Bathtubs are awesome as they allow us to rest and relax with the utmost comfort. Nonetheless, they do have the tendency to accumulate dirt and discolorations. Possessing the bare minimum cleaning and restoration basics are hence essential to good use and maintenance. This can only happen if you arm yourself appropriately for the job.
Our goal here will be to showcase three major maintenance practices necessary for the attainment of that end. These are how to caulk a bathtub, how to caulk a bathtub wide gap, and how to remove old caulk from the tub. Stay on till the end to get to know how to implement them.
A. HOW TO CAULK A BATHTUB
With continued and repeated use, the bathtub does sustain perforations. If and when these arise, the water contents in the bathtub do trickle and wet the nearby floors. Caulking endeavors to reverse the trend. It basically waterproofs the perforations to prevent the same from oozing out water from the bathtub.
Tools and Materials Required:
Step I: Remove the old caulk
Start off by removing the old caulk. That is because the perforations we have talked about above mainly arise due to the obsolescence of the old caulk. To do so, you have to cut and peel off the old caulk gently and steadily. Use a utility knife to accomplish the feat.
An oscillating tool that is similarly equipped with a flexible scraper blade may also play the same role. Follow this by scraping the area along the shower floor or the bathtub to eliminate any residual caulk that may still lie along this path.
Step II: Mask the gap
Proceed now to mask the gap. Start with the corners first as they are usually the worst affected portions of the bathtubs. After this, proceed to the walls that sit well above the shower floor or the tub. Finish off with the floor of the shower area or the tub itself whichever might be applicable.
While doing this, you should take great care that you seal the gaps completely. This might require pouring some water in the tubs and then monitoring how they behave when they get to the areas you have masked. You might also want to light your area for greater legibility.
Step III: Apply the caulk bead
At this stage, you now have to apply the caulk bead. To do this, you should cut, push and apply it gently to the surface concerned. While at it, be sure to cut the tip of the nozzle and match the same with the width of the gap.
Hold the caulk gun at an angle of about 90° to the gap in question. Move on to push the bead slightly ahead of the nozzle while doing so. Then, push the gun as you continue adding extra pressure. Try as much as possible to be economical and sparing in your use of the same.
Step IV: Shape the bead and remove the tape
Finally, close the exercise by shaping and styling the bead appropriately. Use your fingers and preferably start at the outer corners. From time to time, you should wipe your fingers around the caulk in order to generate a rounded shape. As you do so, get rid of excess caulk from the gap.
At last, remove the masking tape you had placed around the perimeter of the area you wanted to caulk. Test the system by channeling the water to the tub and noting the response thereof. Make any amendments that may guarantee watertight operations. You are now good to go!
B. HOW TO CAULK A BATHTUB WIDE GAP
Wider gaps definitely require extra care, approach, and attention. You cannot rely on the ordinary approach we have explained above to implement the same. We now devote this segment of our discussions towards that. As you shall notice, this procedure is more elaborate and involved than the earlier one.
Tools and Materials Required:
- Putty knife
- Single-edge razor blade
- Tape measure
- Foam backer rod
- Rag or sponge
- Paper towel
Step I: Remove the old caulk
As is the case above, you should similarly start off by removing the old caulk. This is to make it possible for you to leave behind a firm cover and replacement. Also, the old caulk is the one that is for a large part responsible for any leaks in the system.
A single-edge razor blade or a putty knife will help with this process. Take great care though that you do not interfere with the bathtub structure itself. Care for your hands as well as these objects are likely to incise them. Follow the seams, as they are the ones that contain the caulk.
Step II: Measure the size of the gap
Now move ahead to mark out the size of the gap you want to fill. Use a tape measure to do this. As a general rule, a single bead of caulk is capable of filling gaps that measure 1/4 inch. This means you have to figure out how much of the bead you may need for your job.
To do this, divide the total measurements by a factor of 4. Then, go ahead and compute how much of the caulk you need. An expert may also come in handy at such a time. Such a person will provide the extra guidance and inspiration you need for the job.
Step III: Apply the Caulk in the Gap
Get down to serious business now. Use your hands and fingers to apply the caulk to the wide gap. As we have already explained above, a single bead of caulk is capable of fillings gaps that measure no more than ¼ inches. If your gap is wider than this, you will definitely use a proportionally more caulk.
