If you notice that it is time to redo bathtub caulking – odds are good the caulking around a bathtub is cracking or even missing – follow these easy bathtub caulking tips for beginners and avoid replacing the whole tub.
Caulking Around a Bathtub Starts with Old Caulk Removal
Tools Needed: Exacto knife and razor scraper
Spot fixing bathtub caulking is possible when the caulking is relatively new, but if it has been there for a few years, you will be better served to remove all of it and start over. Gently loosen and scrape the old caulk away from the wall and tub.
Do Not Redo Bathtub Caulking Until You Check for – and Remove – Mold
Tools Needed: Putty knife, bleach, and water
As you scrape away the old caulking, look for telltale brow spots. You might also find mold on the tiles. Remove the mold with a scraper or putty knife, and clean all exposed areas with a bleach solution. Mix equal parts of bleach and water, and repeatedly clean the affected areas until the mold is removed. Before proceeding with bathtub caulking, wait for the area to dry completely.
Caulking a Bathtub Starts with Prep Work
Tools Needed: Painter’s tape and bathtub caulking
Sure, you could just buy a couple of tubes of bathtub caulking, cut the tube’s nozzle to the desired caulk strip thickness, and get to work, but why not make the job easier? Redo bathtub caulking by applying painter’s tape to the target area first. This prevents a lot of smeared overage on the tiles and grout, and saves you about three hours of painstaking cleanup as you redo bathtub caulking.
Bathtub Caulking 101
Tools Needed: Running water, surgical gloves and a small bowl of water
If you redo bathtub caulking to avoid replacing the whole tub – as is usually the case when the paint inside the tub is still good, and you just replaced the tiles – you want to fill the tub with cold water. This is a builder’s trick that allows for the floor to provide the maximum amount of give, and if you are caulking around a bathtub that is filled, you are far less likely to encounter the cracking that comes over time from the subtle shift that occurs when the tub is filled and emptied repeatedly.
Put on surgical gloves, cut the tip off the bathtub caulk, and apply it in between the predefined lines that you marked off with painter’s tape. Go slow! Caulking around a bathtub is a precision job, not a sprint. When you are finished, dip your gloved finger into a small bowl of water and use it to smooth out the caulk. This removes the little hills and valleys in your caulk line.
As soon as you are finished with the line, remove the painter’s tape. The caulking gels in about 45 minutes but takes at least 24 hours to cure, so keep the area dry and free of debris and little fingers that want to find out what caulk feels like.