How to Caulk Bath Area Properly


Question: We rent a home with a fiberglass bathtub. The shower portion or the wall above the bath is thicker than the rim of the tub and creates an inverted shelf that the water runs into. The caulking everywhere is rotting and is especially bad under that shelf. We only have one bath, so we have to use it.

I clean and scrub a layer away and a couple of days later it’s all the same. I feel like my shower is rotting around me. What can I do to remedy the situation short of ripping the whole thing out?

Also, the aluminum on the sliding doors is rusting and the drain is beginning to clog. I’ve tried chemicals and even tried removing the plug to try to stick an auger down, but I can’t figure out how to remove it. I believe it’s getting clogged up from all the decayed caulking from cleaning. Any advice would be so appreciated.


Answer: It really doesn’t make any difference how the connection occurs between the tub and the shower walls as long as the joint is properly caulked. Having said that, the big deal is getting rid of the old mildewed caulk and properly applying a new layer. Use caulk solvent to get the old stuff out. Then clean the connection with a scrub brush and lots of chlorine bleach. Rinse with water and use a hairdryer to completely dry everything out. Wait 24 hours and apply a new coat of silicone caulk to the joint. Caulk will not bond to a wet surface or where water vapors are present.

Call a plumber to deal with your clogged drains. Let him or her show you how to access all drains, show you where clean-outs are and help you establish a maintenance procedure. You’ll only have to pay the plumber once.