Recaulking At Previously Silicone-caulked Shower Door Frame - Kitchen & Bath Remodeling - Page 2 - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 01-25-2009, 07:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post

Bleach shouldn't harm plastic. You see, plastics aren't coloured like fabrics, by dying them. Plastics are coloured by adding tiny coloured solid particles to them (called "pigments") while the plastic is still in the molten state. Because each of those pigments is encased in plastic, it is protected from the bleach. This is the reason you can use bleach on "solution dyed" carpets without harming the carpet; because solution dyed carpets get their colour from microscopically small pigments encased inside the plastic carpet pile fibers.

So, I'm not sure if I understand your question. Bleach will no more harm your tub liner than it will harm the plastic bottle it comes in. .
Great info in your posts, but I do have to take exception about using straight bleach on acrylic tub liners/wall systems. If not diluted, bleach can not only harm the acrylic finish, but will void the warranty of some companies.


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Old 01-26-2009, 01:35 AM   #17
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Lemme get some Plexiglas and see what bleach does to it.

"Acrylic" means it's made out of a plastic called "polymethyl methacrylate", which is the stuff Plexiglas and Lucite and Perspex and top quality latex paints are made of. Strong solvents WILL dissolve Plexiglas, but I know for sure that bleach and paint thinner doesn't affect the gloss of good quality latex paints (cuz I use both on walls to remove stains from the paint).

I'll try to get some Plexiglas to torture with bleach and mineral spirits soon, and will report the results.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:35 PM   #18
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Caulk question for Nestor


Thanks for all the info in the previous posts to Obwan. I recaulked my bathtub last week and gave it 3 days to dry before showering. Some of the gaps were pretty large and I felt that I needed to wait longer, even though I used foam backer rod to fill the gaps.

Anyway, I took a bath today and, from that angle, realized that I could see tiny little gaps between the silicone caulk I just applied last week and the bottom edge of the tile. Thes gaps are less than 1/2" inch long at the most and they are less than a fingernail thick. There are only 3 spots on the long edge of the tub.

I know silicone caulk will not stick to cured silicone caulk, so I assume patching these areas is not an option. WIll acrylic bath and kitchen caulk stick to silicone caulk? If not, what do you suggest?
I assume that my only option is to remove and recaulk. I am trying to avoid inconveniencing the entire household for days again so soon. Please let me know if you have suggestions.

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Old 03-28-2009, 10:03 PM   #19
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First of all hats off to Nestor. If there was a Canadian equivalent of "Car Talk" on the topic of Caulking, I'd want you as the host. Here are my 2 cents for when you write the book:

1) When applying the caulk I still see a lot of people new to the job dragging the caulk behind the caulk gun. The key trick is to push the caulk gun forwards to feed the caulk into the gap.
2) On the topic of finger smoothing, I picked up a cheap caulking tool (Canadian, indecently) - it's basically a short handle with a squared off rubber applicator. I am fairly cynical of gadgets like these but I must say it worked well. The result was much smoother and even than using a finger.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:30 AM   #20
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My wife wants me to buy a similar tool called "Pro-Caulk" but I am skeptical.

Nestor I have another question. I want to use colored caulk, tan to be exact. Will the bleach cleaning method have any negative impact on it? I have this picture in my head of tan caulk with white blotches all over it!
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:23 AM   #21
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I have had good luck with using a stainless steel teaspoon, the one that my wife is missing from her set. I use the tip end of the spoon part, I spray a window cleaner on my fingers first, use them to coat the tip of the spoon and drag it backwards, removing any caulk build-up with a rag sprayed with the window cleaner also. This has given me a nice concaved form to the caulk and I keep the spoon in my toolbox. Works for me.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:42 PM   #22
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caulking over caulk

Nestor, thank you for the valuable information. Since you are so educated on caulk, I wonder if you know how to help me solve this dilema -- A window installer inappropriately used OSI Quad caulk, which states it is not recommended for indoor use -- all over the inside and outside of my house full of new windows. I had terrible reactions to the smell for months and it has taken one year to finally MOSTLY dissipate. It still stinks on hot days or when I'm sitting right next to the window. Could the same process you recommended for silicone caulk removal be used in this instance. Or can something like Kilz be painted on over it to stop the smell. I'm so worried about the damage this has already done to our health. Thanks for any input
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:20 PM   #23
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Nestor_Kelebay you are brilliant.

I used your expertise on recaulking a shower this weekend and it worked exactly as you said it would. I would like to get permission to use your advice in a magazine I write for. How can I contact you?

Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post


This post is longer than 10,000 characters, so I had to split it into two posts

Recaulking bathtubs is probably one thing that perplexes more homeowners than any other job. One thing that people should realize is that silicone caulk can be difficult to remove if you don't know how to do it, and NOTHING sticks well to silicone caulk, not even silicone caulk.

