Cracks in the seams of your shower occur from the regular expansion and contraction of walls due to changes in temperature and humidity. Tub seams are even more vulnerable because most tubs flex when you step into them. Recaulking with a silicone or water-base caulk provides the best long-term protection. These products are long-lasting and highly elastic. Plus, tackling the job as soon as possible will save you money in the long run. Caulking when cracks appear will cost about $3, but waiting until dry rot sets in could end up costing hundreds. Follow these easy steps and learn how to recaulk your bathtub or shower. It's easy—we promise!
What You Need
- Silicone or water-base caulk (If you are doing only one shower, a 2.8-ounce tube is quicker and easier to handle than a cartridge in a caulking gun.)
- Old knife
- Old soft cloth
Step 1: Prepare the Shower
Before you caulk, make sure your shower or bath is in tip-top shape. Thoroughly clean all soap residue and mildew from the walls. Then use a utility knife to dig the old caulk from corners and tub seams. Be sure to remove as much as possible to make a clean surface for the new caulk.
If needed, you may use caulk remover according to the manufacturer's directions.
Step 2: Apply the Caulk
Cut the applicator tip so the opening is 1/8 inch in diameter. Evenly squeeze the caulk, applying a continuous line about 3 feet long. Due to the fast-drying nature of the product, you will caulk in sections.
You may want to try a test line of caulk on a sheet of paper to feel how much pressure you should apply when squuzing the caulk tube.
Step 3: Smooth the Line
Silicone becomes tacky fast, so smooth the first line with your finger as soon as you lay it. If the caulk should flow around the sides of your finger, immediately wipe away the excess with a soft cloth. Use warm, soapy water and your finger to re-form the joint.
If excess caulk dries and sets on surrounding tile, use a utility knife to remove it from the surface.
Wait at least 12 hours before using the shower.