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How to Caulk a Bathtub

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by Jeff Patterson in Bathroom Plumbing, DIY Bathroom Remodel
How to Caulk a Bathtub

Learning how to caulk a bathtub should be easy, right?

And it is.

But wouldn’t it be nice to get time saving tips.

One of my tenants kept complaining about her tub’s caulk looking bad.

I decided to just remove all of it and put down a new bead.

Today’s tutorial will share how you can do the exact same thing and get beautiful results without turning into a hot stikcy mess 😀

One of the reasons the tub’s caulk looked bad was the tub itself.

The tub was a cheap acrylic variety.

This was a bad choice because all the flexing caused the caulk to constantly separate from the tub surround.

We eventually had to replace the tub because it also developed a crack near the drain which leaked into the dining room.

FUN TIMES.

I’m sharing this story so you don’t make the same mistake, i.e. buying a cheap tub.

Nonetheless my caulking job actually held up until we eventually swapped out the tub.

So I bet that if you use these tips you’ll get beautiful results, too.

These are the supplies you’ll need

  • Painter’s Tool ($6)
  • Razor Scraper ($1)
  • Plastic Bag for Old Caulk (FREE)
  • Grout Sponge ($3)
  • DAP 3.0 Kitchen, Bath, & Pluming Caulk ($7)
  • Pencil (FREE)
  • Rags (FREE or $3)
  • Caulking Gun ($7)

Let’s gets started and before you know it you’ll have new skills to try out 😀

 

How to remove caulk from a bathtub or shower (don’t worry, it’s cathartic)

Grab the painter’s tool and razor scraper.

Run the razor scraper along the top of the tub and score the caulk.

Score old caulk

This will take a little effort.

As a side note, the sloppy caulking in these pictures wasn’t mine.

My tenant had a friend try to caulk the tub.

I recommend using two hands on the razor so you won’t cut your hand.

Then you can groove out the edge of the caulk that meets the tub surround.

“…but won’t the razor scraper gouge the tub or surround?”

No, not if you hold it flush with the surface as you scrape.

If there’s an old layer of caulk under the first layer you’ll have to remove it, too.

The painter’s tool is fantastic at removing caulk that’s really tough to pull out from between the tub and surround.

Use it if the razor scraper isn’t working 😀

Painter's Tool

Place all the old caulk in your plastic bag.

Then take your grout sponge and lightly abrade the surface where the new caulk will go.

Clean tub surface

This ensures a nice clean and smooth surface, which is necessary for the new caulk to stick.

The last step is to take a clean rag and rub it on the tub/surround.

You’re doing this to double check all surfaces are clean.

Now you’re ready to caulk the tub.

But which type of caulk should you use?

 

Which caulk should you use in a bathtub or shower (this is SUPER important)

You’ll see a lot of weird user reviews when it comes to caulk.

People will say the caulk was too sticky or didn’t perform the way they anticipated.

Most of these complaints are related to bad surface prep.

We don’t need to worry about that, so HIGH FIVE!

On the other hand, if you don’t choose the right type of caulk you’ll kick yourself in about 3 weeks when it starts to peel off.

Bathtubs and showers need waterproof caulk specifically for, you guessed it, bathrooms.

I like DAP 3.0 because it’s

  1. 100% waterproof
  2. got Microban which makes it mold resistant
  3. water resistant in 30 minutes

DAP 3.0 Caulk

Place the tip of tube in the largest gap between the tub and surround.

Mark the tube with a pencil or pen.

Mark caulking tube

Cut the tube at a 45 degree angle at this mark cause you’ll use the tube to shape the bead of caulk.

Here’s another HUGE tip: fill the tub with water.

Why?

The water will weigh down the tub and expand the gap between the tub and surround.

You’ll fill in this gap with the DAP 3.0.

And when you release the water the gap will squeeze the sealant to make a super watertight seal.

SWEET!!!!

I’m here to say that this totally works. One time I didn’t fill the tub with water and guess what, the caulk separated after a few months.

Don’t make more work for yourself.

Do this project right the first time.

Check out my video for all the details and tips. I wish I had some outtakes of me falling in the tub but fortunately I still have my balance 😀

 

What’s Next

We also have a great tutorial showing how to install an acrylic tub. One of the biggest tips is to add mortar under the tub for support.

Grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

Send Me The Guide

 

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.

Ask your questions below and we’d be happy to help.

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

P.S. Our online store has great supplies for homeowners doing a bathroom remodel. You’ll find shower systems, tiling tools, and more.

20 Comments
  1. Joe Cefalu says:

    I have done this about thirty time in my life only to do over and over.You made this look simple. Water in tub good idea. Will be doing both tubs your way in the spring.

    Thank you
    Joe

    1. My pleasure to help Joe.

      Please keep me posted on how your project goes. I’d love to see before and after pics 😀

  2. Bob says:

    Thanks, you reminded me of another job I need to attend to do. Good tip about filling the bathtub, however. I also have a shower with calk that has turned dark with mold around the door that also needs replacing.

    Bob

    1. Showers can be a real challenge to clean. Anything in the bathroom is a challenge for that matter, haha.

      Glad to help any time Bob 😀

  3. Shareese says:

    I love you. Your my internet husband

    1. LOL, well thank you Shareese.

      I’ve never gotten that compliment before 😀

      Glad to help any time.

  4. Ann says:

    Your common sense tips are great. I need to fix an old tub. It’s white & has a chip in the bottom. It’s enamel over metal. Suggestions???

    1. You could go one of two ways Ann: try to DIY it or hire a pro.

      I’ve read good and bad things about DIY kits but if the chip is small you may want to try a repair kit.

      If you’ve got some extra money you could get 3 quotes from someone who does bathtub refinishing.

      You’ll probably want to get the pro’s opinion on whether to refinish the entire tub or just do the chip. The color matching could be an issue, so I bet they’ll recommend doing the entire tub.

      The other thing to keep in mind is the cost to refinish versus replacing the tub and surround.

      Keep me posted on this because I’d love to know what direction you go 😀

  5. Squafdonoboles says:

    Just in time, too! My next project on my list is to be caulking the tub, and this tip couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks!

    1. Glad to help. I think using these tips will help the job last a long long time. There’s nothing worse than having to recaulk a tub after you just did it.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

  6. Patty says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips, I will be trying them out in a few weeks.

  7. Caro says:

    Hey, I loved this video! I have a couple of quick questions though. When you let the water out of the tub do you need to let the caulk dry first or can you just let it out when you are done caulking? Also, will the DAP caulk work for walk-in showers? Since the water doesn’t really ‘stand’ but it gets on the floor corners and bottom half of the shower I didn’t know if it would still work for that. Our caulk is getting kinda shnasty at all the corners (walls and floor since it’s tiled all around) and the old caulk is peeling and coming off. I’ve tried several different kinds of caulk except for one that takes 24-48 hours to dry. But since it’s our only shower I don’t want to whole family going without showers for 2 days. Please let me know. Thanks. Keep the videos and tips coming. It’s like Christmas every week when I see my newsletter come in! 😉

  8. Nick Conrad says:

    Hey Jeff. Nice work. Sharp tools are the best. I have a 1935 cast iron tub where someone has used fiberglass above it and did a nasty job of caulking that I will correct with your process.
    What is the VOC & odor of the caulk as that makes a difference to the occupant with COPD? Where are your gloves?
    Nick Conrad

  9. pasquale says:

    Great video. I too like to use a wet finger to smooth out the caulk.

    Keep up the great tips.

  10. Brandon says:

    Jeff,

    This video is a great help! Thanks for the detailed tips!

    1. Thanks Brandon, my pleasure to help.

      Caulking a tub can be a big chore but re-caulking is even worse. So I hope these tips stop that from happening 😀

  11. Norman says:

    Super video. Never had the confidence to do this job before but I do now. You are so wonderful to provide this type of information. Thanks so much!

  12. I am a do it myself girl and I watch your videos faithfully.
    I am recaulking a bathtub this weekend just as you did.
    Thanks for great timing!!

    1. My caulking project came out great. I added a step. I used computer cleaning pressure spray to blow out the little pieces that i couldn’t get. Thanks for making it so easy for me.I have been putting it off for a long time!

  13. Emily says:

    I am pulling the caulk out from where the tub meets the tile, and in some places I wonder if I am pulling out too much. I am not sure if it is all caulk or if there is something else back there? Any thoughts?

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