Silicone or no silicone around toilet bowls?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Sean Beck, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Sean Beck

    Sean Beck Plumber

    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I am a firm believer in not putting silicone around the bowl of regular toilets, so that if the gasket ever goes, then you will see it right away. I know a lot of people put silicone around the base and then wonder why their floor is so badly rotten when they lift the toilet to replace the gasket.

    The only time I will ever use silicone is on larger one piece toilets that have the unfit adapters, and wanted to know what other people's opinions were. I usually find the TOTO toilets rather sturdy. Sometimes when I install cheaper ones that only have the two small screws at the back to hold the toilet to the adapter, I find that the bowl isn't sturdy as I would want it to be. When this is the case, I will put a small bead around the front of the bowl to stop any movement.
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    NW Ontario, Canada
    I am a firm believer of putting silicone around the front and two sides, leaving the rear unsealed. When little Johnny has trouble with his aim, I don't want it collecting under the base.
  3. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I would never, ever put Silicone around a toilet bowl.

    It's permanent. If you ever have to pull the bowl, you will have to cut the bowl away from the floor with a knife. It ruins the floor.

    Use water base Polyseamseal. It seals, and you can lift the bowl off the floor if needed.

    We do caulk with polyseamseal around the bowl, leaving the back without, in case there is a wax seal problem.
    We use clear. It goes on white and dries clear.


    Sometimes you need to remove a bowl to remove a plug. Making a "forever" installation prevents that.
    Sometimes we need to break the toilet with a hammer to get it off the floor. It's not pretty.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    What you need is seal to prevent misdirected urine or spilled water from getting under the toilet. It is also wise to have a bit extra security around the base to help keep the toilet from moving. The original question regarding silicone. Silicone will provide the desired results, but as pointed out, it virtually impossible to remove without damaging the floor. That's the advantage that a latex caulk provides. Polyseam is a very good choice, but there are others. Codes vary for place to place. Some want the seal 100% around the base, others insist the back of the base be left open.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    FWIW, on a tiled floor, a toilet is often very unstable without using some sealant around the base. The hole in the toilet for the bolts is often 2-3x larger in diameter than the actual bolt, and you can't tighten it down all that tight without risking cracking the thing...the wax seal isn't all that strong, so a good knock, and you may shift the thing...doesn't happen if you have the sealant around the base. A toilet on something like a vinyl floor may sink in an be tough to move, but you'd still have the same issue with liquids seeping underneath it that you can't clean up (and can begin to smell nasty after awhile).
  7. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Read your code book. I haven't found one yet that didn't require sealing the bowl to the floor.
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    North Vancouver, BC
    I set my toilets with silicone as well most times. Leaving the back untouched. I also completely fill in around the toilet flange and grout lines so if there is a back up or leak it can not soak into my floors.

    I like the strength and lack of movement the toilet install has after this step is done. I like that the silicone backs up the two bolts and adds to the strength of the total install.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Being a tile setter, and not a maintenance plumber, you don't have to curse those who use silicon. Holding it down works, either way.
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