How to Caulk a Shower Surround and Bathtub: (7 Easy Steps)

You may be wondering how to go about this, right?

But do not worry!

I will demonstrate an easy, fast and effective way of how to caulk a shower surround and bathtub like a pro. And this includes a complete video instruction of the practical work.

In this article, you will find the easy steps you need to follow on how to caulk shower door, surround, stall, sink, pan, drain, wall, tile gaps, and bathtub etc.

So, even if the shower bathtub or the surround are already caulked, at some point you will have to redo it. And this guide is rich with essential information that will help learn how to re-caulk the shower.

Be with me and I will instruct you with my in-depth research knowledge.

But the most important thing is to ensure that the right caulk product and the right caulking gun has been chosen.

Because you will find different kinds of caulk and caulking gun in the market and if you don’t know which one is best, that is a problem for you. For instance, there is silicon-based and non-silicon based caulks that are available in the market and comparatively silicon-based caulks are better.

For shower and bathtub, the type of caulks that has to be selected is the one that contains mold and also mildew inhibitors.

I also have researched on this topic and reviewed –

Well, let’s get back to our topic.

Shower Caulking Tools

For this procedure, here are the supplies that I picked out to make the whole process fast and effective:

  1. Razor scraper/Utility knife.
  2. Liquid caulk remover.
  3. Rag/Vacuum Cleaner.
  4. Paper towels.
  5. Masking tape.
  6. 100% silicone caulk or, latex caulk.
  7. And Caulking gun.

You may choose to have the liquid/mineral spirits caulk remover if your previous caulk is silicon-based or even use Isopropyl Alcohol but this is not mandatory for latex caulk that can easily be removed with water and soap.


Steps of How to Caulk a Shower Surrounds and Bathtub

Step 1: Removal of Old Caulk

This is simple and all that is needed is a caulk removal tool, which in my case is the razor scraper. One can also make use of the utility knife to remove the caulk. But when doing this with your shower door, and stall, be careful so as not to scratch.

Old caulk can have some moldy surface that is not good for a new caulk on it to bond strongly. Specifically, silicone caulk does not support this. And remember that dry and clean surface will grab the caulk better and long-lasting.

So, it is essential to remove the old one first.

If the caulk seems to be hard to remove, use the liquid caulk remover. This is quite effective and will speed up the process, as it will soften the old caulk. Need help selecting the right liquid caulk remover?

Liquid caulk remover using –

  1. Covering the old caulk apply the liquid caulk remover.
  2. Take some time so the remover can take his action.
  3. Now, apply the razor scraper and scrape off the old caulk completely.

Let’s have a look at the practical work. Play the video below –

Step 2: Clean the Surface

Is the old caulk scrapped off?

Very well, follow me closely. Now clean the surfaces with a rag and wipe it off. You can use liquid soap to wash or, a vacuum cleaner to vacuum the area.

Why is this crucial?

By vacuuming the area, you will be able to get rid of all the remaining caulks on the surface.

Step 3: Let it dry

You are 50% done.

Use a paper towel to soak up the water on the surface as much as possible. But still, critical gaps will hold some drops of water.

So, let the shower remain unused for at least 8/12 hours. This is also important as it will allow the surface to dry completely, which helps the caulk to stick properly.

Step 4: Masking the gap between caulking places

Now that the surface is ready to grab the caulk, apply masking tape above and below the place you want to caulk so it has a perfect gap between the two-row tapes.

Using this masking tape is very helpful so you can caulk the exact area. But be careful not to overlap the caulk too much on this tape. This technique is good for the experts and for DIYers, it is a little difficult to manage.

But this results in better caulking than doing in freehand.

Let’s have a look at the practical work. Play the video below –

Step 5: Load the caulk gun with caulk

Before you start the process wearing a protecting globe in your hand is a good practice.

Well, this is where the caulk gun comes into use. So, how does it work? Load the caulk tube to the caulk gun. It is worth noting that there are different designs of the caulk tubes and one should find one that will fit into the caulking gun.

Follow these steps to learn how to load caulk into a caulk gun –

  1. Take the caulk gun in one hand.
  2. Pull the pressure rod back.
  3. You will need to pull back the plunger with the other hands.
  4. And then slide the bottom of the caulk tube into the gun.
  5. Let the plunger rod be back in the right place.
  6. Cut the tip of the caulk tube with the utility knife.
  7. Puncture the seal of the caulk tube with a pin.

