My name is Kim Bennett, and I am the Creative Director here at 1080 Media. For the purposed of this blog, however, I am just “Kim” and will be posting about whatever I want. Sometimes, it might be about creative stuff – like my feelings about Myriad and anything labeled “default”, or my LOVE, LOVE, LOVE of typography and artwork! (which would tie in nicely to my feelings about myriad).
Today, however, I am going to post about caulk. The reason this is on my mind is because I just got finished caulking my bathtub and shower surround. This is the third time I’ve done it in the last six months, and hopefully the last. During this process, I’ve learned a few important things about caulk that I will now pass on to you so you don’t make the same mistakes and turn an already tedious project into a six-month tedious project.
NUMBER ONE – When the instructions tell you to scrape off the old caulk and clean the area, DO IT!
Yes, yes, it’s a pain in the you-know-what, but I’ve learned that it’s necessary. The first time I caulked, I thought that I would skip this step and save myself a lot of time. I put the new caulk over the old caulk. I did clean the old caulk well, but apparently this doesn’t matter. If you put new caulk over the old caulk, even if the old caulk is clean old caulk, then the new caulk will disintegrate as soon as water touches it. That’s right, it virtually melted. I was dismayed that after my first shower with my brand new shiny clean caulk, it turned to melty caulk. Back to square one.
To scrape or not to scrape? That was my next question. I decided on NOT. My thinking was the first time I used old caulk that I had lying around the house and that was the reason it didn’t stick. So, I went to my local very large (very, very large) discount department store that promised me that I’ll save money and live better. I bought brand new shiny caulk there and proceeded to caulk my tub and shower again. Which leads me to:
NUMBER TWO – Saving money does not equal better living. Do not buy cheap caulk.
With my cheap caulk in hand, I decided I was going better my living with shiny, waterproof caulk. I again ignored the instructions about scraping and cleaning and went directly to the application step. I was very precise and laid down a fantastic bead that any contractor would have been proud of. I am an artist after all, am I not? I have a steady hand and wow! can I draw a straight line. Even with caulk. After I was finished, I waited the appropriate amount of time; I even added half a day just to make sure it was good and dry. Guess what happened. Yes. Disintegration. Again. Dismay. Again.
I learned a valuable lesson. Follow directions. Scrape and clean before applying new caulk, and…
NUMBER THREE – Buy silicone, waterproof caulk that is specifically made for kitchens and baths. You can get this at one of the big home improvement stores for more money, but in this instance, it made for better living through expensive caulk.
This time, I followed all instructions. I scraped, cleaned, waited a few days to make sure it was dry in all the crevices, and finally applied the caulk correctly. Again, a nice even straight bead of shiny white caulk. Up and down and side to side I caulked until I could caulk no more. I waited three days to get the caulk wet to make sure it was set. Then, the moment of truth. Showertime. It worked! No melted caulk!
By the way, if you’re wondering why it took me six months to caulk my tub and shower three times, it was because I dreaded the job so much that I would wait weeks between applications before I tried it again. On the third time, I scraped and cleaned, waited a week or two, applied about half the caulk, waited a week or two, then finished just last week.
I tell you this precautionary tale to save you from the wasted time and hassle that I suffered. Follow directions (scrape and clean, people! scrape and clean!), and buy good product from an honest to goodness home improvement store. With these simple caulking rules, you may have a good caulk experience. You’re welcome.