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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hired a professional remodeler/carpenter to install a new bathroom vanity top, about 6 months ago. Caulking around the vanity looked good until a couple of months ago, when it started to gap and tear away from the wall. The wall, which we painted before the vanity was installed, is a glossy paint. I called the remodeler (who gets pretty good ratings), and he said that it could be dry, hot air that affects the silicon. So, today, he came back and put some new silicon over the old. It looked ok when he left, but now is buckling again! Here are my questions:
1) Why is this happening?
2) Can I simply pick away the silicon and can we reinstall?
3) Is silicone the best caulk for a bathroom vanity (to fill in the gaps between vanity & wall)?

UPDATE: Thanks to some good suggestions, I checked the level of the countertop and floor -- both are equally very slightly uneven (probably because of the settling of the house). I doubt we can take the cultured marble top off of the base to fix with a shim. But is there some more solid stuff to caulk with in case more settling occurs? If not, should we go with plan A of taking off the old and putting on new silicone?



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It looks to me like your vanity dropped or moved a bit. Pull it out and redo it... It could also be that the caulking didnt stick, although I dont see how that could happen, unless it got wet or something.

Im still going with dropped a bit. Check underneath it, and make sure its fastened to the wall properly.

And when you redo it, use something paintable!
 

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Have a hard time believing that someone who puts new silicone caulk over old is a well rated pro.

Anyways I'll let others weigh in but to me only one solution: scrape put the old, mineral spirits, then new bead.

Yes it does help to have humidity in air

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Discussion Starter #4
Have a hard time believing that someone who puts new silicone caulk over old is a well rated pro.

Anyways I'll let others weigh in but to me only one solution: scrape put the old, mineral spirits, then new bead.

Yes it does help to have humidity in air

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THANK YOU! Now, how would I go about scraping without damaging the paint or countertop? I'm new to all this, as you can clearly see :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have a hard time believing that someone who puts new silicone caulk over old is a well rated pro.

Anyways I'll let others weigh in but to me only one solution: scrape put the old, mineral spirits, then new bead.

Yes it does help to have humidity in air

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk
Why mineral spirits? Will that damage the paint on the walls (it's a new paint job).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It looks to me like your vanity dropped or moved a bit. Pull it out and redo it... It could also be that the caulking didnt stick, although I dont see how that could happen, unless it got wet or something.

Im still going with dropped a bit. Check underneath it, and make sure its fastened to the wall properly.

And when you redo it, use something paintable!
do you mean that I should use paintable silicone?
 

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I don't think there is such a thing as paintable silicone. Nothing sticks well to cured silicone. But there are many paintable kitchen and bath caulks of other formulations.
 

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That happens sometimes. Maybe some contamination on the surface. Maybe a little movement. Maybe an old tube of caulk. Basically, yeah, dig that garbage out and replace. Then put down a layer of duct tape for protection, but put a layer of painter's tape under that so you can actually remove it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pure silicone caulk is not paintable but many of your better latex caulks are siliconized and are paintable.

I agree the top has moved, either out from the wall or down.
Have you discussed this with your contractor? some warrant their work for 1 yr.
the contractor came and recaulked, which only looks worse ... I'm not sure about that warranty but I will check. We're quite bummed. Lot of money for that remodel ...
 

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Somehow I had to paint over the silicone, so to everyone's surprise, ordinary enamel calmly painted over it. I used silicone to remove the gaps between the tiles on the ceiling, so when I painted the ceiling with a roller for the first time, the silicone was still slightly visible, and on the second the enamel leveled everything. My advice: when painting silicone, it is better to use a roller, since the brush glides over the silicone and it is quite problematic to paint it over with it.
 

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The first pic shows an adhesion issue. The second pic is indicative of movement.
You say the top was installed six months ago, i.e. in the summer. It is now winter.
Caulk joints can be effected by temperature and humidity. Some can open in the winter and close in the summer.

Is this vanity on an exterior wall?
 

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Use a plastic scraper to get the old stuff out. Mineral spirits was suggested if it is unpaintable silicone, to get any silicone residue off the wall, so touch up paint can stick. It depends on what they actually caulked it with. Pure silicone should NEVER be used on painted surfaces. I dont think it works very well anyway.
 

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Have a hard time believing that someone who puts new silicone caulk over old is a well rated pro.
This is a funny thread to me, because I'm a well rated pro, and I recently did this same thing. I didn't realize my mistake until after I left the house. I used silicone where the instructions said for mounting the vanity top, but I just had a brain fart and continued using it along the wall seam. Just one of those days.

I guess the difference between me and this guy is that if I get a call back, I'm going to remove all the caulk, figure out why there was movement, then recaulk with a non-silicone caulk. But this guy either doesn't recognize his error, or just didn't want to fix it. Remember that a lot of pros do a lot of things, and he's probably not highly rated as strictly a professional caulker/painter (even though this is the Painting forum). He might mostly build fences for all we know.

There are caulks labeled "Paintable Silicone", but they are not really silicone, because silicone isn't paintable, period. It is probably what is referred to as "siliconized" caulk, meaning it's an acrylic with a little silicone in it. It's not necessary to use it, any good caulk that can handle a bit of stretch will do well.
 

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I guess the difference between me and this guy is that if I get a call back, I'm going to remove all the caulk, figure out why there was movement, then recaulk with a non-silicone caulk. But this guy either doesn't recognize his error, or just didn't want to fix it. Remember that a lot of pros do a lot of things, and he's probably not highly rated as strictly a professional caulker/painter (even though this is the Painting forum). He might mostly build fences for all we know.
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Good point and that was really makes a well rated pro... Willingness to undo a brain fart :) ha

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Don't use silicon caulk if you intend to paint. As others have said you can use a latex caulk that is "siliconized" and states that it is PAINTABLE. Typical painter's caulk is ALEX 25 (or I prefer 35) year white caulk. Run a bead, smooth with a wet finger, wipe off excess with a damp sponge let it dry and repaint.

And yes, all homes breath, settle and shift slightly - so any cracks, especially where two surfaces meet at opposing angles (wall to ceiling, wall to countertop, backsplash to cabinet, etc.) usually develop some gap that can show over time. The solution is to recaulk unless you notice significant movement of one of the surfaces (cabinet falling off wall, etc.)

Remove the silicon caulk as others have said - perhaps call the installer back to fix HIS/HER problem correctly?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The first pic shows an adhesion issue. The second pic is indicative of movement.
You say the top was installed six months ago, i.e. in the summer. It is now winter.
Caulk joints can be effected by temperature and humidity. Some can open in the winter and close in the summer.

Is this vanity on an exterior wall?
the length of the vanity IS on an exterior wall (what you see in that first picture), but the second picture is on a wall that leads into another room.
 
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