Choosing the right shower sealant and applying it properly is an excellent way to protect your bathroom. Get the details below on how to seal out water and create a fresh new look.
Why do you need shower sealant and which type is best?
One of the most important maintenance jobs you can do around your home is to keep wet areas, such as sinks, showers, and bathtubs, properly sealed.
Whenever water and moisture get into the seams and cracks around bathtubs, sinks, or other fixtures, it means trouble – mould and mildew thrive in damp areas.
A good shower sealer is crucial to keep water out of these areas. There are two main types of sealants: acrylic latex and silicone.
Silicone is the most waterproof and will remain soft and pliable. Many professionals prefer it. It does have a few drawbacks, though. Pure silicone sealant is not paintable. Since the sealant is often white, this may not be an issue.
Acrylic latex sealants are often used for sealing trim work and gaps but can also be applied in wet areas. They are paintable and clean up easily. Once dry, latex is waterproof, but less durable than silicone.
A good compromise is siliconized latex sealant, which has become more common in recent years. It is paintable and easy to clean up, but also offers many of the same qualities as silicone.
It’s best to wear gloves when applying silicone sealant since it can be hard to get off your hands. Here are a few tips if you find yourself in this situation:
- Get the silicone off as fast as possible. Once dry, it’s much harder to remove.
- Try wiping with a plastic bag or paper towel. The silicone will stick to the bag or paper more readily than your skin.
- Rinse with plenty of water and use a citrus-based hand cleaner. Use a sponge or coarse towel to scrub the area.
- If the silicone has dried, try scrubbing with acetone (nail polish remover) on a cloth.
- If that fails, try mineral spirits on a cloth. Go easy on this, as it may irritate the skin.
How to apply sealant for a shower
When applying new shower silicone, removing the old silicone sealant first is usually best. This is especially true if the old sealant is mouldy, discoloured, or coming loose.
A caulk removal tool is the easiest way to remove the old sealant. It’s a small hand tool with two blades at a 90° angle. Use it to run along the joint, scraping the old silicone loose. Do it gently so you don’t scratch the tub. You may find that once you get a section loose, you may be able to pull off the rest in long strips.
If you don’t have such a tool, use a putty knife or similar object to pry the old silicone loose. Carefully insert the blade on one side, then slide it along the joint, cutting the silicone away. Then repeat the process on the other side.
Once the bulk of the silicone is gone, wipe the area with a coarse towel dampened with mineral spirits. This will clean the area and remove any remaining bits of silicone sealant.
Now you are ready to apply the new shower sealant. Follow these steps:
- Place your tube in the caulk gun and cut the tip to the appropriate size. The further up the nozzle you cut, the larger the bead of sealant will be.
- You can put a strip of masking tape on either side of the seam to be sealed. Ensure the tape forms a straight line, parallel to the seam. That way when you finish, you can pull the tape away and have a nice, straight bead of sealant.
- Apply the sealant starting at one corner and run an even bead straight across to the other corner. Use even pressure on the trigger of the caulk gun and a steady motion.
- Smooth out the bead with a caulk tool or a damp finger. Try not to leave any gaps or overlap marks.
- If you placed masking tape, it can now be carefully removed.
- Allow the sealant to dry for the specified time before using the shower.
Best silicone sealant for your shower
When selecting a sealant for your shower, choose one formulated for that purpose. Then, based on the information above and the materials in and around your shower, decide which type of sealant you prefer.
Here is a shortcut that will save you time and effort. Loctite Re-New is a revolutionary product that can be used right over top of old sealants, even if they are discoloured or mouldy. Simply wipe the old sealant with some household cleaner and a damp cloth and apply the Re-New. Its unique dispenser makes for a perfect bead. Let it dry for 6 hours, and your shower is ready for use.