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Thread: Mounting a Toilet: Grout, plaster, or putty?

  1. #1
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    Default Mounting a Toilet: Grout, plaster, or putty?

    I am tiling my bathroom floor. It's currently a little off level and may still be when I'm done. I'm planning to re-use my existing toilet for now to limit the costs. I want to mount it in such a way that it will be solid and level even if the floor is not and I want it to look good. The trick is I also want to be able to replace the toilet later without leaving traces of the mounting material stuck to the tiles.

    I was considering using grout or plaster on the toilet base with plumber's putty as a distant third choice. I think grout would look best and be most durable but may be hard to remove from the tile later when I change toilets. From what I read plaster of paris works well but is a little old fashioned. I think it may be easier to remove from the tile later though. I'm pretty sure plumber's putty would be easiest to remove but is my last choice. It just doesn't look that good and I don't think it will stabilize the toilet base as much as grout or plaster.

    One thought I had was to put the grout or plaster in place on the floor over plastic wrap, then put the toilet in place and let the material set, then lift and remove the plastic leaving the material on the toilet, then add the wax ring and johnny bolts to mount the toilet permanently.

    Will this work with the plastic wrap? Would grout or plaster work better in this scenario? If this won't work and I have to put the material directly on the tile, would I be able to remove grout or plaster from the tile later without traces?

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    We use composite plastic door shims if the floor is not level.




    Shim near the back, slid the shim in, score with a knife, and snap off.
    It takes two seconds with door shims.
    Score and Snap!
    The caulk around the front with clear PolySeamSeal.
    Don't use Silicone, grout, plaster or putty.

    Putty is just some clay with oil in it.
    It's the worst thing you could use.

    Clear PolySeamSeal, it's in the painting department.
    The shims are in the door department.

    Don't buy shims in the plumbing department.
    Plumbers don't use them, they take about fifteen minutes to slice off.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-26-2009 at 09:18 AM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Most use shims to keep the toilet from rocking (and minor leveling), then use a caulk. You should be able to get a toilet colored caulk - especially easy if it is white. Polyseamseal is often mentioned as one that is fairly easy to install, and remove later. An alternative might be a grout colored caulk...at least with this, if any was left when removing the toilet, it probably wouldn't glare at you. Grout could be a major pain to remove from the tile and the inevitable grout joints of the tile. Plaster of paris could also be a pain to remove.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Thanks for the info. I did plan to use shims for levelling the toilet but had only seen the small clear ones near the toilet items in the store. Thanks for the tip on the composite door shims.

    It's a white toilet so caulk will match fine. I wouldn't dream of using silicone, that stuff never comes off. I'll look for the Polyseamseal, maybe do a test on a spare tile.

    Thanks,
    Scott
    Last edited by saraujo; 09-25-2009 at 10:03 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member dinkledoodle's Avatar
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    Ace and other stores have plastic toilet shims.




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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Ace and other stores have plastic toilet shims.
    Which are totally worthless.

    Get the plastic door shims.

    We install toilets all day long.
    I would "LOVE" to see an Ace Hardware guy try using those shims and then trying to trim them.
    You can't do it.

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    I think the toilet shims are probably great when the bowl rocks and you want to slide one in without removing the whole toilet. No need to cut, just jamb it in there.

    I got some composite shims and test fit the base. It didn't even take a full thickness shim to bring it to level. I also put a level on the floor. It's not too bad, I've fixed worse. I should be able to level it out while I'm installing the tile.

    Thanks again,
    Scott

  8. #8
    DIY Member SAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Which are totally worthless.

    Get the plastic door shims.

    We install toilets all day long.
    I would "LOVE" to see an Ace Hardware guy try using those shims and then trying to trim them.
    You can't do it.
    I am so glad to hear you say that. I used the plastic shims (got them at Home Depot) and just had one he** of a time trimming those things. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Next time I'll look for the door shims instead.

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    When I caulk the base of the toilet, should I seal it all the way around? It seems like that is code in most places but it also seems like many people leave a gap at the back to detect leaks. I'm on the top floor of a condo so being able to detect a leak before my downstairs neighbor tells me about it would certainly be great.

    Scott

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I'd leave the back open...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member voy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    We use composite plastic door shims if the floor is not level.


    Shim near the back, slid the shim in, score with a knife, and snap off.
    The caulk around the front with clear PolySeamSeal.
    Don't use Silicone, grout, plaster or putty.

    Putty is just some clay with oil in it.
    It's the worst thing you could use.

    Clear PolySeamSeal, it's in the painting department.
    The shims are in the door department.
    I was wondering, why not Silicone?

    Thanks.

    Edit: Please disregard, found the answer elsewhere in the forums.
    Last edited by voy; 10-25-2009 at 10:29 AM. Reason: Found answer

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Which are totally worthless.

    Get the plastic door shims.

    We install toilets all day long.
    I would "LOVE" to see an Ace Hardware guy try using those shims and then trying to trim them.
    You can't do it.
    I wish I had gotten the door shims. A Big Box guy talked me out of it and showed me these instead...I had not read your post about them being difficult to trim, but thought they might be challenging while examining them. The guy said, "Just cut them with a chisel" to which I was thinking, "hammering a chisel against tile?"

    I needed shims for one of three toilets. I did succeed in trimming them, but like you said, it wasn't easy. It isn't practical to just cut them off with a blade because of the position. For those in a similar situation here is what worked for me:
    1. After inserting them and tightening the johnny bolts I scored the exposed shims with a sharp, new utility knife blade--many times to establish a notch.
    2. Then by hand and without using a hammer, I pressed the edge of a thin wood chisel down hard into the notch rocking side-to-side across the length of the notch in several places to deepen it.
    3. Finally I slipped a wider chisel under the exposed end of the shim within the groove on the back of the shim, then I pry-levered upward to snap the shim fairly cleanly. To my surprise this worked.

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