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Should you tile under or around the toilet?
Room planning

Should you tile under or around the toilet?

Posted by Rebecca Doody in Room planning | 1 year ago 6 min read

Renovating your bathroom? Wondering whether you should tile around or under the toilet? You're in the right place...


Regardless of whether you're renovating your existing home or building a new one, you are bound to have ideas and opinions about every aspect of your new abode. Practical or not, you should be sure to carefully evaluate each decision before making your final choice. One of those considerations may be tiling around or under the toilet. 

The short answer to the question "should toilet sit on top of tile?" is simple—if you’ve opted for ceramic tiles, then you should tile them under the toilet, if you’ve opted for vinyl tiles on the other hand, then you should go with tiling them around the toilet. Wondering why we suggest this? Well, it can be attributed to the thickness of the tiles. In comparison to vinyl tiles, ceramic tiles are much thicker in size. They can withstand the weight of the toilet and are thus suitable to be placed under it. Thinner vinyl tiles will end up peeling off due to the immense weight of the toilet. If you have a wall hung toilet however, then this shouldn't be a concern at all.

Orchard Derwent round compact close coupled toilet with luxury slim soft close seat

But what about the toilet flange?

Now that you’ve solved the issue of over or around the tiles on the bathroom floor, you may be wondering, what about toilet flanges? Do I tile around or under it? How should the old toilet flange sit? The answer is, in most cases, that you should tile under the toilet flange and toilet tank. This allows for the toilet flange to be secured with the use of bolts. Only in a minority of use cases does the flange go beneath the tiles. 

Toilet manufacturers have weighed in on this discussion to recommend that you place tiles beneath the toilet flange. What they recommend is to put the flange on top of the tile, ensuring that the bottom of the flange touches the surface of the tile. Using screws, fix the flange to ensure that it goes beneath the thickness of the tile, ensuring that it is tightly secured to the floor beneath. Any plumber worth their salt will make sure that your toilet flange has been properly secured, and will often use a long screw to fasten the flange to the tiles. The screw used will likely be about two inches long, or twice the thickness of your tiles.

With that said, if you did install the toilet flange directly to the floor, rather than on top of your ceramic tile floor, it isn’t a major cause for concern since you can always purchase a wax ring to make up for the height shortage.

Decisions about the toilet

We recommend that the toilet bowl be placed on top of the tiles on a finished floor. That’s the long and short of it, unless you used a thin material for your tile, like vinyl. What this means in practical terms is that you should always remove the toilet if you are renovating it, in order to place tiles beneath the toilet on the new bathroom floor. The toilet flange then goes atop after you install tiles for the bathroom flooring. Unless you are in a situation where it is impossible to redo the floor tile due to the flange already being put in, never put the tiles below the existing toilet and the flange. 

Having the tiles go under the toilet, makes it much easier to do repairs or removals. In the event that you choose to replace your toilet, you also wouldn’t face the issue of a mismatched tile and toilet bottom. 

Mode Tate rimless close coupled toilet with soft close seat

Do I need to caulk?

You should absolutely caulk the tiles around your toilet. The reason why caulking ought to be done around a toilet isn’t so much a matter of whether you want to or not, but a question of meeting local plumbing standards. Stipulations are in place that caulking has to be done around the toilet, and you should use a caulking gun to apply the caulk in the evening before heading to bed. Once the caulk dries overnight, the job is done, and your toilet is ready to be used. Furthermore, caulking helps to prevent both foul odours and leakages from occurring. This is important since it means the money spent on your renovation will last you for longer.

Some people may question if caulking will leave unsightly marks on the floor. If done correctly with the right materials, there are unlikely to be any marks, provided that 100% silicone caulk has been used, and is allowed sufficient time to cure and turn invisible to the naked eye. The excess caulk should be removed by wiping it off with your finger and be sure not to mix water into the caulking material.

Should I DIY or hire someone to install the toilet?

This ultimately boils down to whether you have the budget or the expertise. If you have the budget to do so, you could get the tile layer to also install the toilet. Since it is likely the tile layer will also be a plumber—you can hire one person to do both jobs, they might charge you a little extra for it, but you know your toilet is safe in the hands of the professionals. 

If you have the expertise but are short on budget, you could consider installing the toilet yourself. Do consider your health condition and if you are able to lift and carry the old toilet out, and then the new one in. The cost of healthcare is likely to be higher than the cost of hiring a plumber, so do also factor that into your decision. If you feel you are getting on in years, then it may be wiser to hire a professional; whereas if you’re a healthy, energetic gym-goer, you’ll probably have no problem doing it yourself.

Mode Tate wall hung toilet with soft close seat


A bathroom can often be a quiet respite for most people at the end of a busy day, or a place to start their day right, so it’s essential that you get your renovations done properly. However you choose to tile, ensure it is thought through correctly.

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Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in Room planning | 1 year ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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