The Washington Post

Easier than you think: recaulking a bathtub

(thinkstock) (thinkstock)

Over time the seal around your bathtub can crack, allowing moisture to pool inside — creating a perfect environment in which mold and mildew can grow. Don’t make the mistake of applying new caulk over the old, cracked stuff, says handyman Andre Silva (202-292-9194; It won’t hold. To do the job properly you need to clear away the old caulk and start from scratch.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Something to cut out the old caulk — for example a utility knife or Workforce 3-in-1 Caulk Tool ($4.98 at Home Depot); bath caulk (for example, Red Devil 10 oz. Premium Kitchen and Bath with Stain Block Caulk; $4.98 at Home Depot); a caulk gun (for example, Workforce 60:25 Caulk Gun; $6.47 at Home Depot); a damp towel; a wet/dry vacuum (optional); a Mold/mildew removing liquid (if needed).


  • Using your utility knife or caulk-removing tool, scrape out the old caulk. Be careful not to scratch outside of the caulking area.
  • Sweep or rinse off all dust and debris. (A wet-dry vacuum makes this step very easy.) Inspect the area, and if you have any mold or mildew growing, you need to kill it off with a mold/mildew remover spray before applying the new caulk.
  • Cut a 45-degree angle off of the tip of the caulk gun — the farther down the tip, the wider the line of caulk.
  • Working on one side of the tub at a time, place the tip of the caulk gun into one corner, squeeze the trigger and fill in a new line of caulk, moving in the opposite direction than the gun is pointing. Use a damp towel to wipe off any extra caulk. (You might need to repeat this step two or three times.)
  • Keep the area completely dry until the caulk has cured completely. (See caulk tube instructions for timeframe.)

MORE INFO: While recaulking your tub is simple to do, it does take a bit of muscle to get out all the old caulk. (A perfect winter-weather indoor workout?)

 WHEN TO CALL IN THE PROS: The next time you have to call in a handyman to do some bigger jobs for you, ask if he’d be willing to recaulk your tub at the same time.



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