How Do I Caulk My Bathtub?

When the caulk in your tub starts to crack or look unsightly, many homeowners put off repair because they believe the job needs to be done professionally. Actually, the contrary is true. Caulking a tub is a do-it-yourself job that just about anyone can do.

  • Caulking gun
  • Tube of caulk
  • Sharp single-edged utility knife
  • Damp cloth
  • Cleaning solution
  • Scrub brush
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Shop vac
  • Fan
Clean the working area around the tub with a good quality cleaning solution and scrub brush. Do this before removing any caulk.

Use a single-edged razor utility knife and begin removing the existing caulk. Use caution so you do not nick the tub or the tile surrounding the caulk. Simply lift up a corner of the caulk with the utility knife and usually it will just pull away with a gentle tug.

Apply denatured alcohol to the surface where the caulk was and scrub the area thoroughly, removing any residue. Allow the alcohol to dry and then use a shop vac to remove any remnants.

Allow the area to dry completely overnight. It is better to work on a totally dry area rather than rush and have the caulk job fail. If the area has any moisture, mildew or humidity, place a fan in the room overnight. This is especially true when using silicone caulk.

Snip off the tip of the caulk tube on an angle. Place the tube of caulk into the caulking gun and push or crank the handle until caulk seeps out. Wipe off any surplus from the tip.

Start in a corner of the tub, where the tub and tile meet. With firm force evenly squeeze out a fine line of caulk across the entire wall. Continue around the tub until finished.

Smooth out any uneven or excess caulk by wetting your fingers (if using latex caulk) and running them along the wet caulk. For silicone caulk, wipe your fingers on a clean cloth after smoothing down lines of caulk.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you are working with a latex or water-based caulk, use a heat gun to soften the existing caulk prior to removing.
  • If mildew is present, use a mildew cleaner after the denatured alcohol. Allow the mildew killer to work, then rinse and dry completely.

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