for No.

If the wax ring is installed correctly and the bolts are tight, nothing leaks out. What other reason is there for caulking?

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I know that the caulking-around-the-base-of-the-toilet thing can get controversial.

This is from an adjacent forum. Not meaning to open a Pandora's box here but for educational purposes....should the junction between the toilet bowl and the floor be caulked? Mortared? The search function on the forum archives isn't working for me right now.

Marc

There's no controversy. The IRC and the UPC both *require* the toilet base to be caulked to the finish floor. (IRC, 2705.1; UPC 407.2)

Those who argue otherwise say that if the toilet's wax seal leaks, the lack of caulk will allow the water to spill out onto the surface of the floor and be seen by the occupants, causing them to take action to correct the problem before damage results. This is such a stupid argument that I won't waste any more words on it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I know that the caulking-around-the-base-of-the-toilet thing can get controversial.

This is from an adjacent forum. Not meaning to open a Pandora's box here but for educational purposes....should the junction between the toilet bowl and the floor be caulked? Mortared? The search function on the forum archives isn't working for me right now.

Marc

I'm no plumber, but my vote is for No.

If the wax ring is installed correctly and the bolts are tight, nothing leaks out. What other reason is there for caulking?

To prevent urine from seeping under the toilet. This is particularly important in households that include little boys.

Also, the caulk prevents the toilet from pivoting from side to side and destroying the wax ring seal.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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To prevent urine from seeping under the toilet. This is particularly important in households that include little boys.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Well, after posting regarding my personal experience with why it's helpful to caulk a toilet to the floor, I now see Jim has already posted that same reason here. Yup, little boys can make keeping a busy half bath odor free tough.

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To prevent urine from seeping under the toilet. This is particularly important in households that include little boys.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Well, after posting regarding my personal experience with why it's helpful to caulk a toilet to the floor, I now see Jim has already posted that same reason here. Yup, little boys can make keeping a busy half bath odor free tough.

Right, good point. I had to learn to shoot straight early into this relationship. [:)]

I have limited experience with fixing other people's toilets, lucky that way.

I suppose caulking goes for the planks around the toilet, too?

Now down in the basement, they didn't have that problem, 2nd pic.

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Pic 3, is this a leak from the boy's toilet or from boys taking a leak?

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Reasons to caulk the toilet which have been mostly covered.

1)Sanitary issue. Imagine all of the crud that gets up in that area when not sealed.

2)Tubs and showers are typically adjacent to the toilet. We all know how careful some people are when it comes to keeping the water inside the shower.

3)Some toilet tanks sweat and drip down onto the floor at the rear of the toilet. I've heard arguments from contractors that there should be a small gap in the caulk at the rear of the toilet, so that a leaky seal can be discovered-- not a good idea.

4)It helps keep the toilet in place and saves the seal, especially on a tile floor.

5)To make inspectors happy.

6)Craziest one I've heard for caulking the toilet to the floor is to trap sewer gas in case of a bad seal. Maybe?

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Reasons to caulk the toilet which have been mostly covered.

6)Craziest one I've heard for caulking the toilet to the floor is to trap sewer gas in case of a bad seal. Maybe?

That would be scary for people who like to sneak a smoke while on the crapper. [:)]

It sounds like you called out a loose toilet and a lack of caulking, but the contractor just caulked it to the floor.

If the toilet is tight, do you call for caulking?

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It sounds like you called out a loose toilet and a lack of caulking, but the contractor just caulked it to the floor.

If the toilet is tight, do you call for caulking?

Hi John,

Yes, in this case the toilet was loose to the floor and was not shimmed, but should have been.

The caulking is necessary no matter what, and I check every toilet to ensure it is caulked into place..

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"This is particularly important in households that include little boys. "

swordfighting.... vital to boyhood development should be limited to the yard.

Now that put a smile on my face - yes, what my younger sons affectionately called "sword pees"... funny the things kids do...

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The correct method is to grout the toilet into place. The point is not to make a seal to the floor... that is what the wax ring is for. The purpose of the grout is to stabilize the toilet. The bolts do a good job at holding the toilet in place, but the grout gives the entire base a firm bed to rest on. This is also important in places such as Florida where we use PVC pipe. The bolts are attached to a plastic flange that doesn't offer much support.

