It’s the week before Christmas and your house has to shine.
There will be in-laws, neighbours and others come to dine.
The tree is all sparkly and presents are wrapped.
You’ve just got to clean the toilet and bath…

STOP!

Have you looked at the bathtub recently? Perhaps you have been avoiding noticing that creeping line of black that is sneaking across the caulk line? Well, if you don’t want your father-in-law to roll up his shirt sleeves and start ripping out filthy caulking before stepping up to carve the turkey, perhaps you should take care of that little project before he gets here. If you have never tackled caulking the tub, don’t fret. It is one of the easier DIY projects that you can attempt and it makes the bathtub look brand new when its done. Oh, and don’t worry, as there is still time!

RE-CAULKING A BATHTUB

What You Will Need:

  • caulking gun
  • tube of kitchen & bath caulking
  • scraper to remove old caulking
  • denatured alcohol
  • painter’s tape

STEP 1:

Ok ladies and gents, it’s time to get dirty. The first thing you need to do is scrape away all the old caulking. There are products on the market that you can buy to help soften caulk, which in turn makes it easier to remove. If you don’t have time to run to the store, or spent your last dime on that tube of caulking, then you can remove it the old-fashioned way with a screwdriver, putty knife, razor or perhaps a scraper designed exactly for the job at hand.

STEP 2:

Once you have the old caulking removed, wipe the tub with a damp cloth to remove any leftover caulking or other debris. If you had grout underneath the caulk, it might be a messier job, so grab the vacuum for a quick tidy up. You finished product will look that much better for your efforts afterwards.

STEP 3:

Once you have removed all the old caulking and debris, grab your alcohol and wipe down the tub with it. This will clean off any remaining soap scum or dirt left behind. Once it is completely dry, it will also help the caulk to adhere to the tub and tiles.

STEP 4:

You are almost there now! If you want a professional looking job that will wow your wife, and maybe even your father-in-law, grab some painter’s tape. Tape off the grout line leaving an 1/8″  for the caulk. When the tape comes off, your caulk line will be straight and flawless, regardless of how messy a DIYer you tend to be.

STEP 5:

Once the tub is completely clean and the joints are dry, fill the tub with water. This makes the tub sink somewhat, creating a bigger joint. The reason why you do this is that once your caulking is dry, it will not be stretched as much every time you step into it for a shower or bath. Just so you know, there is a better chance of caulking cracking or breaking, if you forget this step.

STEP 6:

Here we go! Snip off the top of the tube of caulking and pop it into the caulking gun. Don’t forget to pierce the inner seal of the tube to release the caulking. Now you are finally set to apply that bead of caulking! Start in the corner joint and carefully squeeze the trigger of the gun, drawing it along at a slow and steady rate. Ideally, you should try to have a continuous bead from one side of the wall to the other. Continue to apply caulking to the other two joints. Don’t forget to release the trigger when you have reached the end of the joint, as you will have a heck of a mess of caulking on the floor, if you forget to ease up on the pressure on the poor tube.

STEP 7:

Now, with a wet finger, lightly press the caulking into the wall. Conversely, you can buy a reasonably cheap tool that does the job for you (but fingers are generally free the last I checked). Heck, a spoon could do the trick too, I suppose! Regardless of what you use, you want to gently draw your tool of choice along the line of caulking, creating a smooth even bead from one end to the other. This is when that tape comes in handy too, as if your line gets a little messy, the excess will disappear when the tape comes off. So that you don’t have ruffled edges when you pull the tape off, remove the tape shortly after smoothing the caulking in place.

STEP 8:

Allow caulking to dry for the time indicated on the tube. This is generally about 24 hours. Make sure that everything remains dry as the caulking cures. Once it is completely dry, drain your tub and voila! You have a brand new tub that will shine when the guests begin arriving this weekend!

Beautiful and clean bathroom ready to impress your guests!

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