Something that every home owner should learn to do is caulk. Proper caulking can be your first defense against water intrusion. Whether you are caulking a tub or shower the hardest part of the whole job is cleaning out the old caulk. The newer silicone caulks work best and will last for years if installed properly. Improperly caulked tub and shower fixtures are something that I come across on most home inspections. A little caulk can go a long way in preventing water and moisture damage in the bathroom.
Remove the old caulk with a scrapper or razor blade and then clean the area with any good household cleaner. It is very important to have the caulking area squeaky clean. The caulk won’t adhere to a dirty surface.
Wipe down the cleaned area with denatured alcohol before applying the new caulk. The alcohol does a good job of removing any soap or chemical residue allowing the caulk to really adhere to the surface and seal it.
The type of caulk used is important. I prefer the silicone type caulks over the latex or water based products. They can be purchased in caulk tubes or a smaller, handy squeeze tube. I like the squeeze tubes because they can be sealed with a cap and are less prove to drying out and being wasted if you don’t use it all at once.
The secret of having the job look like a professional installation is to not apply excess caulk. This takes some practice, but a steady squeeze and rate of application will give you great results. Sometimes if I don’t get a spot just right, I wet my finger and gently blend the caulk across the entire length of the bead.
Let the caulk dry per manufacturers recommendations before using the tub or shower and then call all your friends to come over and see the great job you did. Be sure to take pictures!