Re-caulking a shower or a bathtub seems quite complicated at a first glance, but in fact, it is a simple job. After all, removing the old caulk can be an easy and also inexpensive way to improve the appearance of your bathroom.
However, sometimes you need to re-caulk because the old caulk has started to crack, has developed mildew or is discolored because of the mold. In any case re-caulking is the right step to do.
There are three simple and easy steps to do:
a) Removing the older caulk;
b) Cleaning the area;
c) Applying the new caulk.
Materials & Tools
– Caulking gun;
– Caulk – You can use different types of caulk such as silicone, acrylic or a combination of silicone, acrylic and latex. However, silicone caulk is more flexible than acrylic and latex caulk. It is a good idea to ask for an advice a building supply store or hardware employee, which is the best product for your project.
– Putty knife, Utility knife or Razor knife, Paper towels or clean rugs.
– A mixture of bleach and water in a spray bottle.
1| Removing the Old Caulk
To remove the old caulk, you should use either a razor blade or a utility knife. So, take your razor blade or utility knife and slide it carefully and gentle between the old caulk and the bathtub or shower surface. If the bathtub is made of plastic, make sure you won’t cut into it when you slide the blade along the surface. Try to remove the old caulk into long thin strips without letting too much old caulk behind. When you finish all around you can move to the second step.
2| Cleaning the Area
No matter how well you removed the old caulk or how adherent the old caulking bead was there are certain to be bits of caulk left behind or at least some traces of mold or caulk. You need now to deal with that. So, using carefully your razor, go around again, trying to remove any traces of caulk left behind. Use also, blue paper towels or better a dry and clean rug to wipe these traces. However, it is easier to moisten these traces before wiping them. Use for that a solution of bleach diluted in water. It should work just fine. When finished, allow an hour to dry chlorine solution. This mixture is great and will make your bathroom more sanitary and safety. It will kill all the fungus and germs.
3| Applying the New Caulk
Applying new caulk is also an easy task. In fact, all you need is attention and patience. Why patience? Because if the seam is pretty wide, you should apply the caulk several times. Perhaps, you want to fill the entire length in one application, but often this is not possible. However, if you can do it in one then do it.
But first, make sure you have a flexible and good caulk that matches the colors of your bathroom (tub, shower, surroundings). Then read and follow carefully the instruction on the silicone tube.
Insert the silicone tube into the caulk gun and start applying. Try to apply in a continuous and long bead not much thicker than a peppercorn. Keep your hand firmly and try to apply the caulk bead all around to the entire seam length. Smooth the bead with your index finger. Wipe your hand from time to time with a piece of paper towel. Let it dry for a couple of hours before applying the next caulk bead. Allow 12 hours the caulk to dry before taking a shower or a bath.