Over the weekend I set out to recaulk my bathtub, as the old caulk job
was very messy and black with mildew. I scraped off the old stuff
with a razorblade, washed the area with bleach and water, gave it a
few hours to dry, and applied the new caulk. Allowed about 36 hours
for the new caulk application to dry.
The tub surround does not appear to sit flush against my wall...
there is up to a 1cm gap between the tub surround and wall, and when
something presses on the tub surround there is obvious strain on the
caulk, such that the seal has been broken in many sections.
Is there a way to avoid this problem? Does the tub surround need to
be glued to the wall somehow prior to caulking? Or could there have
been an issue with the way I applied the caulk that resulted in the
seal easily breaking?
This is just a guess, but I would be thinking that I need to get something
up in behind the tub surround in the space between the tub surround and the
wall. That should keep the tub surround from pressing in toward the wall
and stop that movement which is causing the separation you mentioned.
I would probably try one of two things.
One is to use the same silicone caulk but first apply it to the joint and
then use a flat taping tool and PRESS the caulk IN and UP to get it up
behind the tub surround. Then, after that is done re-caulk the joint as you
Or, maybe I would try using bathroom ADHESIVE CAULK first. That is the
adhesive caulk that is used to set soap dishes in place etc. Do the same
routine -- apply it and press it up in behind the tub surround. Then, use
regular caulk and caulk the seam.
Again, just a guess, but that's what I would try.
You should not try to fill such a large gap with caulk. Need to make
sure the tub and surround do not move. Then caulk. Do you have a
molding around the outside perimeter of the surround? If so, I would
seriously consider taking it down to see how the surround is mounted.
Hard to solve a problem with so much unknown - if the surround was
slapped up to cover a damaged wall, you may have more to do than to
When you want to caulk a fine seam around bathtub, it must be
immaculately clean and dry - all soap scum, moisture, etc. Wipe with
full-strength bleach, let dry, wipe with denatured alcohol, let dry,
apply caulk. If you aren't steady with a caulking gun, use painter's
tape for guide and remove it as soon as the caulk is in place and
smoothed out. Silicone caulk, not latex.
You might try filling your tub with water next time, before you
caulk. I found out that the weight of the water can pull the tub
down, causing it to break away from the newly applied caulk...same
thing happens when you stand in the tub and use the shower.
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