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Old 03-18-2012, 05:33 AM   #1
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Questions about caulking changes of plane in a tiled tub surround?


Hi guys, just grouted my tiled tub surround in my bathroom and I left all changes of plane without grout so I can caulk them... as caulk seems to be recommended for changes of plane. I have a couple of questions though. I grouted my tile in the tub surround with ivory colored sanded grout from Mapei. My gaps are 3/16 inch.

1) First, the caulk that Mapei sells to match the ivory grout is called Keracaulk Sanded Siliconized Acrylic Caulk. What worries me is that it says it is not for use in areas prone to constant water exposure. Some of my changes of plane are in a niche that is built into an area that will receive a great amount of water spray (I know this is a no no for niche building, but the niche looked best there and I did waterproof it with RedGard to be safe), so will this caulk be fine for these areas that will receive quite a bit of water during showering? Or should I just grout the changes of plane here instead?

2) Do you always use 100% silicone in all areas of a shower or tub surround? I was wondering if I could use siliconized caulk, or acrylic latex caulk in parts of my tub surround? Like where the tile meets the ceiling? I’m assuming that where the tub meets the tile surround, you would only use 100% silicone… but maybe where two tiled walls meet in the surround you may use other types of caulk.

3) Third question is regarding the debate between caulk and grout for changes of plane. I know that caulk is generally recommended for changes of plane because it allows for movement more than grout, and thus should not crack, and it is more water resistant. However, it looks like caulk can crack too from what I have read online, but maybe not as easily as grout. In addition, caulk can be a real pain in the A## to remove (especially silicone), and if you have a tub surround you're supposed to annually remove and recaulk your tub. Whereas grout doesn't really need to be regrouted unless it cracks or gets super dirty, which may not happen for years. Wouldn't it make more sense to just grout for changes of plane, and then hope it takes years to crack, in which case you then just regrout? Or is it really more beneficial to caulk? If you're in the PRO-CAULK camp, can you maybe explain why you prefer it?

4) Last question, do you guys ever grout your changes of plane first to fill in the space, and then caulk over the grout here? I know that grout is supposed to breathe, but grouting first would reduce the amount of caulk you have to inject to fill the gaps.

Thanks in advance

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Old 03-18-2012, 07:43 AM   #2
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Questions about caulking changes of plane in a tiled tub surround?


Best to keep grout out of the places to be caulked---

I use silicone---many here hate the stuff and use the acrylics--It works for me.

When applying silicone remember this--silicone will stick to any clean dry surface---
It will not stick to a wet soapy surface---

I apply the silicons (starting at the bottom) then spray the wet silicone with Greased Lightning (or 409)

Spray finger----'tool' the silicone with the finger--removing any excess to a paper towel.

Neat--fast----practice a bit before tackling the 'show' project.

Let me know how it worked for you.

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Old 03-18-2012, 11:39 PM   #3
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Questions about caulking changes of plane in a tiled tub surround?


Thanks so much! Your information helped me out a ton, I always appreciate it! Looks good, and I used a bit of masking tape to make the edges neat. Thanks again!
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