This is one that pretty much everyone will have to do at some point. You don’t have to be good at it, but you’ve gotta get it done. This is my third time doing a tub so I’m a bit better than I used to be but I’m no caulking pro, that’s for sure.
I’ll walk you through it and let you know what I’ve learned.
Mise en place. That’s French for get your shiz together. Here’s what you need: Something to remove the old caulk with. I’ve got a fancy caulk removing tool, I think it was less than $10 are menards. You can get caulk remover too but I didn’t need it in this case. You’ll also need Windex and paper towels, an old cup or a disposable cup, and of course some caulking and a caulk gun. I’ve got clear silicone for kitchen and bath.
Remove the old caulking. My dear daughter decided it was time for me to redo the caulk on this tub but starting the caulk removal process for me during her shower…how sweet of her. Sometime this stuff pulls off in strips, sometimes you’ve gotta get your scraper in there to break the seal and pull it back. Be careful not to chip your grout out or scratch your tiles. If you have some stubborn caulk (typically on flat areas like the edges of the tub) use the caulk remover, let it sit on there for 20 mins or so and then try to scrape it.
Clean the areas really well with windex and make sure it is DRY!
Get caulking! Open your tube of caulk. I make a WAY smaller hole than I’ve seen other people make but I always end up with more caulk than I want so I figure this helps to slow it down. Cut it at about a 45º angle too, it helps the tip flow over the tiles nicely.
Starting in a corner and using consistent pressure on the trigger, run the caulk gun smoothly down the crack. Don’t worry too much if you’ve got bumps in your bead of caulk, you’ll smooth it later. Just try your best to get a consistent amount. Continue in this manner for all of the seams that need caulking.
(note: some people tape off either side of the seams with blue tape to ensure they get a straight line. I’ve tried this in the past and I don’t do it this way anymore, I usually end up with a ridge where I removed the tape and it takes forever to tape it all off.)
Smooth it out. Fill your cup up with water and get yourself a nice handful of paper towels. Beginning in an inconspicuous area use a VERY WET finger to smooth the caulk down into the cracks and even it out. As the excess builds up on your finger, wipe it on the paper towel and re-wet your finger. Try to use long, gentle swipes down the caulk bead, going over it all once before you come back for a final pass. The edges should be smooth and flush with the tile and tub edge without a lot of crazy bumps in the middle. There’s no reason to rush this so take your time.
Be patient and let it dry for at least 12 hours before using the shower. Be proud that you just completed a super necessary task that will keep your shower fresh for another few years!
Et Voilà! My completed (invisible) caulk line =) I like clear caulk, some people hate it because if you have super toxic water it turns orange. Luckily, we have the fanciest water in town so clear caulk stays clear!
xoxo, amy ranae!