How Recaulk A Shower And Prevent Mold From Growing In The Caulk

Tile Shower Recaulking Tips

By Troy Cantini

The first thing that must be done when recaulking a shower is to remove the old dirty moldy caulk.. Trying to clean moldy shower caulk is futile due to the mold actually growing in, under and around the old caulking. Putting new caulking over old caulking will cause adhesion problems with the new caulk. You also want to allow the wet area underneith the old caulk to dry out before insalling new caulk.

You can use a utility knife and a razor blade scrapping tool to remove the old shower caulk. You should first use the utility knife to cut into the old caulk to loosen it up a bit. You should angle the utility knife so that you cut into the old caulk without cutting into and damaging shower tiles or surrounding surfaces. After you have cut into the old caulk with a utility knife then you should use a razor blade tool to scrape away and remove the old caulk.

You should be careful when using the razor blade tools when removing caulk from any type of soft stone shower tiles like slate, marble, limestone or travertine.  Stone tiles are softer than ceramic or porcelain tiles and they can easily be scratched with metal scrapping tools. Care must be taken not to slip out of line with the razor blade tools and making a gash in the soft stone tiles. A slower more careful technique must be used when removing caulk in stone tile showers.

You should try to remove as much of the old caulk as possible to ensure that the new caulk will bond well.   After you have removed the old caulk you should also clean the areas that will be caulked with isopropyl alcohol to get the shower surface as clean as possible. It is important that all of the shower surfaces are totally clean so that the new caulk will bond well with the shower tiles. Some acetone can also be used to remove stubborn hard to remove caulk.

After you have removed the old caulk then it is best to allow the shower to dry out before applying the new caulk.  You want to ensure you shower is totally dry so that the mold will die and the new caulk will adhere properly to the shower walls and floor. If there are areas of wet moldy old caulk left in the shower seams then this mold can start growing under the new caulk.

Taping off the shower prior to caulking it is the key to getting straight looking caulk lines.  Taping off a shower prior to caulking may seem like a lot of extra work but it will save you time when actually applying caulk in the shower. You should tape off every place where the caulk will be applied. Even shower nooks, soap dishes and shower fixtures should all be taped off if they are going to be caulked.

You should apply enough caulk to the shower seams to ensure that the caulk can get forced deep into the seems of the shower.  You want to ensure that the caulk will completely fill the gaps in the shower and no water can get through the caulk. The base of the shower will have a shower pan to collect any water that gets through the caulk but you still don't want water getting through there and growing mold in the shower. The vertical seams will often have no protection from water getting behind them and into shower walls. It is very important to fully caulk the vertical seems to keep water out of the walls of your home.

Laticrete Latasil's 100% silicone caulk is the best colored caulk to use for showers and wet areas.  Latasil caulk comes in a variety of colors and is fairly easy to work with. Latasil is the brand of caulk that most quality tile installers and restoration professionals use. Do not even consider using any type of latex or siliconized caulks in a shower environment. These home improvement store caulks will not last long and mold and mildew will grout in these latex caulks in a very short period of time.

Make sure that you smooth out all of the caulking joints and force the caulk deep into the seems before removing the tape.  If needed you should add some more caulk and force it into the seems as necessary. You should also have all of your materials ready including many paper towels to wipe you hands with and a garbage bag handy to put the tape with the excess caulking in. You only have about 1/2 hour to caulk and smooth out all your caulking joints before the caulk starts to set. Therefore you should ensure that everything you need is in place before applying the caulk and that there will not be any distractions while you are caulking.

Only pull away one side of the tape away at a time.  After you have pulled away one side of the tape smooth the caulk joint over with your finger. Then pull the other side of the tape away and re smooth the caulking joint with your finger to reveal an straight even looking caulk joint.

You should always go back and smooth your caulk joints after removing the tape.  If you just remove the tape without going back over and smoothing the caulk then you will get a ridge line of caulk where the tape was pulled from. After smoothing out the top section of caulk then you can remove the bottom tape.Then you should smooth over the caulk a final time to ensure that the caulk is even with no ridges on the edge of the caulk line.  You should wait at least 24 hours for the new caulk to cure before using your shower.

If you live in Seattle or the Puget Sound region you can call the Regrouting and Recaulking experts at Prestige Tile Care for professional regrouting and recaulking services.

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