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What Are the Best Tips for Caulking a Bathtub?

Waterproof caulk in a caulking gun.
Before caulking begins, it's usually important to weigh down a bathtub with something.
A person caulking a bathtub.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The best tips for caulking a bathtub include thoroughly removing any old caulk, making sure to use waterproof caulk, and filling the tub with water or some type of weight before caulking. When caulking a bathtub, it's also important to make sure the caulk is applied evenly from one corner to another. If a caulking gun is used, the person using it should be familiar with how it works in order to get the best results. It's also recommended to allow freshly applied caulk to dry for at least 24 hours before allowing moisture to come in contact with the caulk.

Removing old caulk is typically the first step in caulking a bathtub if the new caulk is going to replace old caulk. There are several chemicals available for sale that can help with removing old caulk, but a scraper or razor blade may be necessary to remove it completely. It's important to make sure it is completely gone before applying new caulk because the new caulk will stick to the old caulk, which will likely make the new caulk ineffective for preventing moisture seepage. After the old caulk is removed, most home improvement experts recommend wiping over the area with rubbing alcohol to make sure every last trace of the old caulk is completely gone.

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There are several different kinds of caulk available, and not all types of caulk are waterproof. When caulking a bathtub, waterproof caulk is essential to use. Moisture from showers and tubs can seep underneath cracks around tubs and behind walls or shower enclosures, which can cause serious problems with mold and mildew that will likely be difficult to remedy. Only waterproof caulk can prevent these problems. In addition to waterproof caulk, there are also some types of caulk available made specifically for use in the bathroom.

Before caulking begins, it is typically necessary to weight down the bathtub with something. If a bathtub is not weighted down before it is caulked, it will sag slightly when it is used, and this will cause the edges of the tub to pull away from the edges of the caulk. Cracks may form in the caulk as a result of this, potentially rendering it useless for moisture prevention. Many people weight down their bathtubs before caulking by sitting inside their tubs as they apply the caulk. Once the caulk has been applied, it's a good idea to fill the tub up with water to continually keep weight on it until the caulk dries.

Caulking guns are normally simple to use, but it is necessary for a person to fully understand how the gun works before attempting to apply caulk. Some newbie caulkers test their guns out by squirting the caulk outside or into garbage receptacles to make sure they understand how to work their guns and also to get their caulk flowing smoothly before they start. Once the process of caulking a bathtub begins, it's important to keep the flow of caulk smooth without breaks or interruptions from one corner of the tub to another. After the caulk has been applied, it will need roughly 24 hours to dry completely.

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