The toilet flange is a circular toilet part that is made from PVC, rubber, or metal. The goal of the toilet flange is to secure the toilet to the floor and connect the toilet to the drain.
Some people debate whether they should caulk around the flange. The most common reason people do not caulk around the toilet flange is that they fear water will be trapped under the toilet should the flange leak.
Though water can fail to escape if the toilet flange is caulked, this should not deter you from caulking it.
In fact, plumbers and home inspectors agree that you should caulk around the toilet flange to anchor the toilet and prevent a fouling area. You just need to know how to caulk around the flange correctly. To find out more, read on!
Why You Should Caulk Around Toilet Flange
Many people fear that caulking the toilet flange will trap water under the toilet in the case of a leak. As a result, they do not caulk around the toilet flange.
In reality, though, toilets rarely leak onto the bathroom floor. Instead, they leak through the floor around the flange, meaning that they go into the basement or floor below. Because of this, most people’s reasoning for not caulking around the flange is faulty. In fact, it is recommended to caulk the toilet flange for two reasons:
It Anchors the Toilet Down
The most important reason that you should caulk around the toilet flange is that it anchors the toilet more securely. In toilets that are not caulked, they are secured using only bolts. These bolts can wear down or become loose over time if they are not supported.
The caulk provides another anchor for the toilet. Many home inspectors claim that toilets with caulk around the flange are rarely loose. So, you should caulk around the flange in addition to the regular bolts to ensure that the toilet is properly anchored to the floor.
It Prevents Fouling Area
Another reason that you should caulk around the toilet flange is that it prevents a fouling area from forming under the toilet. In bathrooms without a caulked toilet, mop water and tub water can get under the toilet, where there is no way to clean it up. Over time, that water creates a fouling area.
If you caulk around the toilet flange though, water cannot get under the toilet and around the drain. As a result, it prevents a fouling area from forming.
Toilet Flange Parts
Before caulking around the toilet flange, you need to know the toilet flange parts.
The toilet horn is the part of the toilet that connects to the flange. The hole of the toilet flange should line up with the horn for the toilet to be secure.
The gasket is what seals the flange properly. It sits between the horn and the flange. Without a gasket, the toilet flange will not be up to code. The most popular gasket is a wax ring, but it is not the only gasket option. In most cases, a wax ring is the recommended gasket type.
The flange is the part that secures the toilet to the floor and connects the toilet to the drain. It is normally made from PVC, rubber, or metal. The flange must be anchored down via caulk and bolts for it to function properly over a long period of time.
How to Caulk Around Toilet Flange
As we have already noted, many people fear that caulking around the toilet flange will trap water under the toilet in the case of a leak. Though this fear is unlikely to happen, it is not completely off base. Water can get trapped under the toilet in the case of a leak. To prevent this, you just need to know how to caulk around the toilet flange correctly. Here’s how to do it:
Check Flange Height
The first step to caulking your toilet flange is checking its height. The best height for a flange is about ¼ inch above the finished floor. This height will allow you to properly fit a ring to the flange. If the flange is less than ¼ inch above the floor, you can add a toilet flange extender.
Add Caulk to Flange
Before bolting the flange down, you should add a bead of caulk around most of the flange’s perimeter. The bead should cover all but the back two inches of the flange. The reason that you do not want to caulk the back two inches of the flange is that it will allow room for water to escape in the case of a leak that comes through the floor.
So, caulk around all but the back 2 inches of the flange. For vinyl floors, the caulk should be around ¼ inch. For tile floors, you should have around ¼ to ½ inch of caulk.
Secure Closet Bolts
Once the flange has a perimeter of caulk, you should place the flange and secure the closet bolts. There should be two. For a secure fit, use a nut and washer to hold the bolts to the flange. This will ensure that the bolts are not knocked out of place when you are installing the toilet unit.
Place Wax Ring
You will then place a wax ring around the flange. The purpose of this wax ring is to seal the flange so that water does not leak. No flange will be up to code if there is not a wax ring or other form of gasket attached to it.
If the flange is less than ¼ inch above the floor, do not stack more than one wax ring on top of one another. Instead, use an extra-thick ring to make up the difference of the flange height.
Place the Toilet
Finally, it is time to place the toilet over the flange. Make sure that it sits evenly over the flange and that the bolts line up properly. Adjust the toilet until it is in the correct position. Before bolting the toilet down, level it off to prevent future leaks and movement.
Once the toilet is leveled off, bolt it down and then caulk around the base with silicone caulk. This will further prevent the toilet from leaking and moving in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I need to replace the toilet flange?
The toilet flange can deteriorate and leak over time. You will know that you need to replace your toilet flange whenever it starts to leak from the bottom of the toilet. To ensure that the flange is the problem, see if the toilet rocks.
If it rocks, try tightening the bolts. In the case that the bolts do not tighten, then the flange is probably to blame.
Is a closet flange different from a toilet flange?
No. Closet flange is simply another name for the toilet flange.
Can I just use caulk to secure the flange?
No. You do not want to use caulk alone to secure the flange. Instead, you should use both bolts and caulk to create the most secure and stable flange possible.