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Question DetailsAsked on 12/4/2013

who is best to recaulk and grout a bath tub? Handyman? Tile pro?

New ceramic tile and new tub put in about 10 yrs ago. Tile guy grouted between the tub and tile walls. Grout came out fairly quickly. We have replaced it with a silacone putty that has kept it from leaking till now. Its time to have it done. I read that some tile guys wont do such a small wonder if a handy man would be better?

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4 Answers


Many Handymen have the skills to do this type of job. I myself would recomend a tiler though if you can get one to do a small job. The problem is many handymen will use the silicone caulk that you used. If you are carefull with the selection you can find mildew resistant silicone but the problem with it is it tends to pull away from the tub and tile surfaces. If you go to your Home Depot, Lowes, tile store or local hardware store you should be able to find caulk that matches your grout and in my experience lasts way longer than silicone. Every caulk has it purposes and you should pick one out accordingly. When I do a tile tub or shower I do not grout the joint by the tub but always use this type of caulk.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


I use Dap #18008 Kwik Seal Tub and Tile Adhesive Caulk, which may or may not be what Don was talking about - is a siliconized latex that bonds like an adhesive but is quite waterproof like a silicone caulk, and resists mold quite well. Applies easily, and smooths out easy with a wet shaping tool or finger. If it does not come out soft and creamy, toss it - once it ages about a year unopened or a month or so opened it gets stiff and crumbly and lumpy and is useless. Small tubes are available, so just don't get a bigger tube than you are likely to use at one time - not real expensive.

Your tile guy made a mistake, as you figured out - you should never use grout between dissimilar surfaces or where movement is possible, like at tile to baseboard or tile to tub or shower liner interface, because these joints open and close and move due to thermal and moisture changes and changing weight on them from people moving around. Another place grout tends to crack quickly is the vertical corner joints in showers and shower-baths - I advocate grouting those places, but then running a smoothed bead of Dap down the corner after the grout is dried, because otherwise you tend to get a crack due to thermal expansion of the wall during hot showers, and shrinkage afterward. Around faucets, behind faucet chromed covers, around tub spouts, along shower door frames, around basins mounted on countertop, backsplash joint to countertop, and small popouts of grout in showers are other places where this product works well, provided the color suits you - only available in white, clear and almond. The clear is glossy looking in place, so it not invisible.

If you need a specific color to suit you, there is a very pricey prioduct made by Hybri-sil called Duo-Sil that comes in 130 different colors - it is a silicone product, so useful only as a joint caulk, not to replace grout.

This sort of job is one most homeowners can handle on their own - check out a couple of how to videos, try a small tube, don't cut the tip large, and learn how to smooth the seam with a wet finger or smoothing tool. The key is to not start smearing it all around - tube it on, take ONE and ONLY ONE pass to smooth it, then let it be. If you have a thin spot or two you can touch them up after it has cured. Just be sure not to break tile or scratch the tub finish taking the old grout out (there are cheap grout removal tools that also work on caulked joints) and you can't really do any harm, and at worst you will be out about $15-20 for sealant and tool versus $100 plus for a worker to come in and do it. Should take about 2-3 hours for a beginner to remove the sealant around a tub and put on the new - half that or less the second time around.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


This is a job that some handy homeowners can handle as said in the other post. The caulk I am talking about is not a generic one. Almost all the grout manufacturers have it, it comes in sanded and no sanded and most every color you can think of. If you want to try it yourself I would say your first step would be to go to the store and get a color chart, the big box stores like HD and Lowes have them for free in the tile department. Bring it home and try to match the color as closely as is possible (it is amzing how many whites there are) once you have a color that seems like it will work go back to the store and buy it along with the grout removal tool mentioned and a grout smoothing tool (should each be under $5) and a pack of razor blades for scraping. Once you dig out the old grout clean out the joint with a brush and a damp sponge, I also clean the adjoining surface with soap scum remover. Once you have a clean joint you can cheat and put painters tape on each side to help contain the mess (I don't) cut the caulk tube at a angle and pucture the inner seal with a long nail or a skewer from the kitchen (if it has one). I work from the corners in with the caulking gun holding it at an angle and just slow down when I meet in the middle. Once you fill the joint run the grout smoothing tool, your finger or even a plastic spoon to remove the excess and smooth it. I use my finger held again at an angle and just wipe what I removed on a paper towel. Once you have it shaped use a damp (not wet) sponge to finish it off. They do have special sponges for tile work in the tile department that are better than a regular household one. They are larger and firmer so you don't wipe out too much, I sort of fold them into the corner for better control. I did mention the razor blades but a utility knife would be best for cutting the tube and you will need a caulking gun also, I would say to spend a bit more and get the friction rather than the ratchet one as you will have more control. The grout removal and clean are often the hardest part. Good luck.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


A couple of afterthoughts that came to me after reading Don's second post-

1) wash off and rewet your finger or smoothing tool after EVERY run, and make each run as lon as you reasonably can, ideally two per wall starting in the corners. The caulk sticks to anything it touches, so a bare caulk forming tool or finger tends to catch and roughen or peel it up. Most caulks are silicone-modified latex so water works to prevent sticking - with some silicone only products you have to look at the cleanup liquid onthe label and use that for wetting - typically paint thinner or laquer thinner works for those types, though some tilelayers use a small dish of water and a good shot of Joy soap for that type. You have to experiment on a test piece - just nail a board offset on another to make a reentrant corner and test it there to get your technicque down and find out what type of non-stick you need for your brand caulk. Some say on the tube or the manufacturer website video, some do not address it at all.

2) On caulk forming tools, if you want to go that way - I find the really cheap 4-sided nylon ones work best - metal tends to stick to and peel up the caulk surface easier.

3) When using razor blades to remove old caulk, it is pretty hard to damage any glazed tile, but it you cut in on the edge of the tile under the glaze many are soft enough to cut and spall, so keep it angled so you are working with the glazed edge as a guide. Also, razor blades WILL cut or scratch through the enamel or porcelin on most tubs - so go easy with that, and instead of slicing like with a knife, use a pressing motion directly away from you with the full blade width from tub toward tile to get the old caulk off the tub, with zero or only a slight lateral slicing motion, then a cut along the tile face to the tub to cut the back edge. That way, if you slice the tub finish it will be buried in the caulk, both for appearance purposes and so you do not get rusting. I just use single-edged razor blades in a heavy-duty holder, or a utility scraper like this -

though some people like teflon grout gouges like this -

3) When cutting the tube tip start with slicing off just a small bit first - you can always reslice for a larger bead later, but can't go to a smaller bead. It does not take a large opening to get the amount you need - usually at the first cut mark on the tube, and slice at about a 60-45 degree angle - I like 45 degrees, others find it works better with a sharper angle on the cut so the tube is laying flatter to the bead as you run the bead. And always run the bead pulling the caulk tube away from the finished bead - not running into the bead. Do NOT cut with scissors or diagonal cutters or such to cut the tube - you will crimp the end and create a burr on the inside that results in an uneven bead and "surging" of the flow - use a sharp utility knife or razor blade to cut the tube end for best results.

Good luck - most people who do it yourself then say - Gee - we could redo all the grout, oh and the backsplash joint at the countertop, and along baseboards in the bath and kitchen, and under outside door thesholds, and ... and .. and - just think of what this could do for the honey-do list !

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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