How To Re-Caulk Your Bathtub (The Right Way)
Since partnering with DAP in the past year, I have gotten requests for some more home improvement projects on the blog. Truth be told, I couldn’t be happier to go back to my roots and show you guys how easy it is to make small changes in your home on a tight budget. Lucky for you guys, the studio we closed on needed some tub TLC, and with spring around the corner, it was time to do something about it. I’ll show you how easy it is to re-caulk your bathtub in a just a few simple steps.
Disclaimer: there are no glam shots here, just the real deal.
How To Re-Caulk Your Bathtub
Now, I know what you’re thinking – but Sam, how do I know if it is time for my caulking to get a makeover? Well, great question!
If the caulking on your tub looks like this…
Then it’s probably harboring some gross crap (such as mold and mildew) and it’s time for it to go.
Luckily for you, it’s not only easy to complete this process, but also affordable. In fact, you should be able to do this project for under $20 and in a couple of hours. Even better, if you use the right caulking, you could even be able to shower later in the day. Worth it.
Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links to recommend products. While they are no extra cost to you to buy products through, a portion of each sale goes to DIY Huntress to help keep things free around here!
What You’ll Need:
Caulk Removal Tool
Caulk Edging Tool
(Both of these can be found in the DAP PRO Caulk Tool Kit)
DAP Quik Seal Ultra Kitchen & Bath Adhesive
* Prior to completing any of these steps, please make sure your tub is dry and has not been used for a shower right before. This will limit the amount of moisture that is hanging around while you replace the caulking. Also, be sure to use a caulking that is made for tub and kitchen use ONLY. Window and wood caulkings will not protect your tub from mold and mildew.
1. Remove the old caulking. For stubborn sections you can use a razor blade to carefully cut the edges away from the tub.
Use a caulk removal tool for easier disposal.
2. For stubborn, stuck on caulking you have a few options. You can use a blade to carefully scrape the excess latex off. If you press too hard, you could damage the tub, so I use the word carefully very seriously.
If you don’t feel comfortable using a blade, you can also use a product such as DAP’s Caulk-Be-Gone, which helps remove latex caulking from the tub and tile surfaces. Make sure to follow the directions on the packaging for safe and easy use.
3. Use a cloth with rubbing alcohol to remove any excess grossness that may still be lurking. Once you’ve gone through this process, use a dry cloth next to get rid of any excess moisture.
4. Once you’ve removed the old caulking and made sure everything is dry, use a vacuum to suck up any excess debris that may be floating around in the crevices.
5. After prepping your surface, use painter’s tape to create a straight edge for your caulking. There are no real rules here for what the spacing should look like, but make sure to leave enough space for the new caulking to cover the large gap between the tub and the wall.
6. This is Important: Once your lines are taped, the next step is to FILL YOUR TUB. Yes, yes, yes. Turn on that water and fill up your bathtub. This helps mimic the weight of people standing in the shower and allows the caulking to dry without having to flex later.
7. While your tub fills, cut the tip of your caulking gun. There’s no magic angle here, but try to avoid making a flat, 90 degree cut. Instead, aim for something that’s around 45 degrees or less.
8. Once the tub is filled, begin applying the caulk with the gun. Apply steady pressure and don’t be nervous about messing up. That’s what the tape is there for! Work in sections of about 12 inches each in order to cover all ground without anything settling too fast.
9. As you caulk each small section, use a straight edge (or your finger) to flatten the caulking over the surface. I used the edging tool that was included in the DAP PRO Caulk Tool Kit and it was a total LIFE SAVER.
10. Once you’ve finished the whole tub, go back and immediately start removing the tape. Then, use your finger or a wet cloth to smooth down any edges that may have been leftover from the tape.
If your lines are not perfectly straight here, don’t freak out (so hard for me to say because I’m a mega perfectionist) — the fact is that lots of tubs have tiling, so your lines will never be perfectly straight. Just do the best you can!
11. Allow time to dry! DAP Quik Seal Ultra Kitchen & Bath Adhesive allows you to be able to get it wet around 4 hours after you apply. However, it does take a full 24 hours to cure, so it’s best to wait, if possible. I started to drain my tub around that 4 hour mark to limit any flexing in the drying process.
It’s amazing how a little bit of love goes a long way. Not only do I feel safer now that the grossness from the previous caulking is gone, but the bathroom looks so much brighter!
This is a really simple, and affordable way to not only make your bathroom look new, but feel new as well. So, while there were no real glam shots here (or, as Adam Levin would say, not everything is rainbows and butterflies), this home improvement project is an honest promise to help you guys make your homes a better place.
Hope this post inspires you to give your tub some TLC!
* This post was sponsored by DAP Products Inc. All opinions, steps, and references to pop culture are my own.
Ashley6 years ago
I always want to be lazy and just add new caulk on top of the old stuff that’s cracking or pulling away (usually on trim not in a bathroom). ☺️
Sam Raimondi5 years ago AUTHOR
I feel you on this – but, best to be cautious and remove and re-do! 🙂
Amanda4 years ago
Do you leave the tub filled up while it drys?
Sam4 years ago AUTHOR
Yes! I drain once it is dry. Otherwise, it can flex while the tub drains. Hope this helps!
Kim4 years ago
This post with all the photos and clear instructions is great! I’m getting ready to re-caulk my shower and would like to know how this caulk has held up since you did this 3 years ago? Any mold or mildewing? Thanks.
Sam4 years ago AUTHOR
Hi Kim! Glad this helped! We just moved out of this space a few months ago, but it was still holding up really well!
Kim4 years ago
Fred Phillips2 years ago
brilliant suggestion to fill in the tub, I was planning on standing in to do the same thing. Now I need to reconsider water vs me. I originally came here to learn about this edge tool, mine is similar to yours in the photo. I’ll just use same way as pictured, but perhaps flat side away.