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Tips for Recaulking Your Shower or Tub

It’s a good idea to recaulk the area between your shower and tub annually. As your house naturally moves and shifts, it can crack the caulk, allowing water to come between your shower walls and tub. If water seeps in, it can cause a lot of damage. Despite the preventing leaks factor, another good reason to recaulk regularly is that pesky black mildew blemishes don’t go away, an unsightly indication that there may be leaks in your caulk.

Fortunately, repairing this damage is a pretty simple process, and we’re going to walk you through it.

Step 1: Remove old caulk

Do not just caulk over your caulk; that’ll just increase the problem. You need to remove that old caulk first. You can find a solution to spray or squirt on your existing caulk that will loosen it and allow you to scrape it. If you choose not to do that, you’ll just need to put in a little more elbow grease with a scraper or razor blade to get that old caulk out.

Step 2: Choose your caulk

The most important thing to remember when choosing your caulk is to get silicone. Whether it’s labeled for kitchens or bathrooms makes no difference, you’re just looking for the permanent, waterproof seal silicone provides. 

Our second recommendation is to use a full tube, with a caulk gun. They offer smaller ones, but manually squeezing out beads of caulk around the entire tub will leave your hands in pain. If you’ve never loaded a caulking gun before, this video will show you how it’s done.

Step 3: Prepare

Dry it

Once you have all the caulk removed—and we mean ALL of it, even the pesky pieces that don’t want to come off—you need to assess what’s needed. Maybe there’s a lot of mildew that’s there. If so, you’ll need to clean that out before you caulk over it. Whatever it looks like underneath, make sure the area is completely dry, otherwise your efforts are in vain.

Tape it

Silicone caulk is stickier and gooier than normal caulk, making it more difficult to spread. It also can’t be painted, so you can put painters tape down in order to make your caulk likes straight and clean. Of course, if your caulk is the same color as your tile, this is an extra unnecessary step. It depends on how professional you want your caulk job to look.

Step 4: Caulk and wait

If you’ve adequately prepared, you should be able to caulk with your caulk gun pretty quickly. But then, you need to wait 24 hours. Even if your caulk is labeled “one-hour shower ready,” it will recommend that you let it rest for 24 hours. Heed this advice. It’s important to let this create a permanent seal for the caulk to do its job of preventing water to seep in.

Recaulking your shower or tub should be a fairly simple process, and it’s necessary to maintain a good home. Have any more recaulking tips? Let us know in the comments below. 

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