The Best Caulking Practices for Your Old Bathroom
Updated on June 4, 2021 | by Austin
A home and its different corners require timely repair and renovation to avoid any serious damage to the property and features. It is particularly relevant for an older home or a house you inhabit for more than five or six years. If it sounds strange, you can inspect your bathroom. A lot of the time, people don’t notice areas or things they use frequently. So, you don’t have to worry about it. But did you see broken caulking around the sink, tub, toilet, and other areas? Since it saves fixtures from water damage, you cannot allow the caulking to disappear or crack. You can wear your DIY hat to take the matter in control.
Suppose you bought an undermount bowl for the bathroom countertop a few years back. It instantly changed the entire ambiance of the sink area. But signs of overuse may have started showing up through the condition of the cracking caulk. You may wonder what you should do. The first thought can be sink replacement. While a new bathroom sink doesn’t hurt, you can continue with the existing one if it is alright, though caulking is not intact anymore. In that case, it makes more sense to focus on the caulking and save money. However, this job demands precision and full attention. Here are some tips to help you with this.
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Buy New Caulk and a Caulking Tool
You will get many varieties in this at any regular home improvement store also. However, it would be best if you focused on products suitable for bathroom use. Or, a waterproof formulation that can fight mold, mildew, and bacteria can also be helpful. Experts say that go with something featuring latex or silicone. These can seal better combating wet conditions. Some people lean toward latex for ease of use. If you want to get the best of both, opt for a mixture of silicone and latex.
You can caulk the gaps with a tube. But using a caulk gun can be more advantageous. It will make this job less tiring and quick. With this tool, you can control the flow of the caulk, giving your fixtures a nice touch. Usually, caulk guns come with a plunger and a thumb pressure release. While the plunger releases the caulk, the other function allows you to check the flow. You get these devices for a somewhat lower price. Hence, it will not be a burden on your pocket.
Prepare the Affected Area
You will want to ensure that your work area is ready before you set out for this task. As a precaution, you can use painter’s tape to demarcate sections that need caulking from the plumbing fittings, such as sink, tub, shower, etc. It is a critical step if you wish to give your bathroom a professional look. Using lengthy tape strips to cover the surface can be wise. However, make sure the surface is not wet. Caulking bonds well in dry and neat spaces.
Be Careful with Wide Gaps
When you apply a bead of caulk around any surface, you have to pay attention to the gap that you try to fill. It cannot be more than a quarter-inch wide and half-inch deep. Wider apertures would need backing materials to let the caulk settle down in the opening.
Use Proper Application Technique
After putting the painter’s tape, you can continue to push the caulk out of your caulking gun until you see some of it coming out. It would help if you did not release the pressure while you line the aperture with it. You have to apply the same amount of force throughout the gap, tracking it with your gun.
It would be better to start from a corner by applying a single bead covering almost half the crack’s distance. Then, you can again begin from the opposite corner, arriving in the middle where you had stopped. It is not a rule, though. You can work around it the way you feel most comfortable. However, at the end of the job, you can move your wet finger on the bead of caulking to get rid of anything extra. Don’t forget to take off the painter’s tape when the caulk is still moist, and you have done your job.
Avoid the Temptation of Adding New Caulk Over Old Caulk
Many people make the mistake of applying new caulk on the cracked one. But it will not allow it to bond well and lead to cracking and leaks. Your bathroom will again become vulnerable to water damage as a consequence. That’s why it is necessary to eliminate the old caulking with a suitable caulk remover and a putty knife.
Wait for the Caulk to Dry
It can be challenging to stay away from your bathroom for a long time. But you have to let your caulking cure. Otherwise, it can quickly get damaged. Since wet surfaces don’t allow the caulk to settle down, you have to avoid entering your bathroom for at least 24 hours. If any amount of water manages to penetrate the caulking, your whole effort will have no meaning.
These bathroom repair and renovation projects require a bit of elbow grease and lots of attention. If you are a genuine DIY person, you may not mind the amount of energy caulking job involves. But the same thing can become an enormous headache without proper skills and intention. Since you cannot ignore certain things for too long, you can consider taking professional help. Get local contractors for this job. They possess all the knowledge, tools, and experience for these types of tasks. So, you can trust them.
Nevertheless, caulking is just one part. Sometimes, you may have to replace the entire plumbing fixture also for better performance. These decisions can be a little expensive. Hence, you would want to wait for the right opportunity. But smaller things don’t have to wait for the correct time. It may not be suitable too. So, try to fix them as quickly as possible. If you leave everything like that, you may put yourself in a tricky situation.