Thursday, September 19, 2013

Caulk The Bathroom Tub!

When we moved into our house three years ago one of the first things we did was resurface the tub. It was really bad.

The problem with the resurface job was that the guy took off all the caulk and did not replace it. Don't get me wrong, he was a really nice guy, he just couldn't caulk until the tub dried for three days. I was not about to pay him to come back, and he assured me it was easy to do.

I caulked the tub and was done.  Problem was, this was my first time caulking and I did not let the tub dry fully. I just wanted to get it done.

Ok, before I describe my caulking experience I have to say this.  I can't say caulk without giggling a little. Hubby and I are always making crude caulk jokes.  I'm sure you can imagine.  I will save you from our childish banter.

Eventually the caulk cracked.  I left it for way too long, the caulk and wall got moldy.  I continued to leave it.

Every day I would look at the cracked, moldy caulk and think "I should do something about that!" But I left it.

Then I got pregnant, and my mom was scheduled to come over from Australia.  Mom has a severe allergy to mold.  I also hated the idea of my baby being exposed to all that mold, even in utero.  So I finally decided to re-caulk the tub.

This time I decided to do it right.

I scraped off the old caulk. I used a handy little tool that was designed just for this purpose, and it worked great. Some of the new enamel did come up, but I don't think it was too bad.  The gunk that came out of those cracks was not pretty.

I then sprayed a solution  of water and bleach onto the cracks.  I left it to do its work for a while.  After about twenty minutes I then wiped off the bleach and water.

Not wanting to make the same mistake, and apply the caulk to soon after it was wet, I went out and visited a friend for a couple of hours.  Waiting at home for the tub to dry was not going to work. Three hours later I was refreshed from a visit and some good Italian food, and I could caulk.

Caulking is not that hard.  The resurface-tub-guy was right.  Once the tub was dry I had much better success with my caulk.  The main idea is to put the caulk in the crack and the smooth it over.

I found that using my slightly moistened finger to smooth over the caulk was the best option.

I then used a wet paper towel to clean up the edges. I have seen that some people use painters tape to get perfect edges on their caulk, but that was just too much work for me. I also used my finger to spread the caulk over some exposed edges of the new ceramic layer that had peeled. The problem with the resurface job is that if it cracks it just starts to peel off.  We have an area around the drain that is peeling. One of these days we will have to resurface it again. I might do it myself next time. I don't think it is that hard.

The worst part of the whole caulking job is the waiting.  Waiting for the tub to dry, and now, waiting for the caulk to dry. We went away early the next day, so this was not too bad. One tip I have to remember for next time is that caulk tends to shrink a bit as it dries, so leave more caulk than you think you need.

Two months later, the caulk is holding strong.

I'm very happy. The caulk is holding well.

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