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bsippl 08-17-2008 04:45 PM

Grout before Caulk around bathtub?
I have tile on the walls around my bathtub and the caulk between the tub and tiles started to get tears in it. The builder told me that I need to fill the tub with water and re-caulk it so I got some caulk remover today and started on it.
The caulk came off pretty easy but then I noticed that there is grout behind it which also had tears in it. It actually seemed like there was only a thin layer of caulk in some places.
Now before I start re-caulking do I need to replace the grout or can I just remove it? The grout fell out in some places and in others it's still attached, but the tears appear to be everywhere in it. It does not make much sense to me to put grout there if the area can expand, but I know nothing about this.

Thanks in advance.

Termite 08-17-2008 04:55 PM

Caulk shouldn't be tearing and it shouldn't come out easily. Are you using 100% silicone bathroom caulk? 100% silicone will move a reasonable amount and won't tear.

The grout...If new....Shouldn't be coming loose. When properly done, grout shouldn't fall out for a very long time, if ever. You're right that you shouldn't grout areas that could move, such as corners. Those places should be caulked.

Both of these problems make me suspicious that there's an underlying problem. Is this a brand new install or something that is a few years old?

JayBird 08-17-2008 04:57 PM

If it were me, I would just caulk it. The tub is probably expanding as it is filled and emptied with water therefore the grout will always crack. Caulk will handle the expansion.

bsippl 08-17-2008 05:23 PM

The caulk was easy to remove after applying a caulk remover for 2 hours. The house was build about 2 years ago, and yes, it is silicone based caulk.

I also just noticed that in some spots the grout was sticking out so when I removed the caulk I also removed some grout. Maybe they only used a thin layer of caulk to cover the grout. I am also thinking that maybe the tears I saw in the caulk are actually tears in the grout.

Is there anything I have to watch for when taking out the grout or reapplying the caulk?

Also, in a lot of places the grout is still attached to the tile and does not come off, should I just leave those pieces where they are and caulk the rest or remove everything?


Leoskee 08-19-2008 06:45 AM

Definitely caulk! I just had my upstairs bathroom redone and the contractor grouted around the tub. Boy was that a mess. Slowly but surely the grout started to crack around the jacuzzi tub. A crack here and a crack there. Next think I knew I had water leaking down to the second floor.

I chipped out all of the grout and caulked with 100% silicone. Problem solved.

I learned the hardway that the contractor was an idiot.

ccarlisle 08-19-2008 07:34 AM

The conventional wisdom is to put caulk where there is a change of plane i.e. where, say, a floor meets a wall or where there is expansion around a full tub of water. I would remove both grout and caulk, then recaulk...

buletbob 08-19-2008 08:57 AM

The reason for the cracks is most likely because the house is new. the house dried out, lumber shrank in size including the wall cleat that should of been installed under the lip of the tub. this is all norm. if you go to a tile supply center you can get color matched caulking to match your grout color, they come in sanded or unsanded types. depending on the width of the grout line. clean out all the loose grout clean area to be grouted wipe clean. what I would do being your a DYI. is take painters tape and mask along the tub and wall and up the inside corners of the walls. I always match the caulk line to the grout line. unless the space is wider along the tub. press the tape firmly in place. then caulk by pushing the caulking gun in the forward direction, this way the caulking will be pushed into the grout joints. then wet your finger and run it down along the joint. then remove the tape right after you run your finger. other wise you will have a little skim line left on the tile and tub. Just some add info GOOD LUCK BOB.

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