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How To Caulk A Bathtub

Knowing how to caulk your bathtub is crucial for preventing leaks and water damage, and the same goes for showers, sinks, and other fixtures. Caulking or re-caulking the seal around your bath can seem like a big task, but it’s easy with the right sealant. Read on to get helpful bathroom caulking tips that will have your tub and sink looking like new!

How to caulk a bathtub: The basics

A precise and thorough caulking job is essential to keeping bathtubs in prime condition. Caulking prevents leaks and excess water from seeping into walls, which can cause serious damage to your home.

Applying new caulking, or replacing bathtub calk, requires patience and care. But, if you follow the right steps and use the best tools for the job, caulking a tub or replacing caulk around tub doesn’t have to be a wash. Read on for the best way to caulk a tub.

Removing old caulk from the tub

If the caulking around your bathtub has accumulated soap scum or other residue, or if it shows cracks or a brownish tinge, it has deteriorated and needs to be stripped away. Stripping the old caulk can be a painstaking task, but a clean foundation is essential for new caulk. Here’s how to remove old caulk from your bathtub.

  1. Soften the caulk. One way to do this is with a commercial caulk remover. The remover will weaken the caulk’s inner structure, making it easier to pry away. However, caulk removers aren’t compatible with all materials, so follow the product manufacturer’s instructions. In some cases, you’ll have to remove the seal around the tub mechanically. 
  2. Strip the caulk. Slice through the caulk with a utility knife, putty knife, or needle-nosed pliers. For acrylic or latex-based caulk, you can use a commercial caulk remover to first loosen the grout or caulk around the tub. Exercise care not to scratch your tub’s surface, and always take extra precautions when using sharp tools. 
  3. Remove the residue. For painted or finished surfaces, denatured alcohol may remove any unwanted residue. You can also try powdered cleaner and warm water mixed into a paste, then applied with a cotton swab. A razor blade can be used to scrape away any stubborn lingering residue, but take care not to scratch the surfaces underneath. 
  4. Clean the surface. Once the caulk and any residue is removed, clean the area thoroughly. Wipe the area with a cloth dampened with bleach or a non-ammoniated cleaner. Rinse surfaces thoroughly with warm water. Let surfaces dry completely before re-caulking the tub.

Remember: always wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when using chemical substances. Avoid spills and take appropriate precautions with flammable materials. 

But, wait! You might not need to remove that old caulk at all. LePage RE-NEW specialty silicone lets you repair old yellowing or cracking sealant joints in a single step for a lasting, durable seal.

The best way to caulk a bathtub

Once any caulk residue is removed and the surface is dry, you’re ready to re-caulk your bathroom tub! Do it right with these bathtub caulking tips, and your bathtub will be sealed watertight.

  1. Choose the right caulk. Caulk for bathtubs usually come in silicone or acrylic latex forms. Deciding on the right type to use largely depends on your bathtub’s material. For fiberglass bathtubs, silicone caulk is usually best. For ceramic tubs, acrylic latex caulk is recommended.

    For a tough multipurpose sealant that works great on bathtubs, look for LePage 2 in 1 Seal & Bond Kitchen & Bath. It’s resistant to mold, water, and mildew, creating permanent, flexible, durable bonds.
  2. Prepare the surface. Ensure any old caulking around the bathtub has been removed. Place strips of painter’s tape just above and below all of the edges where the caulk will be applied, leaving a thin gap between the two strips that is the width of the caulk.
  3. Ready the gun and apply the caulk. Place the caulk tube into the application gun and break the seal. Hold the loaded application gun close to the seam at a 45-degree angle from the edging. Begin caulking at one corner, then reverse the bead at the far end, proceeding between the taped edges. Caulk outward from the remaining two corners. Apply the caulk using steady pressure, moving it smoothly around the entire edge, for a consistent thickness.
  4. Tidy up. Once the application is complete, go back and smooth the caulk into a neat, concave shape using a damp cloth and your finger. Remove the tape, then clean caulking edges with a damp cloth or rag.
  5. Let it dry. Most caulking requires 48 hours for a fully cured seal, but check product instructions for your sealant to ensure complete dryness. Once the caulk is cured, your tub is ready for a relaxing soak!

 

Caulk or grout? While cement-based grout can offer a strong seal, it’s less flexible than silicone, acrylic, or latex caulk and more prone to cracking over time.

2in1 Seal & Bond Kitchen & Bath is a silicone sealant perfect for sealing around bathtubs, sinks, showers, tiles, and plumbing fixtures. Watch this quick video for tips on caulking your bathroom to get that perfect watertight seal.