Avoid Bathroom Water Damage by Maintaining Tub and Shower Caulk Joints
Your bathroom walls endure a lot of pressure on a daily basis. Your shower and tub wall joints will periodically experience eroding, mildewing, or cracked caulking, since those joints are constantly getting wet and the seams of your shower experience expansion and contraction of walls due to changes in temperature and humidity. Maintaining these joints is relatively quick and inexpensive, and a crucial step in avoiding possible water damage to your walls due to cracked caulk or leaking joints.
To avoid costly damage, re-caulk your shower or tub joints as soon as cracks appear. Caulk is used to keep water from building up, under, or around the tiles at joints between tiles and the tub or shower, as well as on joints were walls meet. Caulk works as a strong glue and a flexible sealant. Caulk can crack, leak, and become discolored from mildew.
When re-caulking your shower or tub, plan to do the entire job at once, as stopping mid-job will leave openings for water and mildew growth.
Follow these steps when re-caulking your tub or shower:
Allow the tub and shower area to dry completely.
Remove old caulk using a plastic putty knife or razor. Scrape out all the old loose caulk, and if necessary, use a chemical for caulk softening and removal as directed by the manufacturer. Repeat until the joint is open and there is absolutely no caulk or residue on the wall surface or fixtures. Be meticulous.
Clean off any soap scum and, if necessary, use a product to kill mildew spores
Dry out the joints and surfaces using a hair dryer.
Once the area is dry, apply the caulk and fill the joint completely. Use a caulk gun for big projects or a small, plastic tube of caulk works just fine as well. Make sure to only use caulk designated for tub and tile use, as this type of caulk is made for mildew resistance.
Smooth the joint using the wetted tip of your finger. If you dson't want to use your finger, use a plastic straw or a plastic caulk-smoothing tool. Smooth the line immediately after you lay it.
Once the caulk is dry, use a utility knife and soft cloth to cut and smooth away any excess caulking.
Wait at least 12 hours, or as long as is indicated on the caulk label, before using the tub or shower.
When maintaining your home to avoid potentially costly repairs, look no further than Harvey W. Hottel Inc., the family-owned plumbing and HVAC expert based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Harvey W. Hottel serves the entire Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC metropolitan areas, delivering expert heating and air conditioning, plumbing, duct cleaning, and geothermal services.