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How to Caulk a Bathtub or Shower: Cincinnati Home Maintenance

As beautiful as a master bath can be, it can also be one of the most problematic places in our home. Nowhere else in a house does water have so many ways to end up in the wrong place. One common reason water damage occurs in bathrooms is shower or bathtub seals that are worn or applied improperly. This is a common cause of wood rot. If you’re wondering how to caulk a bathtub or shower, there are a lot of how-to’s available. Unfortunately, many of them don’t give the best advice for a novice who wants an effective and attractive result. If that describes you, follow the steps below. You’ll get a great result for just a little extra time and money.

Now, if you don’t have the time or patience for a project like this, that’s no big deal. Just hail a “Home Repair Hero!” You won’t have to worry about how to caulk a bathtub or shower. Our craftsmen would love to help protect your drywall and subfloor with a quality bath or shower caulk job.

How to Caulk a Bathtub or Shower

Step 1:


Using a plastic putty knife or caulk removal tool, remove all existing caulk from the area of interest. Be careful to not scratch tile or porcelain surfaces.

Step 2:

Clean the area to be caulked with warm water. Dry with a clean towel, and wipe with denatured alcohol.

Step 3:

Counter to some suggestions, do not use masking tape to provide a “straight line” when caulking. Removing the tape can create a lip under which water can enter. This can shorten the life of the seal.

Step 4: 


If possible, fill the bathtub 1/4 to 1/2 full. The weight of the water will expand the joint to be sealed, ensuring the caulk won’t pull away due to the introduction of body weight or that of the water.

Step 5: 

Using a knife or razor blade, carefully cut the tip of your silicone kitchen and bath caulk. The opening should be roughly the size of the bead you wish to apply.

Step 6:

Using constant pressure, apply the caulk using your caulk gun. Run the application away from you, rather than pulling the gun towards you. This ensures a tight seal against the seam.

Step 7:

Before “tooling” your bead of caulk, do not spray the area with window cleaner or ammonia as some might suggest. While this is meant to keep the caulk from sticking to areas to which you don’t want it to stick, it can also get behind your caulk bead. This will prevent the caulk from sticking to the seam as intended.

Step 8:

I know, everyone says use your finger. For a professional, this may work great. For a homeowner it can present two problems. First, “tooling” your bead of caulk with your finger can spread it beyond the area intended. Secondly, The concave nature of your finger creates a thinner bead, meaning it will wear out more easily. Instead, use a caulk tool to create an even, 45° finished bead along the seam. Clean the caulk tool with a dry paper towel if an excess of caulk builds up.

Step 9:

Drain the water from the tub, and allow the caulk to cure for 24 hours before allowing it to get wet.

How to Caulk a Bathtub or Shower: Cincinnati Home Maintenance

If you follow these steps, you should be in great shape for years to come. If re-sealing your bathtub or shower isn’t the job for you, though, just contact ProMaster. We take care of issues like this everyday, so you know we can complete the job the right way the first time!

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