How to Caulk a Shower Stall

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Whether you're replacing old caulk or have installed a new shower stall, you need to caulk the seams. Done correctly, the caulk gives the shower a completed look while providing a watertight seal along the seams. If you caulk a shower stall incorrectly, the seam may look lumpy and may allow water to leak into the walls behind the shower. With the right set of instructions, any do-it-yourself fan can complete the project like a professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Razor blade or needle-nose pliers
  • Detergent
  • Alcohol-based product
  • Mildew-resistant cleaner
  • Interior bathroom caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Container of water
  • Paper towels
  • Nail
  • Remove any old caulk surrounding the shower stall. Depending on the type of caulk, you may need to use a razor blade or a pair of needle-nose pliers. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the walls as you remove any old caulk -- the new caulk may not cover the damage.

  • Wipe the area where you plan to caulk with detergent and rinse the area clean. It can also help to use an alcohol-based product to remove any residual caulk. If you want to prevent mildew from growing along the seam, clean the area with a mildew-resistant cleaner or one that destroys mildew.

  • Dry the area completely. It is important to have the area free of any debris and moisture in order to get the best seal possible. Silicon-based caulk will not stick to old caulk and will allow moisture to get through the seal if you fail to remove all the old sealant.

  • Insert the caulk you plan to use into a caulk gun. Stores sell a variety of caulks, so make sure you have a caulk designed for interior bathrooms. Using the wrong caulk can prevent the shower sealant from working correctly.

  • Prepare to caulk the tub by getting a container of water and paper towels. To make the best seam, cut the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle, keeping the hole small enough to create a one-fourth-inch seam. Once you cut the hole, use a nail to pop the inner seal of the caulk tube, taking care not to enlarge the opening.

  • Determine the order in which you should caulk the shower stall. Start with the internal and vertical seams before you move onto the horizontal and external ones. When you caulk a vertical seam, move from top to bottom.

  • Place the caulk gun at a 45-degree angle to the surface and run a bead along the length of the seam. To make the best bead, apply a steady pressure to the trigger of the caulk gun, move at a consistent rate and keep the hole of the caulk tube flush to the wall. Once you finish a seam, dip your finger in the container of water and run your finger along the caulk bead to force the caulk into the seam. Use a moist paper towel to clean up any areas where you applied too much caulk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your finger needs to be wet in order to run smoothly over the caulk.

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