With caulk, the bowl can still rock, especially on uneven floors. Also, I have heard horror stories of someone sitting on a bowl caulked to an uneven floor, and the bowl cracked over the flange due to lack of side support, cutting the person pretty badly.

Also, some people will set a toilet in grout or plaster, and the caulk around the edges, which also works.

I'm a licensed plumbing contractor in FL.

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The correct method is to grout the toilet into place.

Hi Matthew,

I must disagree. The seal must be a water tight seal-- grout is porous, and in my opinion (and the opinion of plumbers on plumbing forums, and code officials I have spoken with) does not comply with the intent of the codes.

The purpose of the grout is to stabilize the toilet.

If a toilet is properly set into place, how will the grout stabilize the floor any better, assuming you just mean a grout perimeter and not setting the toilet in a bed of grout? According to some plumbing forums, the plumbers recommend setting the toilet in a bed of plaster of paris, but still say the water tight seal needs to be installed.

With caulk, the bowl can still rock, especially on uneven floors.

Only if the toilet is not properly bedded into place. Toilets should not be set on an uneven floor unless properly shimmed or bedded. The caulk will help keep the toilet from some lateral movement which will break the seal.

Also, some people will set a toilet in grout or plaster, and the caulk around the edges, which also works.

This is a code allowed (and good) installation in my opinion.

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Too, even if the commode moves only microns in any direction, the grout--because it's hard--is eventually going to crack, isn't it?

I will echo what a guy on the Ridgid forum said. Removing caulk from a commode and tile floor turns a ten minute job into an over-an-hour job--especially if you suffer from OCD like I do, and have to remove every last sliver of caulk before reseating the commode.

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Too, even if the commode moves only microns in any direction, the grout--because it's hard--is eventually going to crack, isn't it?

I will echo what a guy on the Ridgid forum said. Removing caulk from a commode and tile floor turns a ten minute job into an over-an-hour job--especially if you suffer from OCD like I do, and have to remove every last sliver of caulk before reseating the commode.

OCD?

Marc

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder......on display in this thread in spades......

If grout is a problem around the base of the toilet, why isn't it a problem in all the floor tile grout joints?

Because the floor-tile joints are static. In new houses, I often see cracked grout in tub-tile junctures and in the 90-degree wall angles. Those areas should be caulked, not grouted, because the slightest movement is going to result in cracks. The tile guy grouts everything in one fell swoop to eliminate another trip to the house. But it's a bad idea.

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Because the floor-tile joints are static. In new houses, I often see cracked grout in tub-tile junctures and in the 90-degree wall angles. Those areas should be caulked, not grouted, because the slightest movement is going to result in cracks. The tile guy grouts everything in one fell swoop to eliminate another trip to the house. But it's a bad idea.

The way I see it, neither the tile nor the toilet oughta be jumping around, dancing or anything. [;)] Sitting on the toilet imparts forces to it just the same as tile when you walk on it. A narrow swath of grout might not last but a wider swath should.

Something else...I faintly recall a post months ago that mentioned that sometimes the code would use the word 'caulk' but meant grout.

Marc

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Because the floor-tile joints are static. In new houses, I often see cracked grout in tub-tile junctures and in the 90-degree wall angles. Those areas should be caulked, not grouted, because the slightest movement is going to result in cracks. The tile guy grouts everything in one fell swoop to eliminate another trip to the house. But it's a bad idea.

The way I see it, neither the tile nor the toilet oughta be jumping around, dancing or anything. [;)] Sitting on the toilet imparts forces to it just the same as tile when you walk on it. A narrow swath of grout might not last but a wider swath should.

Something else...I faintly recall a post months ago that mentioned that sometimes the code would use the word 'caulk' but meant grout.

Marc

Well, but the floor tiles are glued into place, presumably onto cement-board. The closet bolts can't be overly tightened 'cause you can crack the floor tiles (Done it) or even the porcelain commode (Haven't done it). Sure it shouldn't move much, but it will likely move some.

FYI, Marc. Only people who suffer--if only marginally--from OCD would even give a rat's ass about something like this.

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