Re-caulking Your Shower: Part II

There’s really very little reason to make this a two-parter, but given how slow progress can be here at the Ugg-Duck with finals approaching, I wanted to give you an update on what’s going on lately in the guest bath, and I hadn’t yet fixed a glaring problem with the shower tile. I knew my bathtub was white, so when I bought a tube of caulk from the store, I went with white.  Word to the wise: just plunk down the extra few bucks to buy a full, regular tube of caulk.  I went cheap and bought only what I thought would be enough for the shower, which was true, but I spend time on the computer all day at work and my hands are simply not very happy with me for having to manually squeeze out the bead of caulk around the entire tub (the tube makes it look as easy as squeezing toothpaste, but my hands disagreed).  I felt old and silly.  So next time, I’ll be buying a full tube and using my caulk gun.

full tube caulk

I ran into a snag when I realized that white was fine for the tub, but too white for the corners of the tile shower where an off-white grout was used.  Here is where I’ll give you a few more tips in case you’re wondering:

  • You’ll want to use silicone caulk for maximum moisture/mildew/mold protection in your shower.
  • As I mentioned in part one, you’ll also want to remove any and all old caulk to make sure there are no potential gaps or weak spots when filling the area in with new caulk
  • Whether you choose to use tape or not, you want a protective line (but not too much that you have to clean up) to prevent any moisture from seeping under the tile.  The tub and corners of the shower are weak spots, so this is why (this is why, this is why, this is why) we caulk.  I choose to tape since I get a nice, straight line without going back over and fixing mistakes when it’s dry.
  • While most acrylic caulk comes in a variety of colors readily available at the hardware store, silicone caulk can be a little more difficult.  My choices at the store when I bought my tube were white and clear (though I later learned that Home Depot carries a greater color variety and went back to match it to my grout).  And unlike acrylic, silicone caulk isn’t paintable.  It also doesn’t like to stick to acrylic caulk (just in case you’re wondering, I have tried this and the caulk immediately turned from white to yellow and peeled right back off when dry).
  • Don’t forget that silicone caulk is the same whether the tube is labeled for kitchens or bathrooms.  You want a permanent, waterproof seal – not the label.  So don’t be afraid to look in the next section over if you’re not finding what you’re looking for.

Silicone caulk can also be used to patch  up small patches of missing grout between your tiles.  If you have an old shower like mine, sometimes you can get away with patching areas where the grout went missing over time.  This is difficult to do if you do not have the exact color of the grout used (it will look splotchy).  I originally thought I would use pre-mixed grout to fill in the areas where I found weak spots in the grout, but the caulk matched so well that I just took care of things ahead of schedule (gasp!).  The process is pretty simple:  just make sure you’ve thoroughly rid the area of any loose grout (which typically means making the hole a little bigger) with a blade.  And be careful not to crack the tile.  After that, it’s a simple swipe of silicone caulk (again, waterproofy-ness is key) will fix up a small spot.  For larger problems, you’ll want to instead scrape the grout out with an oscillating tool (that has a tile blade) and re-grout.

silicone caulk patch grout
This is a temporary fix; for larger jobs, re-grout.

The reason I tell you this is simply because I’m a homeowner; not an expert.  I make mistakes with this house all the time – even when I try my best.  It’s totally normal and something I think we all deserve to see every once in a while so we don’t feel like we’re the only ones caulking things up (pun, hehe).  Oh, and ignore the nasty tiles in these photos – I have one final cleanup job before the shower is ready to use.

Re-caulking the shower

When I saw the white was too glaring for the tile corners of the shower, I went back to the store to grab an off-white color, came back home, removed the brand new caulk I just applied (it had dried enough to cleanly remove), and re-applied the caulk.  So essentially I re-caulked my re-caulked shower.  But lesson learned.  The area around the tub I was able to leave alone because it matched the white caulk perfectly fine.

After applying the caulk, it’s time to let the bathroom rest for 24 hours.  Now I know you’re looking at tubes of caulk that have “1-hour shower ready” or “30-minute shower ready” labels, and while that sounds great, every single one of them still says that you really need to let things dry for a full 24 hours before use.  Sure, I suppose if you’re in a shower emergency you can get the area slightly wet after that 30 minutes (or using the caulk to plug a leak in your sliding door), but in reality, every tube will tell you to wait an entire day.

re-caulk shower

But, bonus?  I also took the dry time to install a fancy new shower head for the bathroom.  The old one was just gross, and this one will allow me to also use a spray handle to give Charlie a bath (picture will be in the final reveal this week).  Of course, I fully intend to clean the tub between dog washings in case a guest comes over.  Which will be virtually never, but hey, Charlie will be a clean pup!

Can’t ya feel it?  Just a little cleaning, and my bathroom will be ready to go.  Wahoo!

Comments

  1. says

    Just in case you don't already have a favorite, Scrubbing Bubbles foaming spray works wonders on nasty grout. I just used it to scrub the discusting grout in my tile countertops and it was sparkling with minimal effort. Worked better than the acid tile cleaner I used when we moved in!

  2. Cecilia says

    In total, how long was the entire process from removing old caulking (scraping, cleaning, applying tape for line) to applying the new caulking?

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