Knowing When to Replace or Repair
No matter how good the caulk between your shower tile and bathtub may look today there will come a point when it becomes infested with mildew, drenched with water or having a cracking appearance. When this happens, it does not matter how much bleach or special chemicals you use in certain areas in your shower tile it will be hard to get the original look.
This is because the damage to the old sealing material in the shower tile may have moved to areas behind the tile itself and along the bath tub or other specific areas. The faster you deal with this, the less expenses and time you will have when removing the old sealant from your bathroom shower tile.
Locate the Damaged Sealant
If you are a first time DIYer, then you may be wondering what exactly is caulk and how may I differentiate it from the grout in my shower tile? Caulking is usually placed in areas that have movements or water exposure. These areas usually include the meeting point between your bath tub and shower tile, floor and wall tile/ shower tile or the inside corner where two shower walls meet together.
This sealing material can also be found around plumbing faucets and valves. Grout on the other hand is used to fill the space between bathroom shower tiles and other tiles. In short, it is the finishing touch after you laid tile in your bathroom shower, walls and floors.
Determine the Type of Waterproof Filler Used
The main types of watertight coatings that are used in bathrooms are: silicone sealant and latex/acrylic latex caulk. Both types require different removal procedures, so knowing which sealer was used between your shower tile and bath tub or any other bathroom area for that matter will make the removal process a lot easier. You will also need to use the same type of caulking that you used after your shower tiling.
Remove the old Sealing Material
As mentioned earlier the removal process for different types of sealant will vary. The water based latex caulk/acrylic latex caulk requires heat to be removed and you can easily achieve this by using a heat gun to soften the caulk that is located between your shower tile and tub or any other area. You should take care not to apply too much as this can burn the sealant and even crack the shower tile in the process.
Silicone caulk on the other hand can be removed by using the blunt end of a knife to dig if out. If you find that this is not working then you may try a sharper knife or razor taking care not to scratch the surface between the shower tile and tub or other affected areas.
Clean the Surface
Sealant removal leaves back a lot of scum and broken caulk in different areas. You will need to remove this to get a clean finish when you apply new sealer. Try to determine the extent of the mildew. If you find that the area between the shower tile and tub or meeting point between wall and shower tile is badly affected then you will need to apply a very strong mildew killer or bleach in the area.
You can also take the opportunity to look for leakage problems and get these fixed. If you find that a great area of the caulk has been affected with mildew then chances are you may have a leaking tube that needs to be taken care of.
Fill the tub With Water
Filling the tub with water at first might sound like a silly idea, but it plays a very important role in allowing the caulk to accompany the movement of the tub before it dries between shower tile and tub. You may also consider placing a few weights in the tub that are equivalent to your body weight in it.
If you are re-caulking areas where walls meet or around faucets then you will not need to fill anything with water.
Apply the new Paste
Now you have reached the final stage of re-caulking your shower! This is where things can get messy if you do not have the right types of tools on standby to clean away caulking between shower tile and tub or meeting points in walls. For latex caulk you will need a damp sponge, whereas for silicone sealant you will need a damp sponge and paper towel.
You can choose between using a caulking gun or just the caulk tubes themselves. Both are perfect for re-sealing your bathroom of shower tile; however, in some cases the caulking gun is known to shoot out more caulk than is necessary. For novices this can be frustrating, but with practice it becomes easy to maneuver between your bathroom shower tile.
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