Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sound BathTub, Bath Tile Caulking Advice!!

How to clean out old caulk and apply new, durable caulk around the bathtub.

When the caulking around a bathtub starts to crack and become a cozy home for dark stains that signal mold, it’s time to replace it. The caulk is the water-tight seal between the bathtub and the wall. Once the caulk’s integrity is compromised, water can invade the wall, causing rot in the framing around the tub. Pick up a 5.5-fl.-oz. tube of tub-and-tile caulk ($3) and you can clean and recaulk the tub in less than an hour.

Laying a smooth, clean-looking bead of caulk is tricky. If it doesn’t go right, you can wind up with sticky caulk all over the place and a sloppy-looking job. It takes a little technique and practice to lay a caulk bead like a pro, but this article will set you on the right path. Before you recaulk your bathtub, you must completely remove the old caulk. Clean the joint so the new caulk will bond properly, creating a watertight seal.

Cutting the right size opening at the tip of the caulk tube is critical for a clean, smooth bead. A large opening will spread too much caulk into the joint and you’ll wind up getting it all over the place. It’s better to cut the tip too small at first because you can always recut it if necessary. Cut the caulk tip so the opening is about the diameter of a wire coat hanger.
Fill the bathtub with water before caulking. The water weight will maximize the width of the tub/wall joint and prevent future stress and cracking. Once your caulk bead is dry, you can drain the water.

Laying a uniform bead of caulk requires constant pressure on the caulk tube. The bead should be sized so only a slight amount wipes off when you drag your finger over it. As the caulk tube empties, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to keep constant pressure on the tube and lay a uniform bead. Finish the bead and clean off any excess caulk. If you’re having trouble smoothing the bead of caulk, try rewetting your finger or using a different one. The tile corner joint is just as important as the tub joint. Give it the Caulk, dude, as hard as you can! Allow the caulk to dry for 24 hours before using the bathtub. Use a utility knife to cut the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle so the opening is about the diameter of a wire coat hanger.

1. Push a razor scraper in all the way under both edges of the old caulk bead to release its grip. Don’t pry the caulk with the scraper because you could break off the razor blade.

2. Scrape the loosened caulk out of the joint with the pointed end of a can opener or putty knife.

3. Remove any remaining caulking residue and grime with a tub-and-tile cleaner and a non-abrasive sponge.

4. Pull the caulk tube down the tub/wall joint from the inside corner of the tub. Keep even pressure on the tube by pushing the caulk forward and folding over the empty portion.

5. Dampen your finger in the tub and drag it over the freshly laid bead of caulk. Press the caulk into the joint with the tip of your finger and scrape away the excess with the sides of your finger (it may take a few swipes). Wipe excess caulk off your finger with a damp rag.

6. Caulk up the tile corner joint if the old caulk has cracked or deteriorated.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Learning on how to caulk efficiently is essential to prevent leaks and cracks from developing further. It is also useful in my part when I accidentally cracked my bathtub once and there is also an instance that there was a gap between two of my tile. Clearwater, where I currently live, me and my dad bought a lot of tile flooring (Tampa) to replace our old bathroom tiles, and so, it took us 6 hours to install and finish the tiles, yet we continued on the next day to apply the grout.