Caulking a bathtub is one of those household tasks that are easy to ignore. However, if you are dealing with a cracked bathtub, applying caulk can give it durability and make it more appealing. Caulking also prevents leaks and prevents mold growth.
If you are wondering how to caulk a bathtub, this article is for you. So, grab your silicone caulk, read through these instructions, and get yourself ready for an easy DIY project.
Step 1: Prep the Area and Remove the Old Caulk
The first thing you need to do before you can caulk your bathtub is remove all of the old caulk. This can be a messy and tedious process, so it’s best to work in small sections.
For this, you will need a utility knife or a razor scraper. Slide the blade of the knife between the tile and tub to cut the caulk. Then pull it out by hand or scrape it away with the knife.
If you have silicone caulk, you can also use mineral spirits to remove it. Apply a generous amount of spirit to a cotton ball and let it soak into the silicone for at least 15 minutes. Then scrape it away with your finger or a putty knife. If there is still some residue left, repeat this process.
To get rid of any mildew in your grout lines, mix half a cup of bleach with a gallon of warm water and scrub with an old toothbrush. This will kill any mold spores on your walls before you get started with the new caulk job. Don’t forget to use rubber gloves and eye protection when working with bleach.
Step 2: Apply Painters’ Tape on Either Side of the Joint
Next, apply painter’s tape on both sides of the seam to hold the caulk in place and prevent it from oozing out. You should then use a caulking gun to fill in all of the gaps; be sure to apply even pressure as you work.
This will help prevent the messy look that happens when your hand slips while applying the caulk. You can also use painter’s tape and newspaper or cardboard to cover up tile walls or other areas that you do not want to be caulked.
Step 3: Mix the New Caulk
The next step is to dry mix the new caulk according to the package directions. This means you will empty the contents of the caulk tube into a pan and slowly add water while mixing until it is completely incorporated.
Once mixed, pour it into a caulk gun. Make sure that your caulk gun is properly fitted for the size of the tube you are using.
Step 4: Apply the Caulk
Hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle and apply a steady, slow pressure along the seam until you have an even, consistent bead of caulk. Run your finger along the seam to smooth out the caulk.
Hold your finger at a 45-degree angle over the seam and run it along the length of the bead of caulk. This will smooth out any uneven areas. Make sure that you press firmly enough so that there is good contact between your finger and the caulk. It may also help to dip your finger in water before doing this step for better contact with the caulk.
Step 5: Clean Up Excess Caulk
The job is not finished until you clean up the excess caulk. If the caulk is still wet, use a damp sponge to wipe away the squeeze-out. If it’s already dry, score it with a utility knife, and then use a damp sponge to wipe away the bits.
If some squeeze-out gets on the tub or tile, clean it off with mineral spirits (or another solvent that’s safe for use on paint) before it dries.
Applying caulk to a cracked bathtub can go a long way in giving a beautiful appearance to your investment. With the right tools and following the steps above, you can give your bathtub a new seal. You may also want to check out this how to caulk a bathtub video to give you professional and long-lasting results.