A couple of projects that I am working on:
Caulking a shower.
1) What is the best way to remove the existing caulk?
2) What is the best caulk to use? Silicone? Siliconized latex? I had
a mold and mildew on the old caulk and want something more durable.
Holes in the grout on the shower walls.
How do you go about fixing this? Is there filler you can buy to repair
them or is it something on a larger scale?
"Caulk removers" are available. AIUI some are better than others.
That's my next task. :-(
Mold and mildew aren't a function of caulk. You have water that's
not evaporating. You'll have mildew until you get more
ventilation. As for caulk, the general consensus is that Silicone
is better, but it's a PITA to apply. Siliconeized latex is much
easier (cleans up with water). The stuff the tile store here sells
is siliconeized latex and comes in colors to match the grout.
Replace the grout.
It's a *MAJOR* PITA (I'm working on it today, AAMOF) but there are
bits for Dremmel tools to cut the grout out of the tile. The
Dremmel bits are *EXPENSIVE* and don't last long. I've gone
through ten or eleven of them, at $10 each. I found (perhaps here)
a company (http://www.leakyshower.com ) that sells them much
cheaper; 6 for $22. Watch it though, it's a lot of hard work,
makes a mess, and it easy to mess up tile (found out the hard way).
...off to the HomeDespot, since I just burned up my Dremmel tool.
I did the Dremel thing on our walk-in shower, about 4' square with tile
to ceiling. Used 3 or 4 bits. The tough part, for me, was crouching
down to do the lower portions and smooshing in the new grout. I won't
mention hubby putting sealer on grout before it was ready :o)
We have a lot of grout to grind out, as the tiles are about 1 1/4" x 4".
There were a number of pin-holes, but fortunately no leaks. Neighbors
with the same tile installation (very old) had walls that rotted out due
to untended leaks.
As for removing old caulk, it is easy to get off porcellain with a razor
blade scraper. Silicone in a bath is best, imo, and only after perfect
cleaning and wiping with bleach, then denatured alcohol. Amazing how
much soap scum can be present, that is difficult to see until you start
scraping - blends perfectly with our tile :o) If it collects water, it
collects soap scum, so that mold/mildew follows. I use masking tape,
smoosh caulk in so it forms a "cove molding" tapered right to the edge
of the tape and then take the tape off right away.
My problem is that some of the tiles are closer than 1/16", so I
end up cutting tile with a bit that's not designed for it. When
doing tile *NEVER* use the bumps as a guide. *ALWAYS* use the
stars. Gawd, what a mess.
My tiles is on Hardibacker, at least looking at the Moen control
valve cut-out it looks like it. Our problem was obvious cracked
grout and a leak into the ceiling downstairs. The only thing I can
figure is that the leak was caused by a grout or caulk failure.
The plumbing seems sound.
Fiberglass? Even the grout removers warn about this.
I have tape covering the tub now and plastic and painters tarps
inside the tub. That and a few 2x4s bridging it and plywood above.
I don't want to grind any debris into the fiberglass. I'll likely
pull it all out before I do the grout. Grout isn't a biggie for
me. I put in tile floors a few weeks ago. *Lotsa* clean water and
I'm fine with it. I haven't been brave enough to do the epoxy
With a paint scraper. You can use caulk remover if you want, but in my
experience this stuff is only somewhat effective. It depends on the
caulk you have now and how deep it is. My house's previous owners had
used some really nasty stuff (no idea what it was) and had in some
cases managed to get it about 4 inches deep in the crevasses; the
remover had absolutely no effect on it below the surface.
Removing shower/bath caulk is not a job I ever want to do again. It is
just nasty, annoying and frustrating. Or at least it was for me...
before I did it, I kept reading about how once you get the caulk line
started, it just pulls right up. So maybe you'll be lucky. For me, I
spent about 4 days digging that stuff out centimeter by centimeter.
And the caulk remover had partially dissolved the top surface, so it
ended up spreading everywhere and getting stuck to all my bathroom
surfaces. Cleanup was a bitch.
I used that GE Silicone II stuff. I don't know if it's the best or
not, but there was some reason why I chose it, and I think part of it
was the advertised mold resistance.
It depends entirely on the substrate. A few weeks ago I pulled
a line off a shower joint. Relatively new, it was practically
falling off. The shower wasn't properly cleaned first. Others
are much nastier.
Oft times, if you simply manage to shave out the worst/thickest of a
stubborn caulk line, recaulking over the remaining film is perfectly
okay. If it's not coming up, it's not gonna leak there either.
"Bath and tile" caulk has stuff in it to kill mould. GE Silicone II
comes both with and without the mildewcide. Check the label.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
I seriously doubt you need to replace all the grout or tiles, as other have
suggested (unless these "holes" are bigger than I imagine.) If the grout is
white, just get some new grout and get it in there. If it's colored, that
will be harder.
Various sources I've seen say to remove about 1/8" depth of grout to
regrout. Gives the new grout something to hold securely to. I've done
this depth and it worked out fine. But anything you hit that is loose,
get it out. If you are using a tool like a Dremel you need to be
sensitive to the width of the joints. The Dremel bits come in two
diameters I think. If you try using the larger one where some joints
happen to be narrow, the bit will hit the porcelean of the tiles. That
will wear the bit faster and if that bit happens to wedge in a narrow
joint, it'll break. The grout itself is soft compared to the porcelean
layer on the tiles.
Regrout with "UNsanded" grout for walls.
Here's an article with some pics:
I remove old caulk with a single edge razor blade in a holder. Clean
area with alcohol then replace the caulk with GE Silicone II. PITA to
work with but have had the best results with that so far.
I use a grout saw to open up the grout lines.
Home Depot has something similar.
You'll need to get grout suitable for shower walls. Read the package.
All grout is not the same.
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