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
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
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