That’s it for the caulk gun loading! Play that practical explanation video below –

Some tubes will be marked where to cut, but if it is not, you need to cut the tip to 30 or 45 degrees. For an application of a narrow caulk bead, I advise cutting closer to the tip.

If you cut the caulk tip larger than the gaps you are trying to fill, it would result in applying too much caulk than required and the final cleanup will become harder.

Now, remember whatever the tip size you choose you must use a sharp cutting knife. So you don’t create any burrs in the caulk tube nozzle and that will create a notch on the applied caulk.

Step 6: Apply the Caulk

Next, place the tube head to the place where you want to caulk. Start with the corners and the verticals of the caulking places. Now, squeeze the trigger of the caulk gun and guide the nozzle. Try to produce a smooth surface.

Once you are happy with the caulking as how you have applied and shaped, remove the masking tape while the applied caulk is still not dry.

Hence, it is important not to stop often when applying caulk. Try applying caulk continuously by pulling the caulk-gun trigger perfectly.

I mean that you should have a continuous bead on the surface. You have to use a caulk bead tool later on the caulk layer –

Or, even simply use your finger to create this smooth surface. This is an easy way to do this without using any shaping tool.

So, what you have to do is.

Wet your thumb with water and run over the applied caulk to ensure that the joint is completely sealed and remove the excess caulk.

If this trick doesn’t work for you, take a small spoon and use the back of it and push it gently on the caulk bead because this will help in smoothening the surface.

Step 7: Final Cleaning Up

Let’s be honest!

Final cleaning is mostly for those who were caulking the area without masking with tape.  There will be spills and caulks that may end up in the wrong places and this is why the cleanup is essential. This is after you are done with the process, use a sponge to clean around the caulk.

Be careful so as not to remove the caulk that has just been applied.

When the caulking process is done allow at least 8/12 hours before using the shower. As such, you need to caulk the shower, when there is no need to use it.

And yes, we are done with the process!

Just remember that it is better to wipe the caulk tube with a damp rag so as to prevent the remaining caulk from drying. This will make it easier to use the caulk the next time a need arises. I strongly advise that the caulk tube should be cleaned after each application.


Avoid These Caulking Mistakes

  1. Selecting the wrong caulk.
  2. Cutting off the tube nozzle/tip larger.
  3. Applying caulk on a wet surface.
  4. Not removing the old caulk and mold.
  5. Applying the caulk gun trigger randomly.
  6. Using a dry finger/object to make the caulk surface smooth.
  7. Using the razor scrapper hardly on the stall or, the door that scratches.
  8. Begin using the shower before the caulk dries completely.

Bottom lines: So, the step by step guide above will help you knowing how to Caulk a Shower Surround and Bathtub in an easy and simple process. As long as you have the right set of tools and sealant those are required.

Now, you see that suffering and failing to enjoy the bathroom moments is optional because of shower molds that grow upon the old caulk.

I have put up this end to end guide and provided all the information that is needed to get the work done. So, go ahead and start the process as now you know it.

You may also apply the same process for caulking the shower door, surrounds, stalls, sink, pan, drain, wall, tile gaps, kitchen surroundings, and bathtub, etc.


Some important FAQs

Question: Why re-caulking my shower is essential?

Answer: In most cases, people have been told that this is to improve aesthetics, but there is more to that. Caulking will prevent water from going behind the stall or bathtub.

Cause when there is water going behind the tub or stall, it can cause a number of problems like – lead to rot, mold and can also cause ceiling leaks.

Sadly, it may take time before realizing that there is a problem until it becomes severe. With this in mind, one will appreciate having a good caulk and maintaining it.

Question: What are the important places of the shower door and surrounds to caulk?

Answer: It is best to caulk all the openings and cracks that are noticeable. One can even caulk the ceiling. You need not worry about moisture as it can be handled by an exhaust fan and plumbing works.

Question: How can I ensure that the caulking holds and does not pop when the walls heat up?

Answer: From the look of things, the surface was caulked must have been moist and the best solution would be to remove it a re-caulk it afresh.

Question: Should I use silicone or acrylic sealant?

Answer: Well, there is a choice to make depending on one’s preference. My personal opinion is to go for silicone sealants, as they are much stronger and will adhere for a very long period of time.

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