Optimum caulk line thickness for bathtub? Inside corner technique?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by AcidWater, May 4, 2021 at 6:27 AM.

  1. AcidWater

    AcidWater Member

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    You can cut the caulk tube to make any diameter caulk line. Then you smooth it and it spreads out.
    So what is the best diameter to use, and radius of the smoothing tool? Is a concave finish or a straight 45 deg line best?

    I suppose you want a diameter larger than the gap between the tile and tub, but how much?

    And none of the smoothing tools ever show how to do neat inside corners.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 6:59 AM
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Oct 28, 2009
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    Retired
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    Orlando, Florida
    It's practice, practice and more practice with experience. And yes all those gizmos just don't work.

    One of the easiest ways to caulk a tub with good results is to use painters tape. With every clean surfaces run tape about an 1/8 of an inch on the wall and tub surface, fill the gap with caulking and smooth it out but leave a then level over the tapes edge. As the caulking starts to skin over, about 10-15 minutes, then remove the tape. I used this method when using silicone with frameless shower glass. There are youtube videos on this method.

    The thickness has a lot to do with the gap needed to fill. What happens a lot with tubs is if it is on a wooden floor, seasonal humidity change and floor settling will change the gap size and caulking may pull away. On a concrete slab it never moves. Two things for a good bead is cut the tube end as small as possible and second is how much to feed. I always use a gun to apply long beads of caulk and for a tub I try to make the bead as vertical as possible. It not possible to get the corner perfect so a wet finger is usually needed to smooth out. A thin bead it would not show much if it's not perfect. It's why I like siliconized caulk, if you mess up you can wipe it off with a wet rag and start over.

    As always, having a clean surface to caulk on is the most important. If old caulking is being remove having a package of razor blades to get all the old stuff out. Rub it down with alcohol to remove any crude that might remain. If the gap is more than a 1/4" do it in stages. Fill the gap and with a putty knife or other tool push the caulking in but not to the tile edge and further in on the tub surface You want a little reveal at the tile for the second coat of caulking to do the next day. One little trick to learn is when doing a bathtub rim is point the nozzle of the caulking tube almost horizontal, about 75-80 degrees to the wall, not 45 degrees down from the top. You want it to go just past the vertical line of the tile on the tub surface. You don't want to be too concave because the caulk gets very thin at the edge and it then pulls away or lifts off overtime. This is where using painter tape comes in handy.
     
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  4. AcidWater

    AcidWater Member

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    Do you like to push or pull the caulking gun? At what angle in relation to the direction of motion?
    I have always liked the PolySeamSeal siliconized caulk. Not had a good time using pure silicon.
     
  5. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    A slight push. By pulling the caulking doesn't fill the gap and may lift the caulking. When I do molding to fill the seams at the wall or ceiling, I'll do both, start on the left by pulling but feed a little more and then transition to push. I can do about six or seven feet at a time in one motion before have to move to another position. It took a lot of years doing my own molding before I mastered it. I haven't found any siliconized caulking that is bad. They all seem to work the same. The only time I use 100% silicone is attaching an under mount sink to the counter top. Recently I bought a small tube of clear siliconize caulking. It starts out white then changes to clear so it eliminates the use of clear silicone for the most part.
     
  6. AcidWater

    AcidWater Member

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    I'd like to see a video of how to push without either going too fast & not leaving enough caulk or too slow and having a glob plow up in front of the tip. Every time I squeeze on the gun handle, I have to alter the speed to match the sudden increase in flow rate.

    I usually pull, watching a small glob on the side I'm pulling towards, and making sure the glob stays constant.

    I also place the tip in contact with the horizontal & vertical surfaces, which may be incorrect, but that's the only way I can figure out to keep the tip at a constant distance as it moves. Probably need to figure out the right size to cut the hole, too.

    I don't do this very often, but I need to do two tubs & the floors.
     
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