Upon applying the caulk, wait till it dries up before coming back to place some beads atop it. This should take no less than 24 hours. That is because caulk takes no less than 24 hours to dry off completely.
Step IV: Reinforce the Caulk Fillings
For extremely wider gaps, you have to reinforce the caulk with the foam backer rod or spline. This rod is rare to come by. As such, you have to walk far and wide to be able to get your hands on it. Nonetheless, it lasts longer and leaves behind stronger reinforcements.
To apply it, push the rod into the gap with moderate force. Thereafter, apply some caulk atop and around the rod. Leave to dry for no less than 24 hours, after which you should apply the bead atop it. As always, test the system to see to it that it endures the test of time.
Step V: Smooth and style the caulk
Finish off by styling and smoothing the caulk. Use a damp sponge or rag to do this. A damp finger will nonetheless do if using silicone caulk. After you are through, use a damp towel to rid your hands of the debris and residues. Overall, you should leave the surface untouched or attended to for a period of fewer than 24 hours.
C. HOW TO REMOVE OLD CAULK FROM TUB
We have spoken extensively how that you have to eliminate the old caulk from the tub before proceeding to apply a fresh one atop it. Knowing how best to actualize this role will definitely help to guarantee better outcomes.
We now round up the discussions by examining the steps that may be needful for this role:
Tools and Materials Required:
- 3M adhesive tape
- Fresh Blade
- Utility knife
- Needle-nose pliers
- Five-in-one tool
- Sharp putty knife.
- Non-ammoniated bath cleaner
- Bleaching agent
- Brush or plastic pad
- Foam brush
Step I: Soften the Caulk
Your first and foremost task is to soften the caulk. Do this chiefly by applying a caulk remover like the 3M adhesive. Softening the caulk will make it easier for you to peel it off the bathtub easier.
At the same time, you will be able to prevent any issues and further damages to the bathtub itself. Place the 3M adhesive atop the caulk and leave to settle for around 20 minutes.
Step II: Slice through the softened caulk
You have to slice through the softened caulk. Use a fresh blade or a utility knife to do this. Most of the caulk should be able to fall free. Some though are too sticky and hard. Even when you slice it through, it will still remain intact.
Consider applying more pressure or force will certainly do the trick. Take care though that you do not overwhelm the system as this might damage to tub permanently. Thus, you only have to apply moderate force as you go about this particular issue.
Step III: Pull out excess material
For those materials that are too tight and thick, you definitely need to apply even greater force. For this purpose, we ask that you use the needle-nose pliers. Fix it firmly in the material and then use excess force to pull out the same.
The same procedures apply also if the caulk is piled in several layers. You will have to go slow and systematic while handling multiple layers though. Rushing or carrying it out haphazardly may damage the structure irreparably.
Step IV: Rake the residual caulk
If after exhausting the strategies we have outlined above you still do not obtain the desired benefits, we suggest that you use a rake this time round. To do this, you will have to utilize the sharp putty knife or the painter’s five-in-one tool.
Take great care though that you do not damage the structure of the bathtub at all while raking. This procedure is potentially dangerous as it entails the input of excessive force. At this stage, you will have eliminated all caulk.
Step V: Clean the Surface
Having eliminated all the caulk, you now have to cleanse the surface and rid the same of mildew. To get rid of the soap scum, you will have to employ the non-ammoniated bath cleaner. Thereafter, bleach the surface by the use of a bleaching agent.
After you are done with bleaching, use a foam brush to apply the rinsing solution to the tub. Wash off excess soap or detergent using a sufficient amount of water. Then, dry with a clean and dry rag. The tub is now ripe for the application of the new caulk.
Well, the three activities we have talked about above are simple do-it-yourself activities. Nonetheless, they still require a fair degree of expertise and patience to actualize. This calls for some patience and due diligence on your part. That can only be attained by carrying out in-depth training and exercising on your part.
Have we not met every need you might be desirous to get started out well? Could it be that there is something we have left out? Kindly speak to us and inform us of the same. Going forward, we ask also that you share this piece of information as far wide as possible!