Sealing the shower surrounding with caulk makes it impervious to water for several years. However, it doesn’t last forever. Over time, the sealant can become messy and ineffective. Simply put, caulking can crack, shrink, wear or even discolor.
So, in the long run, your bathroom surrounding will become vulnerable to water damage again. To avoid this, it’s important to change the sealant once in a while. And that starts with removing the old silicone caulk!
STEPS of Removing Silicone Caulk from Shower
There are various ways of removing old sealant from bathroom surfaces. However, we’ll follow the method of combining caulk removal tools and chemical solvents. The liquid solvent penetrates through the hard joint and destroys the bond. That way, it makes the sealant bead softer and easier to remove using handy caulking tools.
So, what is the easiest way to remove caulking? Let’s see –
List of Essential Equipment:
- Liquid solvent + Applicator
- Sealant tool/ Razor scraper
- Rubbing alcohol
- Soft cloth
- Gloves for safety
Step 1: Put on Safety Equipment
Although some solvents are completely safe-to-use, it’s good to take precautions. Besides, some chemical removers contain skin-irritant toxic ingredients that can be harmful to your hands. Also, the sharp scraper head might be dangerous when you’re not aware of it. So, it’s always the best practice to be concerned about your safety.
Step 2: Apply Sealant Bead Softener
Pick your best caulk remover based on the project at hand. Then, simply apply the solution to the old caulk bead along the surface you want to re-caulk. The sealant softener chemical should cover the entire joint area to penetrate the bond easily.
Hence, you might use a small brush tip to spread it around.
Just a quick note, there are various types of adhesive removal solutions to choose from. We recommend you choose a spray bottle or, squeeze tube that is easy-to-use and wastes controlling. Furthermore, since we’re heading to remove silicone caulk in the bathroom, choose a solvent that’s compatible with silicone.
Step 3: Allow the Solution to Work
Let the adhesive remover sit on the hard sealant for about 2 to 3 hours. This gives the solution enough time to weaken the inner structure of the hardened adhesive. If you’re removing multiple layers or very old caulk, you have to be very patient. Therefore, you can leave the solution overnight. This makes it easier to remove the adhesive.
Step 4: Strip the Softened Sealant
Now it’s time to scrape away the softened caulk bead. We recommend that you peel off the sealant in strips, if possible! This ensures that most of the sealant comes off in long strips. Use a specialized adhesive removal tool where bathroom walls meet a sink, countertop, or tub. This helps you to tear away the adhesive cleanly. Just make sure you take extra precautions if the tools are sharp. This will protect the shower surrounding from scratches.
Step 5: Clean the Surface
When you’re done, use alcohol to clean the surface thoroughly. This eliminates any residue or scum from your bathroom tiles or tub. After that, brush the surface with a clean cloth dampened with a non-ammoniated cleaning solution or bleach. That will kill any mildew or mold in the area.
That’s it! You have effectively removed old adhesive from your bathroom surroundings!
Why Old Shower Caulk Removal is Important?
There are many reasons for getting rid of old shower caulk. But the main purpose is to apply a new adhesive bead to make the space look new again. You shouldn’t apply a new sealant over the old moldy layer. The reason is that the new caulk bead won’t adhere properly because of the residue. Hence, you won’t be able to achieve a 100% watertight seal.
Bathroom sealers tend to lose some adhesion over time. So, that allows water and moisture to seep in beneath the sealed surfaces. For this reason, the sealant is unable to protect the surroundings from water damage anymore.
This can also promote mold and mildew growth on the surface. And, if you expose yourself to it for a long time, it will promote some health risks.
Lastly, old caulking can deteriorate because of age or decomposition. This can also happen if you had used the wrong adhesive type. In any of these cases, you must get rid of old caulk to seal and retreat the area properly.
Doing so will ensure that some of those issues don’t happen again!
Now that you’ve successfully removed old caulk from your shower surroundings, the surfaces are ready for resealing. However, let the surfaces air dry completely before you apply a new bead. Even though hard caulk removal is time-consuming, it’s worthwhile.
It makes the new bead look better and adhere strongly to the surface. Contrarily, if you do it wrong, you may end up damaging or scratching the tub or tiles. Luckily, this article contains everything you need to know about safe and effective caulk removal.
Well, that brings us to the end of the caulk removal process! Hopefully, you’ll now be able to undertake your bathroom improvement projects easily.
1. Does vinegar or, acetone remove silicone sealant from tiles?
Yes, acetone and vinegar tend to dissolve silicone. Thereupon, you might use them to weaken the bond between silicone caulk and tiles for easy removal.
2. What chemical softens silicone caulk so easily?
We recommend you use a commercial caulk softener. While homemade solutions will provide you a good result, they are time-consuming to prepare and become a hassle for a quick project. To give you the name, we liked the GOO-GONE product.
3. Does bleach damage silicone caulk while cleaning residue?
Although bleach is effective in cleaning grout it can damage silicone sealant. Besides, bleach produces dangerous fumes, so you need to be careful when handling it.
4. Can I follow the same process for latex caulk?
Of Course, you can use the same process for removing latex or acrylic latex sealants. However, just be aware that you pick a latex solvent for your project.
5. Can you put a new sealant over the old layer?
Although it’s possible to reseal over old sealant, NEVER do it! Instead, make sure you get rid of every bit of old caulk before you apply a new adhesive bead. This increases its ability to adhere to the surface and prevent mold and mildew growth.