Time: 1.5 hours
Is your bathtub or shower looking a little yellow and peeling around the edges? Let’s get real – when it comes to the caulking in your bathroom, most of us don’t think to replace it. But old caulking (or caulk) can be the cause of bad smells, leaks, and mold or mildew. Luckily, replacing it yourself is easy–and leaves your bathroom looking fresh and clean.
What’s in it for you?
● Prevent mold/mildew
● Stop leaks
● Silicon or latex caulk for Bathtub and Shower
● A caulk gun
● Utility knife
● Scraper (plastic or metal)
● Soap and water
● Optional: Caulk remover
Pro Tip: Make sure to buy the right kind of caulk labeled specifically for your bathtub and shower.
Assess the area. Identify the areas around your tub or shower that get the wettest--it’s usually where mold and mildew issues creep up the most. If you spot any peeling, crumbling or yellowing of the caulking, it’s time to replace it. Make sure to remove entire caulk lines that need replacing.
Scrape it off. Using a utility knife with a flexible scraper blade, cut through any caulk lines that need replacing and scrape away the old caulk from the walls and the tub. You can apply a caulk remover to can make it easier to scrape off.
Pro Tip: Metal scrapers can potentially scratch softer tiles and surfaces. Use plastic to ensure minimal damage – but remember that caulk remover can also affect plastics!
Scrub, scrub, scrub. Once you’ve removed all the old caulk, give your tiles and tub a good scrub to get rid of any debris or residue. Make sure to treat any mold or mildew with bleach or tea tree oil. Before applying any new caulk, everything should be dried thoroughly.
**Tape it up. **Apply two parallel strips of painters tape on either side of the gap between your tub and wall. This will mark out the line of caulking and protect the area around it.
Pro Tip: If you have a fiberglass or composite bathtub, fill it with water up before you begin caulking so the gap between the tub and wall is at its widest.
- Apply the bead. Trim your caulk gun nozzle at a blunt 20-degree angle. Holding the gun at a 90-degree angle to the gap, squeeze out the caulk, pushing a small bead ahead of the tip as you go.
Pro Tip: Make sure there are no burrs on the tip of your caulk gun when you cut it. These will cause grooves in your caulk lines.
Smooth it out. Use an index finger to shape the caulk bead once a length is applied. Run it down the new length of the caulk to smooth any imperfections and create a slightly concave surface level. While the caulk is still wet, carefully remove the tape, and smooth one more time to create a tight seal between the caulk and the surfaces.
Let it set. Your new caulking looks great – but hold off on jumping in the shower right away. Let the caulk set for the recommended amount of time on the packaging before turning on the water. Once it’s cured your new caulk should last you solidly for at least five years.