Shower stall caulking - HOWTO

I just re-caulked my shower stall with 100% GE Silicone caulk. The project was a success this time around, thanks to the advice of many in this ng. This was my 3rd attempt at doing so, having had to scrape off the stuff from the previous 2 failed attempts, in the last 2 months. One lesson I learned is that Silicone is not to be feared, as many have suggested. I have discovered that silicone will bond well with semi-cured silicone, so you can lay over some spots you missed, even upto 12 or so hours later, without a problem. Also, taking old silicone caulking off is not that painful.
1. Spray mildew remover or plain bleach (DO NOT mix ANY spary with anything else. The combination of a mix of ammonia and bleach can cause long term damage to lungs, among other nasties!!!) on the tiles. and floor. Wait 10 minutes. Then wipe with wet paper towels or wet rag. Repeat until sparkling clean and mildew free. Make sure the area is WELL VENTILATED!!!
2. Second, take off old caulking. The best tool that worked for me was a good quality putty knife (not the one made of of very light metal). Heat the old caulking with a blow dryer, then cut at the sides with a utility knife (taking care not to damage tiles or the acrylic floor). Then use the putty knife, angled to the tiles to scrape off old caulk. Taking caulk off metal doors is a little more tricky. Use the above approach, but use a plastic putty knife so as not to scratch the aluminium. If stubborn, wet a rag in paint thinner and rub over old caulking (make sure the area is well ventilated). Then scrape off with plastic knife after a couple of minutes.
3. Repeat step 1 to make sure the surfaces beneath caulking are also clean and mildew free. Wait 24 hours for things to dry (just in case any moisture went inside the joints). Then clean the area to be caulked with rubbing alcohol, which dries off immediately.
4. Start the cauking: A) Where tile meets tile, use color matching silicone caulking. I used white. B) Let the caulking tube stand in warm water for 5-10 minutes. This will improve the flow and make your work easier. C) Keep lots of paper towels handy. Also a bowl of water with a couple of drops of hand soap mixed in it. D) Cut off the caulking tube nozzle at a 45 degree angle at a width that is slightly bigger than the joint (so that the caulk can cover the joint). Joints that are more than 3/4" big need a backer rod. E) Place the tube in a caulking gun, and with a smooth, continous pressure, pull the gun along the joint, while keeping the nozzle pressed against the joint.The bead should be smooth and continous, and cover the joint. F) after finishing one side, release the gun trigger, set it down, and starting from the end you started with, begin to smooth out the bead with your finger. Keep your finger clean by wiping away excess caulking with a paper towel, and then dipping it into the soap-water bowel frequently. The latter step will make sure that the caulk does not stick to your fingers, and also ensures a smooth bead. Try not to remove too much caulking away. Your goal is to smooth and press it down. I guess a fat finger will help here. G) Repeat with the other sides. H) Leave well enough alone. Don't try to repeatedly smooth and press. The caulk will curdle over and you will be very frustrated!!! I) If you missed a spot, lay some more caulking at the spot, and smooth again. J) Give your bathroom atleast 48 hours to cure. K) Stick a nail into caulk catridge nozzle and replace the cap. Store inside the house in winter, in the garage in summer.
I have seen a hand held tube works just as well as the gun, atleast for the novice.
Regards, Vijay
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

What about the tile itself? Did you do anything special to it, or perhaps you don't have a tiled tub/shower?
If you do, did you use any particular sealant on the tile, and does it work?
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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Unless the grout is coming out, nothing special needs to be done to the tile. Just make sure you clean the part you'll caulk over, viz, at the joints.

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Unless the grout is coming out, nothing special needs to be done to the tile. Just make sure you clean the part you'll caulk over, viz, at the joints.

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