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Waterproofing Around the Bathtub


Subtle plumbing leaks

Whether the walls around your tub are tile, laminate, paneling, or wallpapered drywall, there should be a waterproof seam between the top edge of the tub and the wall.  This nice finish is usually accomplished by applying a line of waterproof caulk at the juncture between the tub and wall.  According to your most reliable Fort Worth plumbing specialist, the caulk prevents water from the tub or the shower-in-tub from leaking behind the tub edge, and damaging the adjoining walls and the floor beneath.

Waterproof caulk

Caulk does eventually dry out, but the real culprit that cracks caulk around the tub is weight.  Remember, water is heavy – more than seven pounds per gallon.  So every time you fill the tub, with water and yourself, you are putting some stress on that nice, straight caulk seam.  Here is how to renew it:

  • Protect the wall and the tub surface when you remove the old caulk.  Apply painter’s tape (blue) to the edge of the wall above the caulk line, and to the edge of the tub below the caulk.
  • Using a standard screwdriver, and wearing rubber gloves if you don’t want to touch the old caulk, remove the old caulk, using the tip of the screwdriver to scrape it away anywhere it sticks.
  • Clean any dirt or mildew from around the seam location.  New caulking will not adhere properly to a dirty surface.  Let the open joint dry.  If the painter’s tape has lifted, reapply it so you have a nice clean guideline for installing the new caulk.

Install new caulk

  • Puncture or cut the tip of the caulking tube and insert the tube in the caulking gun according to gun directions.  (Some sealants come in a hand-held tube; use them according to package instructions).
  • Starting from a corner or end of the tub, install a straight bead of caulk along the joint between tub and wall.  You can use a moistened finger to smooth the caulking.
  • Allow the caulk to dry.
  • Remove the painter’s tape.

Caulk:  a material used to create a watertight seal between two adjoining surfaces.

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