Bathtub Caulking Tips To Follow

If you need a new bathtub installed in your bathroom, or if your contractors have recently finished a bathroom addition in your home, then you may consider installing one yourself. You can find plumbing pieces and parts to extend the existing water and drain lines, or you can easily install new lines that match up with the piping already placed in your home. Once you are finished, there is one important thing you need to do. You must add caulk around the tub to make sure it does not leak. This will help to keep walls and floors around the tub from becoming saturated, and it will also keep mold and mildew from forming around the top. Caulk needs to be secured correctly, so keep reading to learn about some tips to place it correctly.

Pick the Right Caulk

Before you can begin caulking around your bathtub, you need to purchase the right type of material. You can choose to buy either silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Each material has its own benefits, so make sure your purchase fits your needs. Silicone caulk is a clear or white material that is extremely durable, flexible, and water resistant. This caulk will prevent almost any dirt, mildew, or mold from sticking to its surface. However, the caulk is difficult to work with, and you may have some trouble smoothing it out. Also, silicone caulk must be cleaned with acetone or mineral spirits after use, and you need to wear gloves when applying it to avoid getting it on your hands.

Acrylic latex caulk is much easier to smooth out and work with, and it can be cleaned up with soap and water if you need to remove it from your hands or the bathroom wall. The caulk does dry harder with less flexibility than silicone varieties, and it may shrink over time. This means that it may not last as long as silicone. You can choose a variety of colors though, and this may be a great option if your bathtub is colored or if the surrounding enclosure or tiling has its own distinctive tone.

Once you choose your caulk, make sure to buy the hard tubes of material that fit into a caulk gun. When you are ready to apply it, snip the tip at a 45 degree angle and make sure to only remove about one-eighth of an inch of the plastic top.

Prepare the Tub Properly

When you place caulk around your bathtub, you want to make sure that you spread the material on top of a clean surface. If you do not, then the caulk may not stick and mildew may form from underneath the silicone or acrylic latex. The caulk may crack or shift soon after application as well. If you have used the bathtub for several days or a few weeks or if you are adding caulk to a replacement bathtub, then you need to remove mildew and mold that has already formed.

Mix about one half cup of bleach with about three cups of water in a small bucket and use a rag to spread the bleach solution along the edge of the tub. Let the bleach sit for about 15 minutes to kill the fungi. If you do not want to use bleach, then use undiluted vinegar instead. Make sure to leave the vinegar around the bathtub for 60 minutes though. Clean the area with soap and water afterwards. Soap and water is all that is needed if the bathtub is new or if it has never been used. Rinse away the soap and dry the area with a clean towel afterwards.

When you are finished cleaning, use painter's tape both above and below the bathtub seam where you intend on placing the caulk. Leave about one-eighth of an inch of space along the seam itself. This will help you to keep the caulk straight. When you are ready, squeeze out the caulk and try to place a continuous bead around the bathtub edge.

If you are wary of adding caulk to your bathtub yourself, then contact your local plumbing service for assistance.