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Caulk or Grout around toilet?

Which is proper - using caulk or grout around a toilet? Tile guy says caulk, trusted brother says grout.
Thanks for any/all help.

A. Spruce
Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

Caulk. You want something that will remain flexible. There are grout colored caulks if you choose, but plain white caulk around the base of a white toilet will look just as good (almond caulk if toilet is almond ).

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

around here we don't seal around the bottom of the toilet. the reason is if you have a back up or problem with the drain you wouldn't notice till damage is done to the floor and the toilet starts to tilt to the side and you wonder why your bottom keeps hitting the floor every time you sit dowm. as long as the wax ring is installed correctly that should be all you need.

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

Normally, we don't caulk or grout. If the floor is flat and the toilet base consequently sits down properly, there's no reason to caulk....and as Havvy already mentioned...sealing around the base of toilet can lead to serious consequences if there is a leak.

That being said...if a toilet requires that the base be shimmed to sit steady, then we will likely be caulking to make things look better. However, we never caulk around the entire base. Usually we would not caulk around the rear of the toilet because no one can see back there and... it provides an avenue for water to seep out if the wax seal should develop a leak. Call it a "first alert" system.

In order for this FA system to work properly (shimmed toilet or not), it means that caulk or wax from a toilet seal or similar, will be used under the toilet (around the closet bend flange and anywhere else necessary) to seal off/waterproof those areas, insuring that even a tiny leak will indeed come running out from under the toilet rather than follow the pipe downward or just seep into the subfloor underneath. Done right...it works like charm.

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

I agree with Havanagranite. Besides what he stated if it is grouted or caulked and you have to remove the toilet for any reason you have an additional mess to clean up.

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

Yankees:rolleyes: Our codes require the toilet to be sealed at the base. Perfectly flat floors are as rare as wheat straw pennies. And in the newer homes where workmanship is practically chided. Any extra time spent is frowned upon. Toilets would all have a rock and bowl wax would no doubt leak. If the plumbing backs up then you will see the result in other places besides the toilets. You can install a sewer popper to prevent whole house backups 25$ for the part. You may have to shim the toilet but not if you use grout. I love grout but not so much on conventional foundations. And not on wood and sundry other surfaces.
My usual failsafe is till now my own secret recipe.
Make sure the surfaces that the bowl wax and contact are clean and warm. Flash heat surfaces with a torch.
Set the toilet and shim with the clearish plastic shims and trim them flush to the base of the toilet.
Use clear DAP or other tub and shower adhesive caulk. Never sillycone (MS intentional) Wipe with finger and dress with a damp grout sponge.

When the caulk goes on its white and it cures the same opaque clearish color as the shims and there is no ned to fuss with color matching. It looks like there is nothing there and I used too get failed inspections 'cause they (Mr. Inspector)didn't see it.

I have met two tile masons in my entire career that I liked or respected as craftsmen. Since the introduction of tile backers " nothing to it" is the mentality:p. They tend to be unreliable as well as uncooperative. I don't know alot of plumbers I respect or like for that matter. Maybe its me with the problem so on second thought don't pay any attention to me I'm prolly a beligerent jerk. LOL I like to see bad tradesmen exposed, redfaced, frothing at the mouth, stupid, and impotent.

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

I have had a great expeience with pre-mixed grout..I got it in a small tub at Home D.....All you have to do is push some grout under the gap around the toilet..as it dries start forming a nice ,even contour around toilet..When at a drier consistensy , take a damp rag and run around the circum....and use finger to mold a nice look....When it semi-dry take a paint brush and "fluff" the grout !..I did one job this way ten years ago and got compliments from plumbers !!!!I have an uneven floor, so that is why I decided not to caulk the area which had LARGE gaps..
The color blends in nice with existing grout and adds some durability ..Caulking wide gaps for an ametuer is soooooo messy and in time looks "crappy"..That's a no....No Cenent sub floors have a tendency to "COPE UP AROUND FLOOR OPENING"causing wobbly toilets !!!!!

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

I don't recommend sealing around the base to floor --- see previous posts by havanagranite and goldhiller.

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

Really ?!?!? -- you learn something new everyday.;)

Re: Caulk or Grout around toilet?

I didn't pursue plumbing as a profession, However my Grandfather was a master plumber/steamfitter, that said I grew up around a man from whom I learned a great deal. I travel all around the Southern US and up the East Coast. I am constantly amazed at the toilets in public restrooms that are...rocking and walking all over the place! I ask myself...do the trade schools NOT teach the proper way to set a toilet?...OR, are the plumbers not taking the necessary time to do the job proper?..:confused:..I don't know, But I DO KNOW That when you are working with a solid flooring surface..ie slab, ceramic tile, Laminate over slab ect. YOU SET YOUR TOILET IN GROUT!!! I've set many commodes the following way during my years doing maintenance in motel/hotels. NEVER NEVER have I had to go back and deal with ANY of those commodes again. SET IN STONE!!! My method is simple, make sure you use grout sealer on any grout joints under the toilet. DO NOT seal lines that will fall under your grout bead. Place a template if you cannot eyeball or temp. (without wax ring in place) seat the toilet base and draw a line around bottom. Mix grout per instructions. Now I just used a trowel to distribute the grout around the inside perimeter of your outline. If I had 2 or more to do I might have used a grout bag for this. Clean and dampen the base of the toilet (not dripping wet) just dampen to keep the commode from prematurely drawing the moisture from the grout before it has time to cure properly. set your wax ring and the gently set toilet into place. I use a level across the bowl and gently tamp the toilet into place. If you have gotten your grout right (not overly wet) some of the grout will be displaced as you tighten the flange nuts. pull it down firmly keeping level as you go. NEVER...NEVER!! pull toilet back UP to readjust as you will break the wax seal. I always left a weep hole/gap at the rear in case of leak...for which I have never had one! Clean up your grout joint with your finger to form a nice looking finish. Clean surrounding surfaces with damp sponge or cloth so there will be no masonry haze left. Now, There is a great product out there for those of you that feel like you may not get it right the first time and have to pull the toilet up a little to re-adjust. Its a wax free toilet gasket. Google this and you will be directed to the info. It only takes one time for someone to plop down on a toilet to knock it off position, thereby breaking the seal. Do it right the first time,...set your commode in grout and be done with it!:D

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