I have heard some say to caulk around the bottom of the commode and some say no. Which is the best????
I say no, if the seal leaks you want to see the water rather than having it trapped under the toilet.
Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb
If I have a bad seal under the commode, I want to see that water before it slowly rots away the floor and causes major damage. I can see the argument that for asthetics and ease of cleaning, it is nice to have the base caulked. I compromise and caulk the front and sides, but leave the back open. It still looks good, makes cleaning easier, yet if a leak developoes, it will be readily apparent.
I too leave as much of the back side open as possible.
You want to see those leaks as soon as possible.
Another vote to caulk the front only.
I've done it both ways, but actually prefer no caulk whenever possible because, personally, I think it looks better. The exception would be when setting on an uneven floor, such as a tiled or stone surface, then caulking is more aesthetically pleasing. Some municipalities require caulking, so if you're getting inspections, then know what your locale requires. Like the others have said, if you do caulk, leave as much of the back open as possible for leak detection.
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Failed seals are almost always caused by a bowl that rocks. Bowls rock because they are not installed properly or because the floor is not flat. If the floor is not flat, the bowl should be shimmed to prevent rocking.
If ever you notice the bowl rocking, replace the seal immediately because it's already compromised -- even if you don't see evidence of a leak. By the time you see a leak, the floor may already be damaged.
If the toilet is properly installed, level, and doesn't rock even when a fat person sits on it unsquarely, you can probably caulk all the way around because it probably won't leak. Probably.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.
Once again I'm with A.Spruce. If it's needed cosmetically I will caulk, if not then I don't. And if I caulk it will be open in the back so that flange seal leakage will be evident. The exception to my rule is where I'm pretty sure the area will see lots of water, ie sloppy mopping from employees or owners, or from other ways that area may get excessively wet. In those cases I feel that the risk of rot is equal in both directions, either from a leaky seal or from water where it shouldn't be from the outside, so there I will caulk 100%.