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Thread: Caulking around base of toilet a necessity for ...?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member austai's Avatar
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    Default Caulking around base of toilet a necessity for ...?

    Hi,

    I installed three Toto Drakes in my house a few years ago -- two upstairs and one downstairs. I caulked around the base of the two upstair ones and have had no issues with those. The downstairs one, I just never got around to do the caulking.

    Well, that toilet seems to get loose every so often, rocking from side to side. I keep tightening the two base nuts but eventually the rocking comes back. I guess I'm slow to learn, but it finally occurred to me that maybe the caulking, besides keeping water and spills from getting under the toilet and causing floor damage, also serves to hold the toilet in place better than the two base bolts can do by themselves?

    Thanks for any help.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    The caulking certainly doesn't hurt, but if it's actually rocking, then you need to shim it. Just get the little plastic shims, either for toilets or widows, at the big box or the local hardware store. Shim it so it doesn't rock, break off the shim, caulk the base.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Anytime a toilet moves, it breaks the wax seal. Once broken, it is broken forever, so it must be replaced. However, the first thing to do it to determine why it moves. I suggest you pull the toilet up, clean the old wax from the toilet and flange, and then set the toilet back in place without wax. What you want to see is the toilet resting solidly on the floor all the way around. If does, then you can reset with new wax. If it does not set on the floor, then you must shim it. Note where the shims are needed, then reinstall the toilet on new wax. Put the wax on the flange first, not on the toilet. Most of us prefer to double nut the flange bolts (use an extra nut to pin the bolt to the flange in an upright position) Then lower the toilet straight onto the wax and use body weight to push the toilet into the wax until it rest on the floor and shims if shims are needed. Do not use the flange bolts to pull it toilet down, and do not rock it back and forth as this will destroy the seal. Secure the toilet in place with the the flange bolts. If you do this, the toilet will be rock solid and should set that way for years. There are two schools of thought on caulking. Some local codes require caulking around the entire toilet and some want the back left open. Local codes must prevail. It will take a hell of an effort to move the toilet if properly secured with the flange bolts. I doubt that the caulking will make very much difference. Please realize that there is no repair of the broken seal caused by movement. It has to be replaced with a new seal.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The caulking does stick em down better. We use Poly Seam Seal Clear.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Depending on the surface covering, caulking can make a big difference in holding the thing in place. On a sheet vinal floor, the rough bottom surface of the toilet will lock itself down pretty well. On a tiled floor, you'd have little chance of getting it locked in place well with just the toilet bolts and caulking would be required to keep in in place.

    If you keep having to tighten the bolts, the flange may be broken. This is fairly common with an all plastic toilet flange and is the reason pros prefer to use one with a SS ring. The flange also needs to be properly anchored to the floor. Pull it up, check the flange, get a new wax ring, and if required, replace the flange. Then, caulk it to keep things clean and to anchor it well.
    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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    DIY Junior Member austai's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the help.

    I vaguely remember this toilet did not sit quite evenly on the floor when I installed it, but plowed ahead without using shims. Apparently, that was a bad idea. I'm not sure I want to mess with shims so I'm just going to let a professional handle it.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Read the 'how-to' instuctions on this site...it's not rocket science. Basically, set it in place 'dry' to check where you need shims to keep it from rocking, lift it, set the wax on the ring, then set the toilet down on the shims and the flange and you're done except for the caulking. Personally, rather than buying shims, I tend to use some coins. Between a penny, dime, nickel, I almost always have enough sitting in my pocket to make it stable. They're cheaper than buying shims, don't degrade or shrink, you don't have to cut them off so they don't show, and, did I say, they're cheap!? And, you don't have to make a trip to the store...well, maybe to buy the new wax ring...but, you get the idea.
    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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    DIY Junior Member austai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Read the 'how-to' instuctions on this site...it's not rocket science. Basically, set it in place 'dry' to check where you need shims to keep it from rocking, lift it, set the wax on the ring, then set the toilet down on the shims and the flange and you're done except for the caulking. Personally, rather than buying shims, I tend to use some coins. Between a penny, dime, nickel, I almost always have enough sitting in my pocket to make it stable. They're cheaper than buying shims, don't degrade or shrink, you don't have to cut them off so they don't show, and, did I say, they're cheap!? And, you don't have to make a trip to the store...well, maybe to buy the new wax ring...but, you get the idea.
    Is this the how-to article you're referring to? http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...-by-Jamie-Love

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Yes...follow that, and you should be golden.
    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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