How to Caulk a Shower or Bathtub

Make your bathroom look fresh and new again. Read on to learn how to caulk a shower or tub.

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Introduction

Sooner or later, mold always shows up in bathroom caulking. This article explains how to clean the old caulk out and then recaulk around a shower or tub.

Tools Required

  1. Caulk gun
  2. Oscillating tool
  3. Putty knife
  4. Rags
  5. Razor scraper
  6. Utility knife

Materials Required

  1. Caulk containing mold and mildew prevention additives
  2. Caulk remover
  3. Masking tape
  4. Mineral spirits
  5. Paper towels

For a Visual Walkthrough of How to Wire a 3-Way Light Switch, Watch this Video:

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Photo 1: Cut and peel the old caulk

  • Slice through the caulk along the walls with a utility knife or with an oscillating tool equipped with a flexible scraper blade.
  • Then use your knife or tool to scrape along the tub or shower floor.

Cutting off old caulkFamily Handyman

Step 2

Photo 2: Loosen and remove the remaining caulk.

  • Squirt caulk remover on all the remaining caulk and let it do the hard work.
  • Then scrape off all the old caulk with a razor scraper.
  • Wipe with a rag.

Loosening old caulkFamily Handyman

Step 3

Clean the Bare Tiles and Grout

  • Once the old caulk is gone, remove any loose grout between the walls and the tub or shower floor.
  • Treat any mold in the grout along the wall/tub gap with a mold-killing product.
  • Scrub the grout and then rinse off the mold killer with water and let it dry.
    • Use a hair dryer to speed the drying.
  • Clean the surfaces one last time with mineral spirits. Let dry.

Step 4

Photo 3: Mask the gap

  • Mask the wall corner gaps first.
    • Start by finding the largest gap between the tub/shower and the walls. That gap dictates how far apart you must space the two rows of tape. 
  • Then apply tape to the walls above the tub or shower floor.
  • Finish by applying tape to the tub or shower floor.

Taping before caulkingFamily Handyman

Step 5

Photo 4: Cut, push and apply

  • Cut the nozzle tip to match the gap width.
  • Hold the gun at a 90-degree angle to the gap and push a bead of caulk slightly ahead of the nozzle as you push the gun forward and continue applying pressure.
  • Apply only enough caulk to fill the gap.
    • Our experts prefer cutting the caulk tube nozzle at a blunt 20-degree angle, instead of 45 degrees. And they hold the gun at a 90-degree angle to the gap while pushing a small bead ahead of the tip.

Applying caulkFamily Handyman

Step 6

Photo 5: Tool with your finger

  • Wet your finger with water and start at an outer corner.
  • Wipe your finger across the caulk to create a rounded bead and remove excess caulk from the gap.

Smoothing caulkFamily Handyman

Step 7

Photo 6: Peel off the tape

  • Lift a corner of the tape along the tub and pull it off at a steep angle while the caulk is still wet.
  • Then remove the tape along the wall.
  • Remove the tape from the wall corners last.
    • Remove the tape while the caulk is still wet.

Peeling tapeFamily Handyman