A rather important, but often ignored part of your bathroom installation is the white, squishy caulking in your tub or shower. Other than a good finish material and a waterproofing base, caulking probably plays the most important role in preventing water damage to your beautiful shower enclosure. This simple yet efficient sealant is not just limited to the shower door or tub but needs to be applied around the bath and shower tiles, sinks, faucets, and even under the toilet. If you want a more feasible solution against leakage than replacing your shower, then focusing on the caulking is the way to go.
Tips to Apply Caulk to a Shower or a Tub
So how do you do it?
Choosing the right type of caulk is the first and crucial step of the maintenance procedure When it comes to sealing the seams of your bathtub and shower enclosure. When you are caulking, you are not only considering leakage but other issues with your bathroom as well, like mould and mildew resistance.
The caulking tends to crack and crumble when it gets old, letting water get through the gaps and eventually cause mould to grow and spread. To avoid this situation, you need to choose a caulk that is specifically designed for the highly moist area of your home.
Along with this, you need to learn about the tools and process of applying proper caulking to your precious shower door, frame and tub.
1. Caulking a Shower
You will need to apply waterproof caulking to various places, like the doors and rails (in case of sliding doors), walls, and handles of your shower enclosure. This is why professionals, in general, prefer silicone as a sealant for showers and tubs.
Unless you have a completely frameless enclosure, it will have joints connecting the wall and the pan and will be susceptible to mould. Therefore, opting for a product that is labelled to be mildew resistant will be a smart move on your part.
The shower pan area, where the pan and the wall meet, needs most of the caulking. You will also need to apply caulking between the tiles if they were cut uneven while installing, leaving gaps between them.
Factors to Consider When Caulking a Shower
- Bathroom caulking works both as a sealant and an adhesive, meaning the surface they are being applied to needs to be clean and dry during the process. Simply stated, avoid caulking immediately after a shower.
- If you already notice leaks, then find out if there is water in the shower walls or under the pan before applying the caulk. If water has gone into these places, then you need to wait till everything dries out first.
Pro Tip1: You can apply caulking if you notice any cracks in the tile grout or if some of the grout seems missing from your tiles.
- Dig the old caulking out with a utility knife, and make sure the surface is smooth and even before recaulking.
- Caulking is generally applied along the vertical and horizontal planes where two ends meet. Leave the areas that are meant for drainage, like the weep holes in your door track.
- You’ll usually be advised to use a caulking gun, but if you are a homeowner trying to DIY, then it may take you some time handling it. In that case, you will find it easier to control a squeezable caulk tube.
- Most Importantly, do not compromise on quality to cut down cost because in the long run, you do not want any damage to your shower.
2. Caulking a Bathtub
Caulking the bathtub follows the same procedure as you would to caulk a shower. The joint connecting the tub and the wall needs to be sealed in the same way you would seal the shower pan. Bathtub glass enclosures are the best in these cases because they come designed with a shower and have surrounding waterproof walls and doors.
Caulk the base near the floor joint first, and then move to the vertical sides of the tub.
Caulking along the baseboards near the tub or shower can be a good idea for preventing any large leakage across the floor.
Pro Tip2: There is no need to caulk the overflow opening of the tub, where generally the drain plug lever is situated because it already has a rubber seal behind it.
3. Caulking the Sinks
Apply good quality caulking around the edge of the sink irrespective of where they are placed.
Caulk around the faucets and base of the handles.
Use a colour that syncs perfectly with the sink and the counter, if you do not want the caulking to be noticeable.
4. Caulking the Toilets
Always remember to caulk the toilet base. It will not fix a loose toilet fix but will definitely prevent any chance of leakage.
As you can see from the above discussion, caulking your shower enclosures may be a simple procedure, especially for a professional. But, for the common homeowners it may cause some difficulty. Also, getting used to the tools and process requires time and skill, but the end result will be worthwhile. So, plan your time accordingly and follow these tips for a beautiful and clean bathroom, free from leakage and mould problems.