Over time, the caulk around a bathroom tub tends to break down and become discolored by mildew, thus necessitating fresh caulk to be applied every few years. Even if you're a caulking amateur, this task should be simple enough for you to perform--so long as you arm yourself with the right tools, that is. This article will introduce three things you might not realize you need.
The initial task in any recaulking job is to remove that old, worn-out caulk. Professionals often accomplish this using either a special painting tool or a utility knife. For reasons of convenience, amateurs are often tempted to do the same thing. Unfortunately, if you're not skilled in removing caulk, it can be easy to scratch or damage the finish of your tub using these metal implements.
To protect your tub from unintended damage, remove old caulk using a plastic razor instead. As their name would imply, plastic razors have incredibly sharp edges, and are more than capable of lifting away even the most stubborn old caulk. Yet unlike their metal counterparts, they won't do any harm to your tub should your hand happen to slip.
There is one task for which a utility knife is best suited: cutting the tip off of your new tube of caulk. A fresh, sharp, uncorroded blade is essential. This will ensure that the tube's opening is perfectly formed. A utility knife with a chipped or dull blades, on the other hand, may lead to a sloppy cut, thereby negatively affecting the appearance of the caulk.
Here are a couple of helpful measurements to keep in mind when cutting the tip off of your caulk tube. First, to ensure the appropriate width of your caulk line, try to make a cut that results in a hole with a diameter of approximately 1/8 of an inch. Don't cut straight across the tip, however. Instead, to make application as easy as possible, try to make your cut at a 45-degree angle.
Getting a perfectly even line of caulk can be difficult, even if you've cut the tip of your tube just right. Fortunately, a roll of painter's tape will help immensely. The idea is to place a strip of tape on either side of the area to be caulked, thus defining the boundaries of where the caulk ends up.
The key is to measure carefully so that the gap between one piece of tape and the other is uniform down their entire length. Shoot for a gap width of around 3/8 of an inch. To avoid tearing off dried caulk, be sure to peel the tape up as soon as you've got the caulk in place before it's had a chance to dry.
For further assistance, contact a local professional, such as one from Watson Plumbing.