As you're probably aware, aging bathtub caulk is anything but pretty. Not only that, but degraded caulk can lead to costly forms of damage by allowing water to penetrate around the edges of your tub. Therefore, knowing how to replace old caulk is a valuable skill. If you would like to improve your knowledge of home plumbing, read on. This article will offer two key tips for getting the job done right.
Utilize painter's tape to make your caulk lines straight.
The next worst thing to a mildewy line of caulk is a crooked one. Still, many beginning caulkers fall prey to the belief that they can lay a perfect line free-hand. But there's no need to risk it. All you need to guarantee good, straight results is a roll of painter's tape.
The idea here is to use two long pieces of tape to designate the boundaries of the caulk. One strip of tape will be located on the wall just above the seam, while the other will be on the lip of the bathtub. The width of the gap between them should be approximately 3/8".
Double check to ensure that this width is equal down the entire length of the seam. Now it doesn't matter how messy you may get with the caulk. All you have to do once you're done is pull up the two strips, thus removing all of the sloppy caulk and leaving behind a straight, perfect seam.
Be deliberate about the variety of caulk you decide to use.
The vast array of caulks available at your local home improvement store will likely leave your head reeling. Don't despair, however. What you need to know is that caulk comes in two main varieties: silicone and acrylic. While either one will do fine for recaulking a tub, it's good to understand a few of the differences between them before you choose.
The chief selling point of silicone caulk is its long lifespan. This has to do with the fact that silicone is a highly flexible substance--a fact that provides it with an extra level of defense against peeling and cracking. Silicone caulk's primary drawback is that it can be difficult for beginners to install, owing to the fact that it cannot be easily smoothed or altered once applied.
Acrylic caulk, on the other hand, offers a bit more fudge room when it comes to its application. Once you've laid down your primary bead, you can sculpt and smooth it to achieve the desired appearance. Unfortunately, acrylic caulk does not have as superior a lifespan. This means that you will likely have to replace it a few years sooner than you would silicone caulk. If you need help recaulking your bathtub or shower, don't be shy about contacting a professional such as a Plumbing Now plumber.