Shower power

Seal a shower: Professional techniques for the DIYer

Learn how to seal a shower in minutes and enjoy years of protection from water damage, mould, and rotting wood. This is a simple but vital part of home maintenance.

When should you reseal your shower?

Shower sealant protects the framing and subfloor under your shower from being damaged by water running past the tile or shower backer. Eventually, you’ll be dealing with mould, rot, and a host of other problems. If you notice any signs that the sealant is separating from the surface or is missing entirely in places, it’s time to reseal your shower.

How to seal a shower with silicone

When resealing a shower, you’ll need to remove the old sealant before applying the new sealant. Of course, if installing a new shower, this won’t be necessary.

The best way to remove the old sealant is with a caulk remover tool which is basically two sharp edges set at a 90° angle affixed to a handle. Carefully push the tool along the corner, stripping out the old sealant. Once a section comes loose, it may be possible to just grab it and pull the silicone away in a long strip.

If you don’t have a caulk remover tool, use a razor knife to gently try to get underneath the edge of the caulk or cut it down the middle. Once it is loose, you can pull most of it away.

Remove the remaining residue with a cloth and mineral spirits.

Now, apply new sealant to the shower:

  1. Apply painter’s tape along one or both surfaces, about a quarter inch from the corner, to create nice, straight lines to your caulk.
  2. Insert your silicone sealant tube into the caulk gun and cut the end to the desired width for dispensing.
  3. Starting at the corner, apply an even bead of sealant to the corner.
  4. Smooth out the bead with your finger (using gloves) or a caulk smoothing tool.
  5. Carefully remove the tape and allow the silicone to dry for the recommended time before using the shower.

Have some dried silicone on your hands? Here are three common methods to remove it:

  1. Try a mechanic’s hand cleaner that has a mild abrasive. This should remove the silicone.
  2. A second method is to use rubbing alcohol. The alcohol should loosen the silicone, then rub your hands together, and the silicone will crumble and fall off.
  3. You can also try a small amount of butter and rub it on the silicone to soften it. Then use baking soda (as an abrasive) to scrub it away.

Sealing a shower—best materials

The recommended product for sealing a shower is silicone because it is waterproof, mould-resistant, and long-lasting. Good-quality silicone is widely available in a range of colours. Choose one designed for use in bathrooms.

Although an excellent sealant, silicone is not paintable. If you need to paint the sealant, use a “siliconized latex” caulk. It offers good protection in a paintable product.

Want to avoid the need to remove the old silicone? We have the perfect solution. Loctite Re-New is a high-quality silicone sealant designed to be applied directly over the old sealant, even if it is not in good shape.

Simply wipe down the old sealant with a cleaning solution and a rag, allow it to dry, and apply Re-New.
The specially designed tip will deliver a generous, even bead, completely covering over and sealing the old sealant. There’s no need for taping or smoothing out the sealant. One pass and your shower will look like new.