The final step when installing a shower faucet is one that people often forget, but it's an important one. After you've secured the handle, you must seal the trim to the shower wall, or water will seep behind it and into the framing. You don't want that to happen because rotten framing may force you to pull the shower out after only a few years to make repairs. The best caulk to use in a shower stall is pure silicone. You can use the clear variety or one with a color that matches the wall.
Things You'll Need
- Silicone caulk
- Utility knife
- Caulking gun
Open a tube of clear or colored silicone caulk by cutting the nozzle at an angle with a utility knife to make a 1/4-inch hole. Puncture the inner seal of the tube with a nail and put the tube in a caulking gun.
Turn the trim plate over and lay it on a flat surface. Deposit a continuous bead of caulk around the outside edge, then install the trim. Press it against the shower wall and secure it with whatever screws are supplied with the faucet.
Spread another bead of caulk around the outside edge of the trim. Draw the tip in a continuous motion around the trim while you keep steady pressure on the gun trigger. Remove the tip as soon as you reach the end of the bead and depress the pressure-relief button on the gun to stop the flow of caulk.
Tool the bead by drawing your finger around the outside of the trim in a continuous motion. This action not only smooths the caulk, but it presses it against both surfaces to form the seal. Wipe the excess caulk off your finger with a damp rag.
Let the caulk dry overnight before you use the shower.
Tips & Warnings
- Rub your fingers with a mineral spirits after you're finished to remove any caulk that didn't come off with the damp rag.
- Silicone caulk has a strong vinegar smell that is merely disagreeable to some but may cause respiratory problems in other sensitive individuals, so keep the room well ventilated. The smell comes from acetic acid, which is also present in vinegar.
- If you're replacing trim that was previously installed, clean all the old caulk off, or the new caulk won't seal properly.
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