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Old 11-05-2013, 07:34 PM   #1
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Bathtub caulking technique?

Where the tile meets the tub, that thick line needs to be recaulked every few years. This year, I used 2 strips of masking tape to make a nice straight line. I spread the caulk with my finger, and it looked nice and smooth. But, after a minute, I peeled the tape, and it created a "lip" on the still wet caulk. The edge of the caulk started to peel with the tape. So, I smoothed it again with my finger, but without the tape it smeared it a bit. I was able to razor blade the excess the next day, but it wasn't great.

So, I did it over.

The next time I did it, I decided to wait a little bit. And I really made sure to smooth off ALL the excess before I pulled the tape. This time, I waited more like 10 mins, when the caulk was more dry before I peeled the tape. This time, peeling the tape did not ruin and pull the caulk edge. It did just a little in a few spots, but the caulk was still wet enough to smooth over with my finger. This was good enough.

What is the ideal caulk technique?


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Old 11-05-2013, 09:07 PM   #2
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Tub should have been 1/2 full of water.
There can not be any old caulking where the new is going.
The area has to be perfectly clean and dry, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry.
Biggest mistake people make is applying to much caulk. Why have to wipe 1/2 of it off?
I personally do not use tape for all the reasons your mentioning, just my finger or a tool made for apply caulk.
Your try to fill the gap there's no need for it to be all over the tub and wall.


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Old 11-05-2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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I'm always using a sanded caulk and I hit it with a wet finger first to force it into the joint and finish it somewhat, then I complete the "finish" with a sponge.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:40 PM   #4
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First thing is to not tape it. Run a small bead and then spray the area with denatured alcohol before you wipe it with your finger. The silicone bead will not smear at all. Instead of just doing one or two big swipes with your finger to remove the excess, do 20 or 30 small wipes cleaning your finger off as you go. Kind of roll your finger as you are going so you don't build up a big pile that you will just push along.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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I agree with this guy.
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Most people push way too hard. You only want to use enough force to shape it. It only bonds to two surfaces at a time, that's why you see those foam backing rods for larger gaps. It can't bond to the foam, only the two sides of the gap. Same thing applies here: you're joining the tub to the tile, not the tub, tile, and corner. Did that make sense?

Edit: I saw your other thread. If you want a more permanent solution, buy a tube of sikaflex 1a. It's professional grade and will likely outlast YOU.

Last edited by M_bisson; 11-10-2013 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:06 AM   #7
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I used to use the tape method and had the same issues you did. After getting some experience, I now skip the tape and keep a wet rag in one hand while smoothing it down with a finger on the other hand. The key (as mentioned in this thread) is not to apply too much caulk. The wet rag keeps your finger clean and creates a nice slippery surface on your fingertip to smooth out the bead.


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