Thursday, April 18, 2013

DIY: Caulking The Bathroom Tile

Caulking Bathroom Tile

It’s inevitable.  At some point, one area or another in your bathroom shower will suffer lose tiles or the grout or caulking will get nasty. All the scrubbing in the world gives you little to no result, which means it is time to remove that caulking and replace it. In the case of loose or missing tiles there are a couple of extra steps, but the general process is the same.
The only way to learn how to caulk bathroom tile properly is to simply do it. All the verbal or written instruction in the world is worthless if the job is left to theory. So roll up your sleeves and get cracking.
You will first need to figure out what you need to replace. Is the grout broken through? You may need to replace that. Is the caulking made of silicone or some other material? This point is important because depending on the material that you are removing, you can find a caulk remover to make the job easier.
Baby steps to get you started include properly cleaning and prepping the work area:
  • You need to thoroughly clean soap scum and dirt from the tile surfaces.
  • Next, remove the old caulking and then clean yet again by vacuuming away all dust and debris from the work area.
  • Next, you should use denatured alcohol to assure the surface is completely free of anything.
  • All surfaces must be completely and totally dry before you begin applying the caulk.
  • Once you know what type of caulking you need, whether it is silicone or PVA, you should apply a small bead to the joints between the tiles. Start small and spread with a moist finger. It is easier to spread a little bit than it is to remove excess. So don’t use too much too quickly. Make sure there are no air pockets.
  • After the job is completed, clean any excess before the caulking can begin to dry. Once it dries it is there permanently.
  • Keep the shower dry overnight and preferably for 24 hours before allowing the area to get wet.

New caulking makes a big difference in the clean appearance of your tiles. Invest the time and you’ll be glad you did.

-- Doug Harris