One of the most contentious issues around bathroom remodels is whether to seal the toilet base with caulk or let it be. Believe it or not, this topic tends to generate heated debates in online plumbing forums. And there are good arguments on both sides, which can confuse novice DIYers. So, to caulk or not to caulk? And should you choose to caulk around the base of your toilet, what color caulk should you use? Traditional options are a white or clear caulk around toilet.
This article covers all you need to know to make the best decision for your bathroom remodel.
Should You Caulk Around the Toilet?
When it comes to installing a toilet yourself, you have to make a decision. Should you caulk around a toilet? Trying to make an objective decision vis-à-vis caulking around the base of a toilet can be frustrating.
Most of the answers you get, even from professional plumbers and building inspectors, are based on personal opinion. In this section, we’ll look at the arguments for and against sealing the toilet base with caulk to help you make an informed decision. Let’s dive into it.
Arguments for Caulking
As a homeowner, there are more than a few reasons why caulking around the toilet during a bathroom remodel is a good thing. Key arguments for sealing the base of a toilet with caulk include:
Plumbing Code Requirements
If you are looking for a good reason to caulk your toilet to the floor, how about avoiding violating the International Plumbing Code? Caulking your toilet to the floor is a building code requirement in most parts of the United States, so you may not have a choice after all.
That said, we should mention that the plumbing codes that require caulking around the base of a toilet are not always enforced. Additionally, local building codes vary from one area to the next. If you are unsure about plumbing codes in your area, ask your local plumber.
Keep the Toilet Secure
You don’t want a loose toilet in your house. The toilet can rock back and forth if the floor is uneven. A loose toilet is also a significant hazard, especially if there are children and older people in your household.
A loose toilet is not only dangerous, but it can also cause problems for your bathroom’s internal plumbing. Caulk secures your toilet and keeps it from moving around if your bathroom floor is not flat.
Prevent Unpleasant Odors
It’s common to encounter foul smells in your bathroom. It could be dirty tub water, residue from mop water, etc., trapped in the various nooks and crannies. Caulking can prevent bad smells from emanating from the plumbing and under the bottom of the toilet.
Another argument for caulking your toilet to the floor is that it makes your bathroom look clean and nice. Those who favor caulking believe that a white or clear caulk line delivers a neat, professional finish.
It’s not such a strong point for caulking, but if you care about aesthetics, consider sealing the base of your toilet with caulk to hide the seam, which will make your bathroom look better.
Arguments Against Caulking
Many clients, plumbers, and DIYers believe that caulking the base of a toilet is not smart. Generally, the primary reason some people are against caulking the toilet to the floor is leak detection.
The argument is that sealing around the toilet’s base can make leaks go unnoticed. It’s a good point since undetected leaks could become severe and cause major damage. Without caulking, the leaking water will flow freely and be discovered immediately.
While it’s easy to understand why many professional plumbers and DIYers take this stance, it’s a flawed argument. Unless a pipe breaks or something like that happens, minor leaks will always go unnoticed, so it doesn’t matter whether the toilet is caulked.
White Or Clear Caulk Around Toilet?
Should you decide to go ahead and seal around the base of the toilet, there’s still another major decision you have to make, i.e., white or clear caulk around the toilet. Between the two, what color caulk around the toilet is the best?
Experts recommend white rather than clear caulk around your toilet. There are a few reasons for that. Firstly, white caulk will blend seamlessly with the white fixtures in your bathroom, including the toilet.
Secondly, white caulk accentuates the distance between the toilet’s base and the floor. Clear caulk around your toilet will make this gap look bigger. Moreover, unlike clear caulk, white doesn’t give the impression of constant wetness around the base of the toilet.
How To Caulk Around Your Toilet
If you are a novice DIYer, you’re probably looking for tips on how to caulk around your toilet at this point. We’ll give you a few pointers to get you on the right track.
- Remove old caulk around the base of the toilet using a razor knife and clean the base of the toilet
- Apply masking tape on the floor to keep the caulk from getting on the floor and achieve a straighter seal
- Remove the tip of the caulk tube and insert the tube into a caulk gun
- Pull the caulk gun trigger to apply caulk along the joint between the base of the toilet and the floor
- Run your finger along the newly applied seal to push the caulk deeper into the seal
- Peel off the tape and allow the caulk to cure
What’s The Best Caulk for Around Toilet?
Should you caulk or silicone around the toilet? Yes, the silicone gives you the best outcomes than other types of caulks — such as acrylic — since it’s more water-resistant and the best alternative to caulking around the toilet. For the best caulk around the toilet, choose 100% silicone caulk.
Final Thoughts on White or Clear Caulk Around Toilet
Bathroom remodels, like any other home improvement project, can be stressful. Are you planning a bathroom remodel but need help deciding whether to caulk around the base of the toilet or what color caulk to use? We hope you find this guide helpful.