Can Dremel Tool Remove Tube Caulk?

I have one of those nightmare chores I've been putting off way too long. An elderly parent's 30 year old tile bathtub surround is falling apart. Regrouting would have been fairly easy if she hadn't plugged up some chinks with tube caulk over the years.
I just want to know if I bought a Dremel Tool if it would work on this plastic-y substance. Should I but a name brand Dremel if I buy any? Is there anything wrong with a cheaper knock-off (I know the rpms).
Thank you.
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You can use it as an excuse to the wife to buy one but scraping with a pointed tool or a V-blade wood carvers chisel would be quicker followed up with a vinegar and baking soda solution to remove soap scum. Any attachment you put on a dremel tool would only heat up and then gum up. The Dremel tool may be handy for hard to reach quick jobs but using one for any period of time would greatly reduce it's life. They are not meant for this type of usage. dp

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Ceramic tile, you will easily ruin the tile when it slips out of the grout joint, likely the backing is ruined from moisture and regrouting may not do it. Caulk use a razor blade, on grout a hand grout saw.
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I would think that a utility knife would remove the caulk easily, and a grout removal tool is very cheap and easy to use and will throw much less debris around than the dremel.
Some food for thought - if the tiles aren't loose and it's just a grout problem, have you considered just covering it with a tub surround? They're pretty easy to install, look good if you do a decent job on it, and can come with all sorts of shelves and hanger bars molded in.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

What do you mean "falling apart"? Tile falling off? If it is, and wallboard exposed, you may need to replace the damaged wallboard. A razor blade scraper takes caulk off tile nicely. Do tile surface with razor scraper, then go with your Dremel. I replaced grout in our shower recently, used the Dremel tile attachment and tips. Worked very nicely. Wore out or broke two tips - our tile has a few places where the tile is too close to allow the Dremel tip in, so it grabbed. The Dremel also sucks in a lot of the dust - hubby cleaned it out and covered the opening with duck tape for the rest of the job.
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Normin wrote:

I wouldn't recommend this, covering the air vents on the dremmel is a good way to burn out the motor. The vents need to be open to keep the motor from overheating. Dust is also bad for it, but I not as bad as heat. If you're really set on using a dremmel still, use a shop-vac to suck up the dust as you cut. You can even get creative and duct-tape the vac-hose to the dremmel (careful not to block the air holes) so it's right next to the work and you can use both hands to attempt to control the dremmel and keep from chipping tiles.
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Since you are working with caulk on tile and (presumably) a cast iron tub, I would think that using a heat gun to soften the caulk and a knife to cut it out should work. Follow up with acetone to get the rest. It worked for me. If you happen to have anything plastic in the immediate area you can't use the heat gun.
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Or the acetone. It will disolve just about any plastic.
Bob
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The dremel will likely do more damage than good.
Bob
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Gee, thanks everybody. I never expected to get so many intelligent responses. I bought that grout scraper and the tiny hand tool (like a razor blade), but the heat gun is a good suggestion.
There *are* tiles that are loose, and I'm worried that I'll seal mold in. Maybe I'll use that as an excuse to talk Mom into tearing down the whole dang ugly avocado tile and putting up that surround.
Thanks again.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Push around on the wall and see if it is soft. Sure sounds like you need new wall.
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On 15 Dec 2005 15:30:42 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Now see your post after I reply. I bet the loose tiles are all along the tub, right? Carefully remove them, and spend a few hours removing all the glue from the backs of them with a scraper. If the plaster is still relatively solid, use some spackle and fix it. If it's all mushy, you can carefully replace the bottom foot, or half foot of plaster using greenboard, and spackle. Then glue all tiles back on and regrout the whole walls. (paint the mold with bleach)
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wrote:

Greenboard is not considered suitable for tub surrounds these days.
Bob
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I agree. One slip and the tiles or tub will be scratched. Use a utility knife, firm paint scraper or putty knife, and buy a grout removal tool for about $10. Prepare to spend hours on the job, but replacing the tiles would take even more work and expense, so grin and bear it. (Unless you are one of the wealthy sledge hammer types like the people on "This Old House", who just wreck everything right down to the to the framing and start over with all new walls, fixtures, plumbing ,etc. )
If any tiles fall off, just reglue them (assuming the wall is solid underneath) .
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clipped

I agree the Dremel should not be used for caulk removal, but is very nice, fairly easy to use for renewing grout. Have to watch out for spots that are narrower than the bit, as it will chip there when it grabs into the tile. I forget the size of the bit - 1/16? I debated between the tile saw and Dremel, and my over-sixty muscles don't like that much work. Smushing in the new grout was tough enough. The OP makes the wall sound like he needs to go down to the studs and get new wall.
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The last time I was in Home Depot I saw something in the caulking/sealer/adhesive aisle that removes caulk. Comes in the same style tube. You apply it to the caulk and I guess it dissolves it. Not sure if it was just for latex.
Mike
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Maybe the wall behind the tile is failing. I would be suspious of this. do the tiles have a good bond to the wall
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