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Re-Caulk Your Shower In Four Easy Steps

Caulking is that material that seals the seams in your shower or bathtub. These seams occur where the tile meets at the corners, between the wall and the floor pan, and around the shower door. Over time, the caulking gets brittle and cracks, develops mildew, and may leak. So you need to renew the caulking periodically . Here's how to do it in four easy steps.

  1. Remove the old caulking. Tools required for this are a scraper or sharp putty knife and a pair of long-nose pliers. Use a sharp edge to separate the caulk from the wall. Use your long-nose pliers to pull out any chunks of old caulk. Make sure you get it all out, and then carefully scrape any residue from the wall so you have a smooth surface for the new caulk. Do not use any abrasive material on a fiberglass shower wall.
  2. Clean the area with an alcohol-based solution to remove the last of the residue. New silicone-based caulk will not adhere to old silicone residue. Clean again using a mold-destroying agent such as a diluted bleach solution or commercial mold and mildew product. Carefully wipe down all the seams with clean rags and let dry overnight.
  3. Select the type of caulk you want to use. Silicone-based caulk is recommended, because it is easier to work with and more durable than water-based caulk. Cut the tip on the caulk tube at an angle, pierce the protective seal with a thin, sharp object, and place the tube in your caulking gun. Have damp rags handy. Starting at the top of a wall seam, squeeze the trigger on the caulking gun until the caulk starts to flow. Keeping a steady motion and pressure, run a bead down the entire seam. Next, using your index finger, press the caulk in with a smooth, continuous motion, using enough pressure to create a seal. Wipe the excess caulk off your finger on a damp rag and move on to the next seam. Do the walls first, working from top to bottom, then move on to the seam around the bottom of the enclosure and the shower door.
  4. Allow at least twenty-four hours (preferably forty-eight hours) for the caulk to dry before using the shower.

Use common safety precautions when re-caulking your shower. Wear safety glasses and a mask when spraying the cleaning solution. Wear the safety glasses and take proper precautions when using sharp tools to remove the old caulk.