Problematic caulk


Hi,
We have two bathrooms with full size bathtubs surrounded by ceramic tile walls. We have lived in this house for 11 years now, and for this time I caulked the tubs every 3-4 years when the old caulk developed cracks and started getting loose from the tub or wall. The job was always quite easy: remove the old caulk, wipe the area clean of dust and grease, and recaulk. I can not remember what kind of caulk I was using, but it was standard home store stuff advertised for this purpose.
Now over the past year it seems that this does not work any more. I have had to replace the caulk every 2-3 months when it starts developing cracks again. Every time I have carefully removed the old caulk and cleaned out the surfaces prior to putting in the new caulk. I have also tried three different manufacturer's products with no improvement in the results.
Here are my questions: 1. Is there one brand or composition of bathroom caulk that has significantly better adhesion than the others? 2. Any specific chemical or detergent wash recommended for preparing the surfaces for better adhesion? 3. What else that might be causing this? We live in suburban Chicago, so we have not had earthquakes or such recently either.
Appreciate any helpful ideas.
Pietu
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"pietu" <pietu1_at_juno_dot_com> wrote in message

One trick I always use is filling the tub with water before caulking to simulate it's weight during use. Might help. Gerry
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"pietu" <pietu1_at_juno_dot_com> wrote in message

i don't know where you are but i'm in a similar situation. i've used Polyseamseal or Pheneoseal all the time because it is easy to use and cleans up real nice. one thing i do a little different from you is that after i cut away all the caulk and clean up the mess, i get some alcohol and clean the surface of the tub and work a little under the tile and back toward the wall where the wall is and use a razor to make sure all surfaces are clean or any residue and smooth. i also make sure i give the area pleanty of time to breath and dry out as wellas use a hair dryer to blow dry the area where i'm caulking to be sure any sign of dampness or moisture is gone. in areas where a large bead is necessary, i do a filler bead firtst and let it get a good skin on it then caulk the entire tub area w/ a finish bead and let it dry completely. it is best to allow the max time on the tube for curing plus any additional time you can spare to add on. i know i should probably just buy some grout and finish it that way but i'm not too good w/ grout and have been know to make a big mess of things.
mike........
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pietu wrote:

Replacing caulk every 3-4 years would alarm me; every 2-3 months is a bit unreal. What is under your tub and why is it moving enough to crack the caulk?
Silicone caulk would be the pop choice, but I certainly would investigate why it is cracking.
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What's the tub made out of?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I believe they (two bathrooms with an identical problem) are just typical porcelain on steel construction. Not acrylic or fiberglass anyway.
Pietu
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I just wanted to check to see if the tub was made of fiberglass and therefore prone to flexing. And I agree with the above posters that your problem might be due more to cleaning problems than anything else. The razor blade suggestion should help, but I wonder if something like steel wool or light sanding might help too. I'd start with acetone on the porceling tub parts to get all the former residue off. Don't let the acetone touch anything plastic.
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Norminn wrote:

The two tubs are in two second floor bathrooms on plywood surface. The bathrooms are next to each other, so the tubs would practically touch each others if there was not a wall in between them.
What do you mean when you say that replacing caulk every 3-4 years would alarm you? How often should it be done? Anyway, for the 11 years that we have owned this house I have always replaced the caulk when it has started separating from the surfaces, and for a long while it was just about that often.
You say that the separating of the caulk is an indication that the tubs are moving. Obviously what comes to mind first, since we are talking about bathrooms, is a possible moisture damage. I guess an investigation is in an order.
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clipped

Are both tubs used at the same time? Supporting wall beneath? (Sure hope so.) Original or remodel?

When I have redone caulking, it was to remove and replace sloppy caulk jobs. Once done right - on an immaculately clean surface, right kind of caulk - it should last longer than I have lived in any one residence. I just have no experience with caulk separating from a surface, so I consider it very unusual.

The only reason I have recaulked around tubs was because it was done poorly the first time and looked like crap - have never had it crack. When I recaulked a tub not on a slab, I did the "fill with water" routine prior, but saw no discernable movement. I once had a rocking toilet, but that was with a landlord who didn't like to spend money and due to long-term leak rotting the plywood subfloor.

Pronto! Good luck.
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pietu wrote:

100% silicone will never crack. it could separate if the area is dirty, but sticks better than anything else. Its not easy to work with. I sometimes manipulate it by wetting a finger with alcohol.
g
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On Mon, 22 Jan 2007 15:37:32 -0600, pietu <pietu1_at_juno_dot_com> wrote:

Might want to upgrade a little with the caulk, if you are just using plain latex stuff.
As for changes, your water company can be uping the amount of clorine and that can damage a lot of stuff.
Just a guess.....
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com
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clipped

DAP silicone.

New razor blade scraper to get off every molecule of soap scum :o) Green scrubber and Dawn to clean it more. Rinse. Wipe with full-strength bleach, let dry well. Caulk. Let cure before using the tub.

If you aren't cleaning off soap scum, that might be the reason for the caulk coming loose - or is the caulk bead cracking through the middle? How large is the opening between the tub and the wall? Tile wall? If so, is the grout cracking?
When I regrouted our shower, I was ready to go, thinking I had the tile as clean as it could be. I noticed a spot that had a little dullness and went at it with a razor scraper. The tile below the soap dish had an amazing amount of soap scum on it that came off with the razor. I normally cleaned that area with green scrubber and detergent and thought it was clean.

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