How to Caulk Around a Bathtub
Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates the correct materials and techniques required for re-caulking a bathtub
- Start by closing the pop-up drain in the tub and covering the entire tub with a drop cloth to protect it from scratches, residue, etc.
- Take the razor blade and carefully pry the old caulking off the tub. Keep the angle of the blade as low as possible and watch the caulking to see if it’s being cut. If any of the caulking is left over on the tub, the new caulking won’t stick.
- Repeat this process on the other side of the caulking where it meets the tile.
- Once the caulking has been cut, pull it away from the tub and tile. Use the razor blade as a guide wherever the caulking is still stuck.
- Repeat this process in the corners of shower stall. A corner grooving tool might work better than the razor blade here.
- Add some rubbing alcohol to a rag and clean off the surfaces where the old caulking used to be. Have a fan running or open the window to keep the room well ventilated while using the rubbing alcohol.
- Add painter’s tape about ¼” from the corners where the caulking will go on both the wall side and the tub side.
- Cut the tip of the caulking and place it in the gun.
- Apply the caulking in between the painter’s tape lines. Keep the gun perpendicular to the surface being caulked and keep moving. Keep hitting the trigger as you go along to ensure a steady amount of caulking is coming out.
- Once you reach a corner, trace back over the caulking lines with your finger.
- Repeat this process for all the corners that need to be caulked.
- Remove all the painter’s tape while the caulking is still wet.
- Let the caulking dry for 30 minutes before using the shower again. After that, the caulking will need 24 hours to cure, so don’t touch the caulking until then.
To remove any existing caulking, Tom advises using whichever tool is the most comfortable that has a flat enough blade to get behind the caulking without scratching it. These types of scrapers and blades can be found at home centers.
For caulking around a bathtub, Tom recommends using anything that is 100% silicone. In the segment, he used 100% Silicone Sealant in White, which is manufactured by Gorilla Glue.