How To Recaulk Around A Toilet

Toilet Caulking Tips

By Troy Cantini

Over time the caulking around a toilet can become moldy, black and ugly and it is usually impossible to effectively clean this caulk. Bacteria, germs and other pathogens can seep out from under the toilet and spread to other areas of your bathroom. Removing the old caulk and replacing it with new caulk is the usually the only way to restore the caulk and ensure that the area around your toilet stays clean and sanitary.

toilet with new caulk

The easiest 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. The utility knife can also be angled under the toilet to remove more old caulking than the razor blade tool.

After removing the caulk you should always test your toilet for leaks.   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.

removing old toilet caulk with razor blade

Removing caulk around a toilet can often times be time consuming and difficult.  Many toilets have not been recaulked in years and the caulk can be urine stained and filled with bacteria. You should first try to disinfect the area around a toilet before removing the old caulk. Also it helps to wear latex gloves to minimize the exposure to the bacteria and pathogens.

Many times the caulk around a toilet can be extremely hard and difficult to remove.  In many cases a hard to remove adhesive caulk has been used. This caulk can be rock hard and require strong hands and arms to remove. If you feel that a type of hard adhesive caulk was used you may want to consider hiring a contractor to recaulk your toilet for you.

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 if it becomes necessary to pull the toilet.

In this example with a light tan looking floor we used Laticrete Latasil Antique White colored caulk to match the color of the tiles and grout.  There are many different Laticrete Latasil caulk colors to choose from and you should choose the color best suited for your particular tile floor. You can order Latasil caulk online or many specialty tile and grout stores will stock Laticrete Latasil caulk.

smoothing caulk around toilet

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. Then you should smooth out the caulking around the toilet with your finger while the bottom layer of tape is still on the tile floor around the toilet. Then you can remove the bottom side caulking tape and use your finger to smooth out the caulking around the toilet 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.

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