The first time that you do a caulking job on your home you will probably struggle if you don’t know the basics. It can be a complete disaster if you let the silicone skin over before you have it set where you want it. You only have about a minute to work with silicone caulk before it skins over. Once it sets it is more or less impossible to smooth over without tearing it up.
Here is a neat way to ensure you work quickly enough to get professional looking results:
- Clean the tub and the surface of the tiles to remove any soap scum. You can find plenty of soap scum cleaners at the store, but you need it clear as the caulk won’t adhere otherwise.
- Use a razor, be careful and find one in a holder, to scrape off any further residue and old caulking. You don’t want to push a metal putty knife into the joints because you can easily leave marks on your tiling.
- Brush out any remaining debris from the joints.
- Take a roll of blue painter’s tape and apply it to the walls near the area you want to work on. You want about 1/16” either side of the corner. This should leave a small strip of tile showing between the two pieces of blue tape. Press the inside edge of the tape tight but leave the rest hanging so that you can peal it off.
- Apply tape like this to all of the vertical corners.
- Now it is time to open your silicone tube. Slice the tip so that you have a 1/8” hole and start squeezing the caulking along the slit that you left between the blue tape – only tackle one joint at at time. Don’t over apply the caulk because you will be lifting most of the excess off.
- Soak your rag in alcohol and use the rag to cover your fingertip with the liquid. This will stop the caulking sticking to your finger whilst still allowing you to rub the excess off. You can use spit, but alcohol is your best bet and it is useful for cleaning up if you spill the caulk. Rub your finger down the joint to remove the excess silicone.
- Peel the blue tape off straight away. If your tape wasn’t pressed in tight enough you might be left with a ridge of silicone. If you have worked quickly you will still have time to run this down with a wet finger. Don’t push too hard and don’t try it if the caulk has already skinned over. Even with a ridge your joint will be waterproofed – it just won’t look as nice.
- Get rid of the blue tape as soon as you have it off the wall. Being organised will help you work faster and help you get better results.
- Once you have worked through all of the vertical joints you can begin again on the horizontal ones.
If you follow this advice you should find you can get a quality finish time and time again.