How to Re-caulk an Old Bathtub Seam

Unless you have a seamless bathtub surround, there is a good chance that there will come a time when you need to do a little re-caulking around your bathtub. It is a task that I have undertaken many times before. The job will typically take you about an hour’s worth of time and $35 to complete. Here’s how to do it:

Caulking Supplies Needed

In order to complete this project, you will need a tube of kitchen and bathtub caulk ($9), a caulk gun ($6), a pack of plastic razor blades ($5), a 5-in-1 painter’s tool ($3) and a lint-free cloth. You may also want to have a bottle of non-abrasive, liquid cleanser ($4) and a roll of painter’s tape ($5) on hand.

Prepare the Surface

Start by taking out your 5-in-1 painter’s tool and a plastic razor blade. Use those items to remove all the old caulk around your bathtub. Once the bulk of the caulk is removed, use the non-abrasive, liquid cleanser and a cloth to remove the remaining residue. Personally, I like using Barkeeper’s Friend. I find that it works really well at removing caulk residue. Whatever cleanser you decide to use, just make sure that your work surface is clean and dry before proceeding.

Next, take out your roll of painter’s tape. It is going to serve as a guide line during the caulking process. Leaving the seam area open, run a strip of tape along each side of the seam. Then, grab your caulk and the caulk gun.

Applying the Caulk

Based on my experience, the key to running a good bead of caulk is to apply firm and even pressure on the gun’s trigger. This can be a bit difficult for those that are not accustomed to using a caulk gun. I’d also recommend that you ease up on the pressure a bit when working around corners. I have found that failure to do so often causes the caulk to glob up and make a mess.

Once the caulk is in place, use your fingers or a damp cloth to push the caulk deep into the seam. I would recommend that when you do this that you complete the action in one sweeping motion. Otherwise, you could end up with a bit of unevenness. At least that has been my experience.

Finishing Touches

Afterward, wipe away any excess caulk and let the rest dry properly. Depending on how well you did, and the quality of the caulk, you may need to go back and touch up a few spots once the initial caulk bead dries. I have found that touch ups are often only necessary if the caulk shrinks during the drying process.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys completing home improvement projects with her family.

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