The Queen of Caulking

Once we moved into our house and started using the master bathroom regularly, we made a disturbing discovery.  Post shower, we found a puddle of water in the mudroom below the master bath.

Super uncool.  We couldn’t find where the leak was coming from and were a little leery to dive into tearing down our ceiling to get to it ourselves, so we took advantage of the home warranty we have and called in a plumber.  He diagnosed it as an issue with either the caulking around the shower, or a defect in the shower pan itself, neither of which were covered under our warranty.   We’re planning on gutting this bathroom anyway, but we’d like to use it until we do, so one Friday night I stopped on the way home from work and bought a tube of caulk along with a roll of painter’s tape.

You may be wondering about the painter’s tape.  Well, we’ve had some less than stellar results with caulking before, but this post from Young House Love tipped us off to a way to get a much cleaner looking caulk line.

Step one involved removing the old caulk.  This stuff was nasty!

I cut it out with a razorblade.

And then pulled it out in gross mildewy strips.

After removing the old stuff I wiped it down with some peroxide, and the dried it off with a clean rag.  I didn’t kill off all the nastiness, but I’m willing to live with a little hidden grossness for now, since this room is getting gutted anyway.

Then I applied painters tape on both sides of the seams I was planning to caulk.  I caulked both where the glass meets the shower threshold and where the shower threshold meets the floor.  Then it was time to pipe in the caulk.  This was some serious work, and after doing a few seams myself, I let Rich take over.

After applying the caulk along each seam, I got my finger damp at the sink, and used it to smooth out the line of caulk.  It was amazing, gave me perfect smooth caulk lines.  Which I neglected to photograph.  Sorry.

I pulled of the tape right after smoothing it, and we let it cure overnight before showering in there.  Now the bathroom is (mostly) leak free.  There’s a cracked tile we discovered that might have been a major offender in this whole leak situation, but as long as we keep the shower head directed away from that corner, we’re all good.

A word of caution:  We used clear caulk because, in my mind, white would look weird with all the pink tile.  I wish we had used white though, because it would have covered up some of the gunk behind the seams in some cases, especially inside the shower where the mildew is worse.  I don’t hate it enough to rip it out and start over, but I’d never use the clear caulk in a bathroom again.  Just more motivation to get started on the bathroom renovation sooner in my mind!

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2 Responses to The Queen of Caulking

  1. Martha says:

    Look at you! You’re caulking!
    But oh man. I got a pit in my stomach when I read about your leak. I hope the caulking works. Here’s to caulk!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Very smart! Love seeing the techniques from YHL!

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