It's because people don't know how to remove old silicone caulk COMPLETELY that their new silicone caulk doesn't stick well, and that results on garbage advice being given, like filling the bathtub with water before caulking, which is likely going to result in trying to caulk a wet joint which will yield predictable results. Garbage in, garbage out.

If you remove the old silicone caulk COMPLETELY, the new silicone caulk will stick to both tub and tile like chewing gum to the underside of a church pew.

This post is in 4 parts:
1. How to remove old Silicone caulk
2. What silicone caulk to buy
3. How to place new silicone caulk
4. How to clean mildewed silicone caulk

1. How to remove old silicone caulk:
The way to do this is to first remove as much as you can by mechanical means. This means scraping as much as you can off with a razor, or if you have a fiberglass or acrylic bathtub that may be damaged by a sharp razor, use a Tungsten Carbide paint scraper or a plastic windshield scraper or any other reasonably sharp but relatively soft material that won't damage your fiberglass or acrylic surfaces.

Next, apply a product called "Silicone-Be-Gone" which is made by DAP and can be found in the caulk aisle of most home centers. Silicone-Be-Gone is nothing more than gelled mineral spirits. If you can't locate Silicone-Be-Gone in your area, just buy some mineral spirits (or paint thinner or "solvent" or Varsol), get some strips of paper towel wet with the stuff, drape them over the silicone caulk and cover with Saran Wrap for an hour or two to prevent the paper towel strips from drying out.

Web page showing Silicone-Be-Gone:

Neither Silicone-Be-Gone nor mineral spirits will "dissolve" cured silicone, it will just make the silicone swell up and get much softer so that it can be more easily removed by mechanical means. After letting the Silicone-Be-Gone work for an hour or two, scrape the silicone caulk a second time and you should remove more silicone (that will accumulate on your razor blade or scraper). Apply more Silicone-Be-Gone and spread it with your finger this time so that the warmth softens the gel and you apply a thinner coat.

After leaving that Silicone-Be-Gone sit for another hour or two, scrub the area with a green or white Scotchbrite pad (or the kind sold in grocery stores for scouring pots). The difference between the green and white pads is that the green pads have an abrasive mixed into the plastic before drawing that plastic into a fiber. The white ones are pure nylon fiber which doesn't contain any abrasives. I use the green pads on my enamel steel bathtubs, but I'd probably use a white pad on fiberglass or acrylic tubs to avoid scratching the fiberglass or acrylic material.

After scrubbing with the Scotchbrite pad, clean the Silicone-Be-Gone off with clean water and dry with a cloth or paper towel. If you're using paint thinner, I'd use Simple Green to clean the paint thinner off first, and then rinse the area with clean water. There should be little silicone left, but any that is left will prevent the new silicone caulk from sticking at that spot, so we need a way to confirm that there is ABSOLUTLEY NO residual silicone caulk remaining.

Remember that the Silicone-Be-Gone makes the silicone caulk swell up and get soft. Get a small quantity (a photographic container full is plenty for one bathtub) of a very fine powder (like Portland Cement, drywall joint compound, or probably even normal baking flour would work). Use a small brush to apply that to the area where the silicone caulk was, and then rub the powder with your finger.

If there is any residual silicone caulk remaining, the fine powder will become embedded in it, thereby revealing it's location. If there is no residual silicone caulk, the powder will be wiped cleanly off the tub by your finger.

Mark the spots where the sticking of the powder reveals the existance of silicone caulk with masking tape or something, and redo just those areas again with the Silicone-Be-Gone. You should find that the residual silicone caulk is so soft now that it can be removed even by scraping the surface with a popsicle stick sharpened in a belt sander (or a plastic windshield scraper). Then, check those areas again with the fine powder.
Once the powder doesn't stick anywhere, let the area dry and start putting the new caulk on. Maybe wipe down the area where the silicone caulk was with mineral spirits (paint thinner) and allow to dry. It will evaporate completely without leaving a residue, so there's no need to clean again.

2. What Silicone caulk to buy:
Silicone caulks come in different price ranges. The more expensive caulks will contain more mildewcide, which means that the caulk will be more resistant to attack by mildew. I personally have found that Dow Corning's "786" silicone caulk is better in that respect than DAP "Titanium II" silicone caulk. If you're buying GE silicone caulk, pay a bit more and get their "1700" silicone caulk instead of their regular "Tub & Tile Silicone Caulk". Not only will these caulks be more mildew resistant, they will stick better and cure to a stronger rubber than the regular silicone caulks.

