Tub/Shower Surround Caulk Theory

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Old 01-06-16, 10:21 AM
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Tub/Shower Surround Caulk Theory

I have 18 apartments and the caulk between the tubs and shower surrounds get moldy every few years causing a HUGE multi-hour job of removing the caulk. I have installed new timers for the bathroom exhaust fans and explain to tenants they need to run it at least an hour after showering, but those who claim they do (and care about mold), still get mold.

I have searched the internet high and low for a solution but most handymen, builders, and contractors simply reply with how they did it or what they used.

But these types don't live with the results like I do as a landlord/owner!

(1) Why do we caulk AT ALL?!! Every surround sits over the tub lip allowing any water to move downward ...it even allows for air to allow any moisture to evaporate. The only problem I see is there is no damn at the ends where the tub/surround meets the drywall.

(2) Latex caulk doesn't work well and polyseamseal cracks and fails after a year or two (they get moldy anyway even if they didn't). Silicon works great but once the mold sets in it's a disaster to remove because every trace of it must be gone for new silicon to adhere.

(3) Many are proponents of grout (since it breathes), but I can't see that working on my fiberglass tub/fiberglass surround.

I have seen a few websites that say DO NOT CAULK, but I fear I'll have wet drywall and even a bigger job.

Any thought are welcome ...thank you.
 
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Old 01-11-16, 09:54 AM
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Anyone care to chime in? ...I thought this was going to bring up a lot of debate!
 
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Old 01-11-16, 12:01 PM
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Mandate the use of exhaust fans to remove excess moisture in your bathrooms. Wire the fan with the light if you have too. Leaving the door open or the curtain open so the tubs dry between uses will also by you some time, but renters are renters, they are not invested in the building. The flange on the tub is not completely contiguous and ends at the leading edge of the tub. You end up with water that can not be contained withing the tub and instead of moldy caulking, you have rotten subfloor. I'll show you a picture of my current bathroom remodel and how much wood we had to remove and reframe once the floor tile was removed. A tube of caulk cost $6 and will do multiple tubs. Or you can redo the flooring and replace rotten floor joists, totally up to you. And yeah, grout is a bad idea.
 
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Old 01-11-16, 12:49 PM
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Heh, yeah I do advise all tenants to run the fan, keep the shower curtain open, even wipe down the caulk at the end of their shower with the towel they already have in their hand. It's not the $6 caulk (or the time it takes to caulk), it's the hours of time needed to remove silicon down to the thinnest film of every square inch.

So you're saying that caulk is always needed? I didn't know the lip built onto the tub didn't go all the way around it.
 
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Old 01-11-16, 01:03 PM
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This is what you are looking for.

MildewFree by Sashco - Mildew Resistant Caulk & Sealant
 
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Old 01-11-16, 01:06 PM
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I didn't know the lip built onto the tub didn't go all the way around it.
On a cast iron tub, the tile flange ends around 2 inches from the edge of the horizontal and then there is nothing going vertical to the floor. And either way, without caulk, the water would run under the tile and spill over the edge of the tub. You never know until the floor gives out. The user needs to make a good seal between the curtain and the tub to prevent this.

Here is that picture I referenced.

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