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6 Steps to Caulking Your Shower

Keeping your bathroom looking new requires ongoing bathroom maintenance throughout the year. From deep cleanings to replacing fixtures, there are plenty of ways to spruce up your bathroom.

One way to get your shower looking new again is to apply a new caulk. Over time, mold and dirt build beneath the caulk, making it look dingy and dull. Updating this is fairly simple and can be done in a single afternoon. Gather the below tools and follow these steps to a refreshed, sparkling shower.

What You’ll Need

A few simple tools and products are all it takes to make this bathroom repair. For this project you will need:

Step 1: Choose Your Caulk

Choose a latex or silicone caulk to apply to your shower. One of these is great, but if you can find a caulk that is made of both latex and silicone, that's the ideal choice. This formula combines the water-resistance of silicone with the flexibility of latex. However, if you can only find a latex or silicone caulk, that's fine. You do need a caulk that is designed specifically for use in bathrooms and kitchens to avoid any issues.

Step 2: Remove Current Caulk

Removing the current caulk can be time consuming and will involve scraping the entire area until it is rid of all old caulk. The more time and diligence you devote to this step, the better your final product will be.

Using a utility knife, cut gently through the caulk. Take your time scraping around the floor of the shower and along the shower edges. It is possible you will need to go over the area a few times. This is completely normal, so just be patient and continue scraping.

Step 3: Clean Away Mold and Dirt

Once the area is rid of all the old caulk, you must clean your shower to provide a smooth, dirt-free surface for the new caulk. It’s time to get rid of any built up mold or dirt. Your best bet is to use a mold-killing solution that is safe for showers and tubs, which you can find in a hardware or home-improvement store.

Once you saturate the area, start scrubbing! Mold typically comes off easily. Clean until there is no mold present. Next, dry the area completely. A final step in the cleaning process that gives an extra clean to the surface is to wipe it with mineral spirits. Once dry, your area is ready for the next step.

Step 4: Apply Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape can be used to line the area that will be caulked. Painter’s tape will also work as a guide or outline of where you will apply the new caulk, ensuring the application is done in an even line around the entirety of the area. This provides a smooth, polished appearance for your shower.

Start by placing the painter's tape around the gaps you intend to caulk. Painter's tape is easy to remove, so just press it firmly into place. When lining the area, be sure to bring the tape at the largest gap between the wall and the shower.

Step 5: Apply New Caulk

Now that the prep work is done, you can begin caulking. The act of applying the new caulk using the caulking gun is not difficult, but it takes a steady arm and some patience.

Hold the caulking gun at a firm 90 degree angle. Start by placing the caulking gun at the largest gap in the shower. Next, press down slowly, keeping the gun at the 90 degree angle. Let a small bead of caulk release from the gun ahead of its tip. Glide the gun along the surface of the shower and continue pressing gently, allowing the caulking to expel slowly. Repeat this process around the entire area until complete.

Step 6: Wipe Down and Smooth the Area

Congrats! You have successfully applied the new caulking. Now you will remove the painter’s tape very slowly, starting at the corners. Once all of the tape is removed, use a small, damp cloth to wipe and smooth the newly applied caulking. Smoothing the caulk ensures it is all resting at the same height and not bumpy or ridged.

Job Well Done!

Stand and admire your hard work! But you're not ready to shower just yet. Let the shower sit for a full 24 hours to properly dry and set. Wetting the area before it is fully dried will ruin all of your hard work. So be patient and let it dry as long as you can.

After 24 hours, do a touch test to see if the caulk is dried. If it's tacky, give it more time. Once it's fully dried, you can use your shower and enjoy your clean, sparkling bathroom.

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