SPECIAL REPORT: CAULKING
Caulking around the bathtub and shower area is a regular household
maintenance chore often neglected by many homeowners. If the joints
between the tub, shower base, and ceramic tile walls, are not properly
sealed, water can enter creating leakage below or deteriorating the
tile backing and loosening the tile.
Silicone and urethane caulks are the most durable and have the best
elasticity. These types of caulk are best left to the professional and
should be avoided. They are difficult to use. Acrylic caulks such
as DAP Tub and Tile Caulking or Polyseam Tub and Tile Caulking are a
much better choice for the average homeowner. They come in handy, easy
to use plastic toothpaste-like tubes large enough to do one bath
area. The acrylic caulk can be smoothed or wiped off with a damp
sponge until they start to cure and are nearly as durable as silicone
and urethane. Many professionals choose the acrylic caulks for their
working characteristics and smooth appearance.
First the old caulking should be removed. A sharp putty knife works
well for this. You should wear heavy work gloves when doing this. After
the old caulking is removed, the area should be scrubbed clean and
sprayed with chlorine bleach to kill any mold or mildew. Fill the
bathtub full of water. This added weight will settle the bathtub to
it's lowest position. After the area to be caulked has dried, it is
ready for caulking. The tip of the caulking nozzle should be
trimmed at a 45 degree angle. Start at the corners and work toward the
center with long, smooth, continuous strokes. Any irregularities can be
smoothed out with a wet finger or a damp sponge.
Be sure that all horizontal areas such as window sills and ledges are
well sealed. Any open spaces between ceramic tile should be
grouted or caulked. Seal around faucets, tub spigots and inside
corners. Once this caulk has dried, it should have very good water and
mildew resistance. Allow the caulk 24 hours to cure before using
the bath or shower.
When the water is drained out of the tub, the tub will actually rise
slightly, compressing the caulk for a good, tight, durable seal.
HOME INSPECTIONS, INC. copyright 2013