However, in the last section of this post, you'll find out how to clean mildew off of silicone caulk, so you can keep any silicone caulk clean, not just the better ones.

3. How to place the new silicone caulk:

Use masking tape (1/2 or 3/4 inch wide) to mask off the joint you're wanting to caulk. Use 3/4 or even 1 inch wide masking tape if you have little experience caulking. Put the edge of the tape about 1/4 inch away from the joint on both sides of the joint. That means stopping the tape about 1/4 inch from any vertical joints you want to caulk as well. This can be done by gripping a single edge razor blade in a pair of needle nose style locking pliers. Put the tape in place and then put the edge of the razor firmly on the masking tape, and then pull the tape at an angle so that it tears off at the razor's edge.

(If you do a lot of caulking, you can probably just caulk the tub freehand without even bothering with masking tape, but I'm writing this up for new homeowners who want to get a good looking job without the caulking experience to do it freehand.)

Before putting the new silicone in place, press down the edges of the masking tape so that you're sure that the new silicone won't get under it.

Squeeze out the new caulk onto the joint and wipe it down with a dry finger so that it's relatively uniform in thickness all along the joint. Don't let so much caulk accumulate on your finger that it starts getting on the tub or tile on the OTHER side of the masking tape. At this stage, you simply want a relatively uniform amount of caulk all along the joint, and how you accomplish that really doesn't matter.

Once you've got the new silicone caulk reasonably uniformly distributed along the joint, pull the masking tape off.

Give the new silicone caulk a few minutes to "skin over". This is a good time to mix up a 50/50 solution of liquid dish washing detergent and water.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:03 AM   #24
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Silicone vs. siliconized latex caulk

Nestor - This is extremely helpful information. I just recently installed a new porcelain tub and 5-pc. shower surround. I initially caulked with 100% silicone and it stuck well to the tub but pealed off of the shower surround like the magnetic strip on a fridge. I was informed by the manufacturer that I can only use siliconized latex caulk. I removed the silicone and applied the latex. It came off just as easy, however, that was before I read this thread. After I go through the silicone removal process, should I be fine with the latex or is there a better way?
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:18 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Ber View Post
I was just reading this thread and thought I might put my two cents in. I had always thought that it was impossible to completely remove silicone. Very messy job. Which is why I kept putting off redoing around my bathtub. Until I found something that really does the trick. I know its hard to believe but this stuff really works. It's called Re-Mov. I'm in Montreal and found it online at then click on ReMov. You have to work the solvent under the silicone and then it's a piece of cake. Came off completely clean, no scraping, just wiped it clean. It doesn't dissolve the silicone. It breaks the bond the silicone makes with the surface. And it's completely safe on any surface. I've tried it on getting duct tape and chewing gum off carpets. Great stuff!

I found a product called DSR5 that worked great as well. You mechanically scrape off the big stuff and then spray this and get it under the silicone and it breaks the bond and scrapes right off. The only downside was it is $45 a quart!!! Although with the tub and window I had to recaulk it was worth it.

How much was the Re-Mov? I still have pleanty of the DSR5 you can understand it used it sparingly
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:33 AM   #26
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A big THANK YOU to Nestor_Kelebay!!!

Had I not read your detailed post before doing the job I surely would have had to do it over again very soon. Using your instructions as a reference, the new silicone on my shower looks clean, professional, and most importantly, does not leak.

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Old 08-18-2011, 01:10 PM   #27
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Arcrylic tub not installed over concrete pad - should I fill it before caulking?

Hello, Nestor. I have a tub that is not installed over a concrete pad and therefore there is some 'give' when it is very full of water or an adult steps into it. The first time we siliconed it did not stick to the tub (acrylic) and whenever it is full we can see a gap all along the tub where water just wicked right up into there and started wetting the grout. I feel like if I did fill the tub and let the silicone cure with it full we wouldn't have that gap. No? I am in the process of following your removal instructions as closely as I can so I intend on having a clean surface to re-apply the silicone to, but do you have any suggestions as to how to get the silicone to really stick to the tub so we don't have to fill it?
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:49 PM   #28
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I just caulked a stand up shower. I followed Nestor_Kelebay's excellent advice. But, I wanted to add one thing I just figured out.

When I removed the excess caulk with my finger, I used a nitrile glove to keep the caulk off my finger/hand. It worked fine. But once I pulled the tape off and starting using the soap/water mixture to tool the caulk, using the glove was more or less a disaster. It caused the caulk to ripple a bit.

Once I removed the glove and did it with my bare finger, it worked like a charm. Guess I'll know that next time.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:02 PM   #29
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:06 PM   #30
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Nestor... Thank you for some GREAT instruction. It has "saved the day" for my project.


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