Properly resealing your bathtub is an essential finishing touch to your bathroom. If left unattended issues can arise from unwanted mildew and mold growth, and even structural issues can arise in the adjacent walls, if water damage is not taken care of. This project will not take you long to complete. In fact, the actual sealing of the tub is quick and painless, but the prep time and cleaning is a bit laborious. This is best suited for a weekend project.
Remove Old Caulking
You will first need to remove all of the old cracked and damaged caulking. Use a flathead screwdriver, putty knife, razor blade, or any other tool which will allow you to pry, scrape, and chisel the old calking out. Take considerable care to not chip, crack, or score any of the surfaces the caulking is bonded to, i.e. the bathtub or surrounding tile.
Clean the Area
After the old caulking is removed begin thoroughly cleaning the area. A good bathroom-cleaning agent such as Kaboom or Simple Green, will be adequate for the job. Using a stiff bristled scrub brush and a sponge you want to make sure that the area where you will put the new seal caulking is completely free of debris. This will ensure a good strong seal. Completely dry the area after you have finished your cleaning efforts.
If you are nervous about keeping a nice straight line on your seal, go ahead and line the area where you will put the caulk with two strips of painter’s tape. Run one along the vertical plain, and one along the horizontal (the wall and the tub). The gap will be the size of the caulking seal. Cut your calking tip on angle to aid application. The smaller the hole the better at first. You can always make it bigger if need be. If you are using a caulking gun, load in the canister at this time. Either way, lay down a bead of the caulk in between the two pieces of tape, along the desired sealing point. Go back over the bead with your finger and press it into the seam. Remove the tape prior to the caulk drying, and you should be left with a nice solid and straight seam. Repeat the tape, bead of caulk, and finger press as needed, until all sides of the tub are sealed properly.
If you are using a sealer tape instead of caulk, follow the seam between the tub and the wall, and press the tape gently as you make your way around the tub. Avoid wrinkles or tears, as this will marginalize the tape’s effectiveness, especially around corners. When you reach the end, cut the tape with a razor blade, and firmly press it into the seam, to complete the job.
Take your time with the cleaning of the mating surfaces as this is truly one of the most critical steps. If the areas are not properly cleaned and dried, the surfaces will not hold the caulking or the tape. Allow the caulking or tape to cure for several hours prior to its first exposure to water. Then, enjoy your resealed bathtub!