If you smell odors around the base, it may be time to check the caulk. Caulking hides the space between the floor and toilet, and it also prevents odor leaks from gas and sewage, and it also prevents water buildup under the toilet You should be able to replace the toilet caulk yourself without professional help by following these tips.
Prepare to Replace the Caulk
To replace caulk around the toilet base, gather:
- work gloves
- soft cloths
- paper towels
- mildew cleaner
- mineral spirits
- non-abrasive scrub pad
- painter's tape or masking tape
- utility knife or razor blade
- needle-nose pliers
- five in one painter's tool
- caulk gun or squeeze tube
- commercial caulk remover
- silicone caulk
Don't use caulk to stop water leaks, or you will push water under the floor, causing a bigger problem. Check the condition of the wax ring, and replace damaged rings. If the smell doesn't stop after you replace caulk, or the water still leaks under the toilet, call a plumber.
Remove the Old Caulk
Open a window or door to ventilate. If the caulk seems hard, apply caulk remover, and let it stand for the suggested time. Avoid getting the remover on plastic fixtures.
Cut into the caulking vertically with the knife or razor blare following the contours of the base and make a horizontal cut on the floor to remove caulk on the line. Use the needle-nose pliers to slowly pull the caulk from the base, and the hook of the five in one tool to remove slithers. Scrape remnants with the scrub pad, applying more remover to the caulk bits as needed.
Install the New Caulk
Soak a clean cloth in mineral spirits, and clean the surface and inside of the empty joint to remove residue. Use a damp cloth to rinse the mineral spirits and a clean cloth to dry the surface. Rub some anti-mildew cleaner into the space to destroy lingering mildew.
Tear painter's tape in small strips, and lay it around the toilet base to mark the new caulk line top, then lay more strips on the floor leaving a three-eighths inch gap between borders. Alternately, lay masking tape around the base, which is more flexible.
Cut the tip of the tube at a 45-degree angle using the knife or blade. Slide the caulk tube into caulk gun, press the trigger, and apply a bead of caulk between the tape layers using steady pressure. If you have trouble fitting the caulk gun into the space, try a squeeze tube.
Dampen a paper towel, wrap it around your finger, and smooth the caulk. Carefully remove the tape, smoothing the line, then let it cure twenty-four hours.
Contact a plumbing contractor for more help.