How to Caulk a Toilet to a Floor

Updated: Jan. 10, 2024

For the best seal, caulk the floor before you set the toilet

FH12JAU_CAUTOI_01-2Family Handyman
A master plumber shares his secrets for setting toilets on tile floors. The key is getting a good caulk seal between the toilet and the floor, which prevents rocking and protects against leaks.

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Caulk, then set the toilet

Caulk the floor

Cut the caulk tube tip square and drag the caulk gun toward you as you lay in a thick bead of caulk along the inside edge of the tape.

Toilets should be caulked to the floor to prevent side-to-side movement that can break the wax seal (and to prevent splashes or overflows from puddling under the toilet and rotting the floor). DIYers often set the toilet and then apply a tiny bead of caulk along the outside edge. That doesn’t always provide a good enough bond to the floor, and it leaves a prominent caulk line. There’s an easier way to secure the toilet and provide a cleaner caulk line. Just follow this tip from master plumber Les Zell. While you’re at it, get to know how to paint behind a toilet.

Did you know that caulking your toilet to the floor is actually a highly debated topic among DIYers? It’s true!

Watch this video to find out why you should caulk your toilet to the floor:

First set the toilet in place (without the wax ring) and square it up to the wall. Then make an outline of the toilet on the floor with masking tape. Remove the toilet and turn it on its side. Measure the depth and width of the gluing edge of the bowl. Next, move your caulk gun to the inset depth you just measured and apply caulk directly to the floor, maintaining the inset depth as you follow the tape. Install the wax ring and lower the toilet onto the flange. Stand on the toilet to compress the wax ring and ensure good contact with the caulk. Then use paper towels to clean up any caulk that oozed out. If you’re planning to hire a pro, get to know the cost of installing a toilet.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Caulk gun

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Caulk
  • Masking tape
  • Paper towels