Recaulking Bathtub for bathroom

7 Replies

So I have just brought this duplex, my first DIY project is recaulking this bath tub. Towards the middle the gap between the tub and the Tile was getting significantly bigger then a quarter inch. I was trying to figure out what to fill in the gap with before caulking ? I read a foam backer rod could help I just wanted to hear from people with more experience than me lol.

You want a good amount of caulk but this is a very large gap so yes, foam backer rod would be appropriate. Get a couple different sizes to make sure you have what you need. Also get the appropriate caulk for the job. (Home Depot has about 40 different kinds) You want one with a lot of silicone in it for water exposure.

fwiw, what you fill the crack with doesn't really matter all that much as it's just a way to keep from needing so much caulk. The whole gap could be caulked but it may take a couple tubes.

Foam backer rod, definitely.

And if this is your first time caulking, use blue painters tape along the tile and the tub. Caulk in between the two strips and smooth it.

When you pull the tape off, you’ll have much cleaner lines!

Originally posted by @Jill F. :

ask @Jim K.

LOL. Jill.

@Paiea Palomanu

Watch this video -- BP moderators, this is an Ask This Old House clip. US public television. One of the few things my tax dollars have helped pay for that I agree is a wise expenditure.

How to Caulk Around a Bathtub - Ask This Old House

A few things I would like to point out to add to the video:

1. Feel free to try a variety of razor scrapers to get the old caulk off, as the video hints at but only shows a straight single-edge razor in use. It's extra important here to use fresh new razor and/or utility blades here.

2. Use a fresh new previously plastic-wrapped roll of the premium 3M blue tape for this, or use new green Frog Tape sealed in its package. It can be tempting to try to use cheaper dollar-store "blue tape" for this, or an old role of regular masking tape, or something else. You'll very likely regret it.

3. Use that 100% silicone caulk,a s mentioned in the video. I always use the GE light red stuff marked for tub and tile. Cheapest 100% silicone caulk there is in the store works great. On this tile and tub, clear will look better than white, the only two real choices. Don't try for any sort of colored caulk for this application.

4. BUY THE BEST CAULKING GUN YOU CAN. You do not want the cheap one. You do not want the electric one. You want the one that the guy in the store points at when you ask for the best manual gun, even though it going to seem overpriced for what it is.

5. Cut fifteen paper towels into single sheets beforehand and get them ready to wipe your finger on as you work. As you work and wipe, fold each one up and throw it away immediately in an open garbage receptacle you have ready. Be prepared to "waste" a lot of paper towels doing this, an irresponsible amount. 100% silicone caulk is extremely sticky and slimy, and you have to keep your finger clean as you work. If you try to conserve paper towels in this application, it can get very messy.

6. Pay attention to how they pull the tape off in the video, away from the caulking as they go. It's tempting to try to rip off both strips at once. Don't do it.

Now, as regards what's been said here in the forums so far:

1. Theoretically, you could use foam backing in this situation. But don't. Just use more caulk here. Foam backing is really useful in a lot of applications, but for this, it's better to fill the whole void with silicone caulk. @John Teachout 's absolutely correct on this.

2. As you see in the video, for an interior bathroom application like this with 100% silicone caulk, painter's tape is almost always a must, as @Mike McCarthy points out.

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