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I intend to caulk either way, but wondering if leaving a small gap will help better seal the flooring the shower. Should I butt up to the shower basin and apply a small bead of caulk, or is it better to leave a gap and fill with caulk?

The floor is floating so I still have a chance too move it either way.

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If the floor is floating you need to leave a gap for expansion. Most floor manufacturers have a prescribed measurement, but I think 1/4-3/8 inch is the norm. That being said; caulk the gap with a 100% silicone caulking. You should be able to find one thats a close color to your floor.

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1000% don't actually know what I'm talking about, but I'm also working on a bath project (my first) and passing along what my research has revealed. Please do downvote if you know better.

I've seen a few recommendations that with a floating floor, you should definitely leave an expansion gap (your flooring will tell you exactly how much, mine says 3/8 inch) between the tub/shower and the flooring and that you should NOT fill that gap with caulk. The consensus recommendation I found was that you should adhere a waterproof quarter round directly to the bath/shower and caulk that, which allows the flooring to expand underneath.

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