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Old 01-31-2006, 08:16 AM   #1
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Bathroom Caulk/Mildew Removal


We recently purchased our first home, and the previous owner's mistakes that came along with it.

One bathroom has ceramic tile and grout around the bathtub. The previous owners had a pretty bad mildew problem with the grout. Of course, we know the proper way to handle a persistent mildew problem in grout - cut out the grout, wash with diluted bleach and a fungicide, re-grout the tile. However, this solution must have escaped the previous owners.

Instead, they caulked over all of the grout lines with silicone caulk. Now, there's a giant silicone caulk grid bordering the bathtub. We're not talking a small bead of caulk, either, it's at least 1/4" wide. The mildew, of course, has grown right back through discoloring the caulk and tiles.

I'm confident that if I can remove all of the caulk, I can saw and pick out the grout, bleach out the tiles, and put in new grout. However, I'm also confident that if I don't remove all of the caulk, there will be problems in grouting.

I'm having a problem removing the caulk. I've used a scraper, grout brush, razor blade, and steel wool pads. Touching the edges of the tile and grout lines still feels "rubbery". What is the best way to remove silicone caulk in this instance?

I'm almost ready to lock up the bathroom door and just say "forget it" until I'm able to save enough money to knock out the tile, put in a new backerboard, and buy new tile.

Please help before the rest of my hair falls out! :confused:

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Old 01-31-2006, 08:24 AM   #2
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Bathroom Caulk/Mildew Removal


I bought a rotary from Canadian Tire recently which they are on sale($59.99). I saw the manual they come with a kit for removing grout, I don't know if they will work for caulk too, they do have all sort of other types of accessories which should have one type suitable for removing caulk. I haven't tried one myself but wil. Just let you know as I don't know when I will try because I am so busy renovating my basement now. If you are going to try it, please let us know how it goes as well.

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Old 02-01-2006, 08:10 AM   #3
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Bathroom Caulk/Mildew Removal


And it does work, nothing get into its way with max speed 35000 rpm, although you should use lower speed as the caulking stuff are kind of soft, no need so fast, I tried using flat screw driver before, it is a pain comparing to rotary tool which is kind of effort-less. Although you still need to take the time as the tool is quite pointy which can only handle a small area at a time. I spend aprox. 10 minutes and basically done the first round, I will do that again tomorrow and should be done after that.

Therefore, please go get such tool, hopefully, CT still have it on sale, I got a 250 pieces set for 60 bucks. One of the best purchasing decision I have done.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:59 AM   #4
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Bathroom Caulk/Mildew Removal


Thanks! I do have a Dremel tool that has an available attachment for grout removal. I also have a rotary saw that is much larger/faster than the Dremel. I will invest in the attachment and see how it goes. Would it be possible to "buff" off any silicone residue with a Dremel attachment?
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:17 PM   #5
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Sorry, I am not too good at tools terminology, so I do not know what is Dremel tool, but the grout removal accessory for rotary is basically like a long steel stick approx 1/4 inch in diameter with the top may be 1/8 inch and rough service, it basically can remove anything, more concern I have when operating it is for it to scratch the tile, but I didn't, consider I am the first timer using a rotary, the instruction manual say you should pull the stick towards your body when operating instead of pushing it away from your body to avoid damaging the ceramic tile or bath tub...etc.
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