How to Recaulk a Leaking Shower

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  • 3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50
What You'll Need
Waterproof caulking designed for bathroom use
Caulking gun
Utility cutter
Putty knife
Silicone remover
Disinfectant cleaner
Mildew stain remover
Nylon scrub brush
Paper towels and cleaning cloths
Rubber gloves

A leaking shower will damage your bathroom walls, floor, and the adjacent rooms. It promotes harmful mold and mildew growth, which will trigger allergic reactions and other respiratory health problems. As soon as you detect a shower leak, recaulk it to prevent further damage. Follow these steps to recaulk your shower.

Step 1 -Use only quality caulking and tools

100% silicone caulking is the best caulking for bathrooms. It comes in a clear or opaque white formula. Choose whichever type suits the decor of your bathroom best. Buy a caulking gun with a strong spring to neatly expel the caulking from the tube.

Step 2 - Remove all existing caulking from the shower area

Slice into the existing caulk around the shower arm with the utility knife. Move down the border between the shower tiles, wall, and tub. Once you have made a small cut, detach the rest in long strips with a gentle pull. Use the knife to remove the larger pieces and remaining bits. Clean off the remains with a silicone remover. Be careful not to scratch tiles, vinyl, or chrome fixtures.

Step 3 - Clean the previously caulked area

Remove most of the visible mold and mildew with a disinfectant cleaner. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water, then spray the mildew stains with a mildew stain remover. Scrub the stains with a nylon scrub brush that will not scratch the tiles. Rinse the shower area once more and allow it to dry for 2 hours with the bathroom fan running.

Step 4 - Locate the leak

The leak will usually be near the top of the shower arm. It could also be trickling from the border between the edges of the tub and the tile walls.

Step 5 - Apply the new caulking

Load the caulking gun and cut a .25-inch diameter slice from the tip at an angle. Press the caulking gun handle slowly to expel the caulking directly around the shower arm, the tile edges, and the tub-tile border. Apply caulking to the tiled corners of the shower walls as well. Wearing your dampened rubber gloves, smooth the caulked bead with your fingers. A mixture of water and dish detergent also works great for smoothing the caulking as it keeps the caulking from sticking to your gloved finger. Wipe away the excess caulk with a damp cloth.

Step 6 - Let the caulked seams dry

Do not use your shower for a full day after caulking to allow the seams to dry and become firm. Caulking repels water best when it has solidified completely.

Inspect the caulking once a year and maintain it as needed. Springtime is a good time to take care of these issues.