How To Recaulk Around A Toilet

Toilet Recaulking Tips

By Troy Cantini

 

Neglecting to caulk around a toilet can lead to cleanliness and sanitation issues in your bathroom. Bacteria, germs and other pathogens can grow and spread to other areas of your bathroom. Over time the caulking around a toilet can become moldy, black and ugly and it is usually impossible to effectively clean this caulk. Removing the old caulk and replacing it with new caulk is the usually the only way to restore the caulk and ensure that the the new caulk will keep your home clean and sanitary.

removing old toilet caulk with razor blade

The best way to remove old caulk around a toilet is to use a razor blade scrapping tool.  The razor blade tool will allow you to cut through the old caulk so that it can be pulled away and removed. A high quality utility knife can also be used to cut through the caulk if it is an extremely hard type of caulk. It is necessary to remove as much of the old caulk as possible. You do not want the old caulk to still have mold and mildew growing in it that could spread to the new caulk.

After you have removed the old caulk then it is important to check for wax ring leaks that are causing dirty toilet water to leak out from under your toilet.  You do not want to caulk the toilet if the wax ring is leaking. You should check all around the toilet for any evidence that the toilet bowl wax seal is leaking. Flushing the toilet a few times and checking to see if water is being forced out from under the toilet is a good way to check for wax ring toilet leaks. If you see that the toilet is leaking then the toilet must be pulled and the wax ring seal must be replaced before caulking the toilet.

applying caulk around toilet

Taping up around the toilet is the key to ensuring that the new caulk will form a nice even and straight looking caulk line.  Using small pieces of painters tape you can form a ring around the base of the toilet. Then you can use another piece of painters tape to tape around the toilet so that there will be a nice even caulking joint around the toilet.

It is important to only use a 100% silicone caulk like Laticrete Latasil for caulking around your toilet.  Laticrete Latasil comes in many colors and you should pick the caulk color that best matches the floor underneath the toilet. White caulk will match most toilets but will look ugly and out of place on the underlying floor. It is best to not worry about matching the color of toilet and match the caulk to the color of the underlying floor.

It is important to not use any type of home improvement store type of caulk.  Many of these caulks are latex based and mold and mildew will quickly grow in them and make them look black and ugly in a short period of time. Also many home improvement store caulks can dry extremely hard and brittle and make removing this caulk extremely difficult when the time comes to pull the toilet if there is a leak or if the toilet becomes clogged for any reason.

In this example with a light tan looking floor we used Latacrete Latasils Antique White colored caulk to match the color of the tiles and grout.  There are many different Laticrete Latasil caulk colors and you can choose a Latasil caulk color here if you need to order caulk online. Many specialty tile and grout stores will stock Latacrete Latasil caulk

smoothing caulk around toilet

It is important to not use any type of home improvement store type of caulk.  Many of these caulks are latex based and mold and mildew will quickly grow in them and make them look black and ugly in a short period of time. Also many home improvement store caulks can dry extremely hard and brittle and make removing this caulk extremely difficult when the time comes to pull the toilet if there is a leak or if the toilet becomes clogged for any reason.

It is important to not caulk the very back side of the toilet.   You want to leave a small opening on the back side of the toilet so that if your wax toilet ring starts to leak then pressure does not build up underneath your toilet. If the wax ring starts to leak then you will know that your toilet is leaking by seeing dirty toilet water exit through the back uncaulked area of the toilet. Then you will know that it is time to pull the toilet and replace the wax toilet ring. Of course this will also involve recaulking your toilet again.

removing caulking tape from around toilet

You should remove the caulking tape one side at a time.  It is best to remove the top side caulking tape first and then smooth out the caulk. Then you should remove the bottom side caulking tape and smooth the caulking out one last time.

toilet with new caulking applied

After you are done caulking the toilet you should inspect the caulk to ensure that the caulk is all lying flat and looks straight and even.  You should allow the caulk at least 24 hours to properly set before getting the caulk wet or disturbing the caulk while it is drying. If the tile floor grout is black and impossible to clean you can dye the grout to restore the look of the grout as seen in this project.


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