If you are the type of homeowner who loves DIY projects and you want to remodel your bathroom, then a new bathtub install may just be on your list of things to do. You probably already know that you will need to secure a bead of silicone caulk around the edge of the tub to keep it from leaking. However, many people never get the hang out of using caulk and this can lead to a messy job and a poorly sealed bathtub. To better work with the sealant material, follow the tips below.
Remove Old Caulk & Prepare the Wall
Before you can install a new bathtub and seal the edge, you will need to remove the old bathtub and caulk first. To remove the old caulk, purchase a caulk removing tool from your local home store. This device has a hollow triangular blade on the end. The bottom of the triangle is sharp and pointed on both ends. Force the point underneath the caulk and move it toward the right. The majority of the caulk should pull up and move through the hollow part of the blade as you move along. A small amount of caulk will likely still be attached to the wall. While caulk removing fluids can be used to release it, the solvents in these products may etch the tile, plastic, linoleum, or vinyl materials that surround the bathtub.
Instead of using a solvent, use a flour and water paste to force the rest of the caulk to roll up and pull away from the wall. Place about one cup of flour in a bowl and add two tablespoons of water. Use a spoon to mix the flour and water together and add a bit more water until you create a thick paste. Spread the mixture on the remaining caulk and wait for it to dry. Use plain warm water to rinse off the flour and the caulk.
Once all the caulk is removed, you should deep clean the area around the bathtub before adding new caulk. This will help the caulk to stick properly. Clean the wall with dish soap and water and then use a degreasing solution to release any oil residue on the area. Trisodium phosphate is a good cleaner to utilize.
Create a Straight Edge
If you are not an experienced caulk user, then it can be difficult to create a straight and even edge of sealant. You can thankfully assist yourself with this by adding a straight line of masking tape both above and below the crease where the bathtub meets the wall. You should leave only enough space in between for a thick bead of caulk that is one-quarter of an inch wide. Use a ruler to measure one-eighth of an inch above the bathtub crease and one-eighth of an inch below it. Use an oil or grease pencil, a piece of french chalk, or an artist's oil pastel to mark your measurements on the wall. Use a straight edge to connect your markings and to create a straight line across the wall and the bathtub. Use the lines as a guide to place masking tape on the wall and bathtub. Make sure the tape sits just over the lines you created or the caulk may not stick properly.
Place your caulk tube in a caulk gun and cut off the very tip of the tube. Place a small amount of consistent pressure on the gun trigger and move the nozzle across the bathtub crease to release the bead of caulk. When you are done, you can use your finger to smooth out the bead of sealant. You should place a small amount of rubbing alcohol on your finger first though, so the caulk does not stick to it. Afterwards, allow the caulk to dry overnight and then remove your tape.
Contact local plumbers for more tips or assistance.