Whether you're installing a new tub, remodeling your bathroom or just performing maintenance and upkeep, when you're ready to caulk the tub, following this list of how to caulk bathtub tips will help to do it right. It's important to do the job properly to prevent water penetration and expensive damage to your walls.
Choose an Appropriate Caulk
Caulk is a finishing material used to fill gaps, cracks, and breaks in various surfaces. In this case, it's the gap between the tub rim and the wall. Before you start your caulking project, be sure to read labels and select a caulk designed for use around the tub. Such caulks are available in a variety of colors and are designed to be used in high-moisture areas. If inadvertently you don't use the proper caulk, it can influence adhesion and durability and lead to cracking and separating.
Bathtub Caulking Tips
- Clean all old caulk from gap before applying new bead of caulk.
- Clean up all mold, mildew and soap scum before applying caulk.
- Wipe the gap with rubbing alcohol to help eradicate any trace of moisture before applying caulk.
- Choose a caulk approved for use in the bathroom.
- Insert the caulk tube into a caulk gun before cutting the application tip on the mark indicated.
- Cut tube tip enough that a bead of caulk can push through and, if the tube has a thin inner barrier designed to prevent the caulk from curing, puncture the barrier with a pointed object like a nail.
- To get the tube started and test the flow, hold the caulk gun over a garbage can, depress the trigger, moving the caulk into the tip until it flows out. You do not want the caulk to squirt or drip.
Applying the Caulk
- Point the tip of the caulk gun at the seam but just above the surface-almost touching.
- Apply caulk with one steady motion.
- Move caulk gun straight along the seam.
- Release the trigger before the flow stops and press it again to continue a uniform bead for the entire seam.
- Do not stop until you reach a corner.
- Be sure to release the trigger lock when you stop or the caulk will continue to ooze out.
- The bead should fill the seam between wall and bathtub, making contact with both the wall and tub.
- Caulk can be smoothed with a wet finger, plastic spoon or rounded ice cube. (But remember, if you use silicone caulk, it is very sticky and does not come off easily. If you plan to use your fingers to smooth the caulk, wear latex gloves.)
- Start smoothing caulk in one corner and go halfway across. Move to the opposite corner and do the same until you finger meets the smoothed caulk in the center.
- Don't bathe or shower for a minimum of 24 hours to let the caulk cure.
- Fill the tub three quarters of the way full of water to allow the tub to sag while the caulk dries for 24 hours. This is probably the most common error people make when caulking their tub. Fill the tub with water. If you don't, the tub will sag when the tub is used and pull on the seam, which can result in cracks and breaching.
Dangers of Improper Caulking
As you follow this list of how to caulk bathtub tips, remember that an improperly caulked tub can lead to damage caused by moisture that seeps behind the tub. This can promote dangerous forms of mold and mildew. To prevent this, be sure to replace your caulk when it is worn or cracked and before you take the time to apply new waterproof caulk completely remove the old caulk first. .