Give somebody a tube of caulk and a caulking gun and he can watertight your bathtub under an hour. Caulking is easy to do but if you don't prepare well it’s easier to do it wrong and get the whole process messy.
Sealing bathtubs is a meticulous process. If it’s not done right, it can result in water seeping into the walls and end up damaging them. Caulk gets old, rusty and cracks every few years. So you need to remove and reapply the sealant when needed.
In this article, we’ll see you how you can apply caulk to your bathtub in the best way. Every process is given step by step so that you can do a long lasting, smooth caulk job confidently.
Step 1 - Buy a good a quality caulk gun and the right caulk-
Bathtubs need a special kind of caulk that has mild and mildew additives included as a protection against the constant water use. Among Variety of caulk of tubes you can recognize this kind by seeing “for kitchen and bath use” labeling on it.
Caulks are usually of two types - silicone or latex. Although latex is a less available option but if you are a beginner then going for it would be a good idea. It is easy to apply and remove and it can be cleaned with just water and soap.
Silicone caulks Are the most widely available ones. It’s a bit of a challenge to apply or remove this if you’ve never had experience with it beforehand. Cleaning Silicone is a bit harder than latex as silicone needs mineral spirits for cleaning.
In terms of durability - silicone is longer lasting than latex caulk. Silicone stays much more flexible for a long time. Both kinds of caulk develop molding with time as the additives keep wearing out.
Maximum tiles Stores have large variety of colors available. If you don't find your desired color you can ask the salesman whether it is possible to get a custom colored caulk. You can also find a range of colors in a paint hardware shop.
Along with the caulk tube, get a good quality caulk gun. It’s not very expensive and worth the price. Get something that has a sturdy plunging mechanism and it’ll provide even release flow so you can apply sealant smoothly in all areas.
Step 2 - Remove old caulk -
Bathtub Caulk has additives to prevent mildew from forming. But they wear out with time and there comes the need to apply a new seal. And for that, you have to remove the old existing caulk first.
Once the old caulk has been properly removed, use any mold removing product along the gaps around the tub walls. After the tub is washed, let it dry and again repeat the cleaning with a mineral spirit to ensure complete removal of the old caulk.
Step 3 - Mask with tapes to get a clean gap -
This is an optional step. If you’re not a pro, you can take this as a big help to apply your caulk precisely. It is time-consuming, but you’ll see why this is a good idea in the end.
Place two strips of tapes all around the bathtub where it meets the walls. Leave a small gap between the tapes to apply the caulk. The gap in between is the width of the sealant you’ll be applying.
Step 4 - apply the caulk -
Load the tube in the gun and cut the tube tip off of the exact size of the gap between the tapes, it should be of the same width of the gap.
Hold the tip at an angle you like. Some prefer 90-degree angle whereas few say 20 or 45 degrees is better. The best way is the way you’re comfortable holding it.
Slowly and steadily put pressure on the gun handle and apply caulk between the gap. Start from a corner and move it along the entire edge. Don't worry if you apply little more caulk as you can easily remove it by peeling the tape off.
After applying the sealant, put your finger into the seam and try to smooth out the seal. it will create a concave-like shape. Run your finger along the seam from edge to edge in a continuous line to ensure unbroken smooth line.
Step 5 - remove the tapes -
Strip away all the tapes from the sides of the bathtub before the caulk dries out. This will create a clean, straight sealant line. Try not to touch the seam of the caulk and carefully remove the tape.
Smooth the caulk again using a soaked cloth if necessary. Some places have ridges because of the tapes, you can smooth them as well. This will make a seamless finishing.
Step 6 - Let it dry -
Allow at least 48 hours to let the caulk dry. You will be able to tell by seeing it. Keep the area well ventilated. Excess room humidity will lengthen the drying time.
So now you have an idea of how to caulk your bathtub and make it look new again. You can see how easy the whole process is if it’s done right and can save yourself from wasted time and frustration.