If you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that I attempted to re-caulk our tub during the January Cure and for a whole week, or so, it looked pretty good.
After that, it didn’t look so hot.
I think it was a combination of not letting the caulk properly dry before using the shower and not prepping the surface correctly in the first place. Sadly, we’ve been living with it for the last six months which can’t be good for the original 1956 tub and tile. With the long fourth of July weekend, I finally had a chance to take care of the caulk. I knew it was going to be a multi-day project and needed a chunk of time where we didn’t have a bunch of other stuff going on. J’s parents hosted a big cook-out, so our house was free from entertaining and other activity which was a bonus.
Here are the products I used.
1. Motsenbocker’s Lift Off
2. Used gift cards and an expired credit card
3. GE Supreme Silicone caulk for kitchen and bath in white
After much research, I decided to go with a silicone caulk this time around even though I’d read that it’s harder to work with than the latex. I wanted to make sure I was getting a really good seal that was going to last a long time. I was determined to get it right this go-around so I watched a plethora of Youtube videos on how to properly remove the old caulk and apply the new. I was also using a caulking gun for the first time, which made me a little nervous. I found of couple of the videos to be very helpful. This one from Ace is a good overview if you’ve never done this project before. My tip would be to follow his advice regarding using painters tape, which I should have done, but didn’t, and now regret.
I was able to pull-up a lot of the old caulk in long strips but some of it was really stuck.For those areas I used the Motsenbocker’s Lift Off which I liberally applied and let sit for 5 minutes. I then used the old gift cards as a scraper to remove the stuck bits. This stuff worked really well although it is very stinky in such an enclosed space. I had our fan running and the windows open for as much ventilation as possible.
After all the caulk was removed, I cleaned the entire shower from top to bottom using one of my kids’ old battery operated toothbrushes in the grout. I wanted to make sure that everything was super clean so the caulk would have the best possible chance of adhering to the tub/tile. Once I was finished, J drug the dehumidifier upstairs from the basement and we plugged it into the bathroom. Not only did I want everything super clean, I wanted it to be super dry. I wasn’t taking any chances this time.
After allowing everything to get good and dry overnight, I was ready to start the actual caulking. Since I had never used a caulking gun before, I again turned to Youtube and found some good instruction.
I loaded my gun with the silicone tube, cut the tip of the tube to 1/8 inch and went around the entire tub. I would lay a bead of the silicone, dip my finger in a mixture of water and Dawn dish detergent (washing-up liquid, as they say in the UK) and smooth it into the crack, wiping the excess on a paper towel as I went, using the method demonstrated below.
After I finished the caulking, I attempted to use the Dupont grout sealer on the grout. I say “attempted” because it didn’t really work. The sealer ran down the tile, didn’t penetrate the grout and was pretty much a mess. I gave up on that after about 30 minutes of frustration. The grout itself is pretty intact and stable, so I’m not super concerned about sealing it. I just figured that I would do it since I was already in the middle of the whole caulking project anyway, but that squeeze bottle applicator doesn’t really work on walls. I get the feeling it’s better suited to floors. So once I cleaned-up the grout sealer mess, I plugged-in the dehumidifier and let it go overnight. The caulk package states “fully cured in 24 hours”, so that’s how long we waited before we used the shower. Thankfully J’s parents live super close, so we took showers at their house while the bathtub was out of order.
Here is the finished project:
It’s okay but it’s not great. I wanted to do a nice job and I think it’s an overall okay job but definitely not professional-looking, which is what I was going for even though I’m not a professional. I have lofty goals. As I stated above, if I were going to do this again I would follow the advice in the first video and tape it all off. Yes, it’s an extra step but I think my lines would have been much cleaner if I’d done so. Oh well, lesson learned.
I even did the outside of the tub along the floor for good measure.
So far, everything seems to be holding-up. Of course, only time will tell and if that should change, I’ll be sure to let you know. Mainly I think I’ve accomplished what I wanted in the first place, which is to protect my beautiful original blue tub and tile work. It was one of the first things I loved about this house and I hope it stays here for many more years to come.
What about you? Did you get any big chores done this weekend? Share!