DIY: How to caulk a bathtub

Kiona Highbridge
Kiona Highbridge | 3 min. read
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Published on May 7, 2015

Prospective tenants pay a lot of attention to bathrooms during a showing. For many, how clean (or dirty) the bathroom is can be a deal-breaker.

One of the easier ways to achieve desired cleanliness is by recaulking the bathroom. Over time, the dirt that builds up in the seals around the bathroom discolors them and makes the whole place look grimey. If you get rid of the dirt, the tub and shower will look brand new.

You’ll Need:

  • Caulking removal tool
  • Square of cloth
  • 100% silicone caulk (tube that can fit in a caulk gun or a squeezable tube)
  • Caulking gun (if applicable)
  • Toothbrush
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Caulking tool kit

Work Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30+ minutes

  1. For bathrooms, it’s best practice to remove the caulking that is already there. Repeatedly run the caulking removal tool along the grooves to clean them out. Your goal is to get as much of the original sealant off, so don’t be afraid to use a little force.
  2. Buildium tip: Sometimes the removal tool just isn’t enough. It might just feel like you’re trying to scrape off concrete. If that’s the case, purchase 3M Caulk Remover solvent. If you apply this to the caulking and wait ~24 hours, it will be as easy as cutting through butter.
  3. Once the caulking is completely removed, you will want to clean the groove. Squirt the all-purpose cleaner into the groove and scrub hard with the toothbrush. Then use a cloth to rub the area with a lot of force to ensure it’s not wet or greasy. The caulking won’t adhere properly if there’s residue on the surface.
  4. Take your caulking tube and run a generous bead in the newly cleaned tub. We suggest using a clear 100% silicone sealant, because it can be hard to find a color that matches the tiles/fiberglass. You will not be able to paint this sealant once dried.
  5. Take your caulking tool (or thumb) and run it along the groove. Be consistent here. Remove all excess caulking.
  6. Wait the appropriate time before turning on the water. It will tell you on the tube how long it takes to dry. Some take 30 minutes while others can take up to 24 hours.
  7. Buildium tip: If you are recaulking a bathroom of an existing tenants apartment, try to work with their schedule. Find a time where they will not turn on the shower for some time.
  8. You now have a bathroom that’s ready for showing.

Want more tips like these?

Download our FREE DIY Maintenance for Property Managers guide for a compilation of easy fixes accompanied by Buildium tips and step-by-step photo instructions.

Read more on Maintenance & Improvements
Kiona Highbridge

Kiona puts her fondness for white space and strong typography to use as a visual designer. She has a B.F.A. in Writing and, as such, loves discussing grammar over a good cup of coffee.

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