Re-caulking our bathtub has been a project that I've wanted to tackle since first moving in. Parts of the caulking were totally ripped up and missing, stained (what??) and freakishly bad. The previous caulkers did an awful, uneven job and I just wanted it fixed. Fast forward one and a half years and I finally recaulked.
Here's a breakdown of how-to and how-not-to caulk. And just a head's up....it's pretty easy!
How To Caulk
Step 1. Remove Old Caulking
Get into your work duds. Plug in your ipod or flip on a good CD. Grab a sharp box cutter that has a few blades and get into your bathtub. Begin cutting out the caulking. Slice it, cut it, and then scrape off and remaining bits. It took me about an hour and a half to cut it all out from around the tub, the sides of the tub and wall, the front of the tub and around the soap holder.
There will be caulking all over. Big strips, little strips, and teeny tiny particles of it. Because I'm either really lazy or a total genuis, I used my vaccuum cleaner's hose attatchment to suck all the caulking up. Really it was great to get into the crevices and remove all the caulking bits and any stray water droplets.
Step 2. Prep For Re-Caulking
Grab painters tape and tape off where you want your caulk lines to be. At this point, you decide how thick you want the line. Press your tape down good. And, you do not want to even attempt to caulk without painter's tape. Really. You get nice, clean, straight lines by using it.
Take a ridiculous amount of gangsta shot with your "big gun".
Get a small bowl of water. You'll need this when you smooth out your caulking. Grab yourself a plastic bag and make sure you are in your work clothes. Grab your caulk. You must break the seal of the caulk itself. You'll need something long and slim - like a bamboo skewer - to break the seal. Stick it into the nozzel of the caulk and press. You'll hear a pop letting you know you broke the seal. Load caulk into the caulk gun. You're ready to go!
Bowl of Water
Caulk For Bathtubs
Step 3. Caulking
Pick your start point. Get into the tub - or whereever it is comfortable for you - and squeeze out a line. Wet your finger and smooth out caulking. Run your finger over caulk line. Remove tape and stick it in your bag. Repeat until you are done.
Caulking will likely begin to harden in 30 minutes and cure in 24 hours. I did mine at 10:30 pm and was able to take a shower the next morning without a problem.
How Not To Caulk
Step 1. Intimidation
Don't think you can't do it. You can! It's easy. And if you make a mistake, just repeat step one, two and three the following day. Think of caulking like Elmer's glue for your bathtub. My hubby is a plumber and he said that I did a good job. So that was definatly encouraging.
Step 2. Wearing the Wrong Clothes
When I began to caulk, I was in my pajamas. Not even thinking that I could possibly ruin my clothes. Dumb idea.
Step 3. Breaking the Seal
Not realizing how I needed to break the seal on my caulk tube. No skewers in the house. Pencils were to thick. What did I use? The stick from a mini-American flag that I got at a baseball game for my brother-n-law's birthday. Yikes.
Step 4. Forgetting the Garbage
I started caulking and removing the tape before I realized I needed a place for the caulking to go. DUMB! There I am, running through the house, caulking all over me, looking for a bag. Awfully not smart on my part.
Step 5. Dying of Smell
Open your windows! Definatly have some ventillation or wear a mask. The stuff stinks awfully bad.
Step 6. Making Too Thick Caulking Lines
I wasn't satisfied with some of the caulking lines that I had made and kept going over them over and over. So as a result, I have some caulking lines that are wonky and much wider than others. I remind myself that it really is no big deal. We plan on remodeling the bathroom within a year anyways. Who really cares?
Step 7. Removing the Caulking Off Yourself
Just let it dry. Don't bother washing your hands and trying to remove wet caulking. It really is just like Elmer's glue. Let it dry and then peel it off yourself. When I finally peeled everything off, my hands were really soft. Exfoliation! You could always avoid this by wearing latex or rubber gloves
There ya go! The how-to and how-not-too of caulking. Let me know if you tackle this sort of project. It really is easy!