Last year I installed new ceramic tiles in the bathroom with a new steel
tub. I left a 3/8" gab between the tub and the tile and filled it with grout
that matches all the other grout lines of the floor. It looks very nice for
a few months but has now cracked because the tub flex just a hair when you
get in and out. What should I do. I do not want to simply caulk over it
because it would look stupid and I am sure it would peel. I was thinking of
chipping it out and cleaning it and then caulking it but I think a 3/8" gap
is too wide to fill with caulk. What should I do and how should I have done
it in the first place. Is there any additives that would have strengthened
or made flexible the grout. Thanks
It should have been done with a bathroom caulk and the gap should have
been about 1/8 inch. Caulk remains flexible so that when the tub has
the weight of water in it, it will flex and not crack. It should be
done with the tub near full and allowed to cure, as that will have the
space at it's widest. If there is enough room, you can go over the
grout with caulk, or else remove it.
How about removing the old caulk getting a more flexible caulk then filling the
bathtub with water to lower the tub caulk it again.
Or there may be a rubber trim moulding
thing made for going around a tub that
would hide the gap?
3/8" x 3/8" is the maximum fill for most caulks I've seen. It has
to do with being able to cure properly. If it's too deep, put
something behind it to take up some of the room.
There is a specific type of Silocone caulk made to use around
tubs and they also make rubber glue-on trim that fastens to the
tile and presses down on the tub. IMO, the best solution is
both: Chip out some, not all of the grout so there's enough to
not poke thru the caulk, caulk it to prevent water ever seeping
down the wall, and then put the rubber flange around the tub.
That'll further prevent water from getting in there, plus cover
the mess you (I mean, I) make when the caulk goes on
not-quite-prefectly. One more: Olive oil is good to use to keep
the caulk from sticking to your skin. I keep a jar handy and use
my fingertips to smooth out the caulk. Rubber gloves with olive
oil works, too, but I don't like gloves; not enough feeling.
Test your olive oil just in case my brand's special <g> since
I've heard the glue-on trim is supposedly "better" than caulk, but ...
In my experience that stuff only creates more gaps for water to collect
in, and mildew to grow on. In my tub, the trangle-shaped gaps where the
strip meets tile-grout-tile, are inevitable (since the strips are fairly
rigid), and are yucky. I'll be removing the strips, cleaning, and
re-caulking soon, because I'm not about to try to clean those gaps.
Now that's interesting ?!. Why didn't you post it a few days ago, when
caulking technique was all the rage?
So, I removed the vinyl glue-on trim and re-caulked today. Two notes,
one good one bad.
I'd heard from others that the glue-on strip was better than regular
caulk. As I wrote above, from the surface it already created more
crevices for mildew. Then I took it off. I'd taken a shower a few
hours before, but the walls and tub were fully dry.
BAD: Despite the amount of adhesive (NOT caulk!) holding the vinyl to
the tile and tub, there was water-a-plenty behind it. So the vinyl
actually creates a bigger problem than caulk - namely, when it fails
to be watertight, you have no idea. All you see is a rigid strip that
looks solid and tight enough ... not quite.
GOOD: Oil on the finger works *miracles* for smoothing caulk. Pop,
you're a genius.
As the other poster noted, you should have left 1/8 inch gap, then filled it
with silicone adhesive bathroom caulk, matched to the tub or grout color.
True grout is meant for joining ridgid tiles only, and is very poor as a
tub/tile boundary seal. Somehow you've got to chip out the grout, and
replace it with flexible silicone caulk. Perhaps you could chip out all the
grout, then insert a 1/8 inch rubber/plastic strip on the tub, let set, then
later silicone the gap left where you removed the strip.
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