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Seal around base of toilet

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Mar 17, 2014, 06:59 PM
IndianaGuy
Seal around base of toilet
I just installed a new toilet. The instructions said to put a bead of sealant around the base. Other toilets I have installed (all three of them) never included that instruction. Is the sealant intended to stop water that might seep past the wax seal? Or maybe sewer gas that might get past the wax seal? I can't say that either of those really makes sense to me. If water was getting past the seal, I would rather see it leak from the base; so that I would know to fix the problem. If the sealant blocked sewer gas, that would be desirable. But if the wax doesn't block the gas, it's not obvious to me why the sealant would. At any rate, if anyone can educate me on what purpose the sealant serves (if any), I would like to know. Thanks.
Mar 17, 2014, 08:12 PM
Re-mdlr
There are two schools of thought on this. One is never caulk it, the other is to caulk it. Some do not caulk because if there is a leak, they want to know about it. I went with that idea for a number of years.
But after years of construction, I go with the idea of caulking the bottom of the toilet. It is done to prevent overflowing toilet water from going under the toilet and starting to rust the toilet flange. Also, you don't want contaminated water under the toilet and in the floor (especially if it is on the second floor). But what I have really seen is where the toilet is near the shower, and water goes on the floor, under the toilet, and starts rusting out the toilet flange, not good at all. So, I now caulk under the toilet.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Mar 17, 2014, 08:42 PM
IndianaGuy
Thanks very much for replying to my question, but I'm having trouble following you. If the rim of the toilet base does not have a seal, then, if water were to get past the wax seal around the flange, it would seep out from the toilet base and on to the surrounding floor. So, I would see the leak.

If the rim of the toilet base is sealed, then, if water gets past the wax seal around the flange, it would not seep out from under the toilet base. It would stay there. Wouldn't that have a greater propensity to rust the flange? Also, the water would stagnate under the base of the toilet. It would have no place to go. That leaves unanswered the question: if the water leaked faster than it could evaporate under the sealed base of the toilet, would it eventually push out that caulking? I guess it would have to. Or it would explode like Old Faithful! (Just kidding.) What is it in your response that I'm not seeing?
Mar 17, 2014, 09:04 PM
Re-mdlr
You are counting on a 'leak' from the wax ring, use a good wax ring with a 'collar', not a cheapo wax seal. Take your time installing the toilet so the wax ring seats properly. And then you won't have a leak.

And you say the water would seep out so you could see the leak -- that depends on how much of a leak it is, it might just soak into the floor and slowly damage your floor, and rust out the toilet flange.

I have seen far fewer leaks from the under the toilet then I have from other water getting in under the toilet and causing problems.

And if the toilet is on the second floor, any leak will 'rain' on the lower floor, which can be disgusting, so I caulk them.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Mar 17, 2014, 11:06 PM
Jaybee
I'll install in a similar method but will leave the back of the toilet uncaulked.


Jaybee
Mar 18, 2014, 09:06 AM
IndianaGuy
That's the part I didn't see. From reading your reply and from some other sources, I'm seeing that a potential problem is water (or even critters or debris) getting IN under the toilet. That never occurred to me. Thanks.
Mar 18, 2014, 10:38 AM
Conrad
I also caulk all around the toilet base, except for the back part. This way when cleaning (or for "spills" of any kind) moisture does not get under the base easily.
The back is open, so if your wax seal ever does fail, you will know, and not find out after your both you and the toilet end up in the basement due to a rotted floor.Wink