Are there better alternatives to caulking around the bathtub? And if so, how good and reliable are they? In this guide, I will mention and explain the other sealants that you can use around your bathtub and still get the same or better results!
Due to the fact that they’re constantly damp, showers and tubs are prone to growing mold and mildew. Once mold has set in, it tends to grow pretty quickly.
In an effort to stop this from happening, many homeowners use caulk to line the corners of their shower or tub. Unfortunately, caulk is not meant to last forever and after just a few months, it begins to peel and crack, thus rendering it useless.
Rather than driving yourself mad by having to constantly purchase and re-caulk your bathroom, you should instead try to look for a solution that is meant to last.
Before getting started, it’s important to know what caulk is. Silicon, acrylic, or latex are typically the materials that make up caulk, which is an umbrella term for a number of sealing agents.
Although caulk is easy to apply, it’s not the most reliable material to use in a bathtub. People tend to use caulk around their bathtubs so that water is not able to seep behind the surface of the tub where it can then foster or grow mold.
The walls of a shower and bathtub are the most susceptible areas in a bathroom where mold can grow.
To keep your bathroom in tip-top shape, it’s important to do constant inspections in your bathtub and shower to make sure there are not open spaces where water can easily slip through the walls.
Alternatives To Caulking Around The Bathtub
Instead of using caulk, homeowners should consider other alternatives to use in their bathroom that won’t deteriorate as quickly.
One of these alternatives is an epoxy resin sealer, which can create a permanent bond in the corners of the tub. Not only that, but an epoxy resin sealer also gives the bath a sleek appearance and blends in with its surroundings.
This option is great because it helps protect the floor from bacteria as well as stains. Unlike caulk, an epoxy resin sealer won’t crack in dry conditions. Even better, it comes in a variety of shades to match your bathtub.
Putty and grout are also other alternatives to caulk that you can use to seal your bathtub. However, putty tends to be more of a temporary fix and probably won’t hold up any longer than the caulk will.
Grout is a good permanent option but it can be difficult to remove so be sure to apply it carefully so as not to get it in areas where you don’t want it.
Sealant tape is yet another option to use when you don’t have caulk handy or you do not want to use it. Again, sealant tape is not meant to last forever but is merely a temporary solution until you can find a permanent one.
Lastly, peel and stick trim or cord can also be used. This material is made for bathtubs as well as windows and doors. It is a seamless way to cover the seam you are sealing without having to deal with a messy caulking gun and messy clean up.
The sealer is meant to create a waterproof barrier that is sure to keep water out of your bathtub walls, thus preventing mold and mildew from forming.
Why Does Caulk Deteriorate So Quickly?
There are a few reasons why caulk doesn’t last very long, and this has a lot to do with the material it is made out of. When caulk starts to lose its adhesion, it becomes easier for moisture to slip in underneath it, thus causing mold to grow.
On the other hand, if the caulk is too dry, it will begin to crack and shrink. This ends up causing gaps in corners of the tub or shower and again, allows for mildew and mold to grow.
Mold can then continue to grow onto the caulk itself, contributing to its deterioration. Certain bathroom cleaners can also cause caulk to break down.
Many people may also be unknowingly using the wrong type of caulk in their bathrooms which also reduces its lifespan.
How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Replace Caulk?
There are several warning signs that will tell you when it’s time to replace or get rid of the caulk altogether. For one, you can physically see the deterioration.
But secondly, you’ll be able to smell it. Bacteria tends to build up and can cause a pinkish substance that looks like mold. Aside from the fact that it’s gross to look at, it can also make you sick.
This type of bacteria, known as Serratia marcescens, is known to cause meningitis, pneumonia, infections in urinary tracts, respiratory tracts, and wounds. It can also cause infections in the eyes.
To replace the caulk, you must first remove it and then clean the area where the caulk was removed from. This will help not only remove any remaining caulk but will also clean any stains or mold left behind.
You can use a razor blade to remove the caulk if you’re having a hard time with it. A caulk softener may also come in handy during the removal process.
When the tub is dry, you can add in your caulk alternative. If you want to make sure that the lines are even, consider using painter’s tape along the areas where you plan to seal.
Once you’re done, be sure to let the substance dry completely, especially if you plan on painting over it. Be sure to clean up any excess material and go over any lines to make them as smooth as possible.
Caulk Versus Sealant
Many people get caulk and sealant mixed up, and while they are similar, they are not the same. As mentioned earlier, caulk is made from silicone, latex, or acrylic and for the most part, is meant to be used outside.
Sealant on the other hand, is made from flexible material such as silicone and is water resistant. It is generally safe for indoor use.
Both caulk and sealant can be used to repair and install a bathroom, despite the fact that caulk isn’t meant to be used indoors.
However, both materials are used for sealing cracks, keeping wallpaper from peeling, creating a watertight seal in your bathroom, and revitalizing pre-existing tile surfaces.
Sealant is much more effective in bathrooms because it’s waterproof and resistant to temperature changes. Caulk and sealant can both be applied using a caulking gun, which is easy to use and makes the application process that much easier.
Although caulk can make a good temporary solution to any cracks or damage to your bathtub, you can’t count on it forever.
Typically, the lifespan of caulk is less than five years, so you can expect to replace it at least once within that time frame.
Caulk can be annoying to replace, especially if you’ve been recaulking your bathtub over old caulk for the past several years. This can make the removal process that much more difficult.
Instead of having to replace your bathtub caulk, consider using a caulk alternative such as an epoxy resin sealer, which is not only more durable than caulk, but creates a neat and discrete appearance in your bathtub.
Hello, my name is David Zal and I’m a plumber with more than 20 years of experience based in Englewood (Florida). I like to teach normal people how to make easy fixes in their homes. I believe that a lot can be achieved just with DYI and that’s why I started this blog.