Redoing caulk on sliding door shower

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Old 08-02-17, 12:27 PM
T
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Redoing caulk on sliding door shower

Hey there,

First post, so please be gentle.
First DIY as well. I'm broke, too, so I have to work with what I've got.

This is my first house and it appears that the former owners were flippers. The existing master shower has some kind of plastic or fiberglass base pan, and thin plastic molded panels for the walls. There is a metal frame with sliding glass shower doors - you know the kind of frame that collects hair and water and dirt and all sorts of gross things at the bottom. It looks like the flippers just put a super thin layer of white silicone caulk over the existing caulk to cover up the discolouration. Over the past year that I've been here, it's gotten more and more disgusting. Bleach does nothing, so I decided I need to rip out the caulk and redo it properly. I've read a few tutorials about how to prep and clean the surface, so I think I have the actual "how to apply the caulk" part down, for the most part. The issues I have trouble with are thus:

1) There are a couple really stubborn areas where the caulk is like cement. I have been using a triangular hand-held scraping tool to get the caulk out and so far it's been working really well, except for these two spots. Do I have to go buy one of those electric caulk strippers to get that out? What else might I use? I know it's hard to say because we don't know exactly what any of the materials are, so I guess there's not really a solvent to suggest...I really don't have a lot of tools, but I do have a small craft Dremel. Maybe one of the attachments for that will work? Maybe I should get a new utility knife and use that? Maybe a chisel type thing?

2) I started scraping the caulk from around the metal shower track at the bottom, and it started to come loose. There's also an indent at the bottom outside that was FILLED with a very thick strip of caulk. I thought it might have been foam at first, but as I pulled it out, I realized it was just another piece of caulking. Is that normal? Also, is that metal shower track base supposed to be just caulked into place or what? I honestly wish I could just tear out those disgusting doors, but I don't have the money to replace them with anything, so I am stuck there.

3) The drain in the shower is little more than a disgusting hole in the base pan with a rusted round grill resting over it. It's not even screwed in or snapped in. I was trying to find a replacement, and it looks like it's an odd size. The largest grill I found at Home Depot was way too small and had screws. Am I stuck trying to find something custom if I want to replace it?

Suggestions are very much appreciated. If you need pictures of anything, let me know. Edited to add I put some pics in a separate reply, but happy to provide more detail if needed.

Also, I'm off to a great start...apparently I put this in the wrong forum.

Thanks!

-T.
 
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Old 08-02-17, 12:32 PM
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Old 08-02-17, 01:44 PM
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Removing caulk can be really difficult. I use a multitude of tools: utility knife, 5 in 1, hammer, Rockwell sonicrafter, carbide grout saw, wood chisel, etc. Those look like some really wide caulk lines (maybe 1/2"?). If they are that wide, consider foam backer rod and probably apply caulk in 2 layers. Most important, clean, clean clean. I use denatured alcohol after scrubbing the gross stuff. Even if you can't get every piece of caulk out, remove enough so that a smooth bead can be applied over in in the channel. When using silicone caulk, I sometimes mask it with tape to control the spread. Remove the tape immediately after caulking and tool the tape ridge with a finger wetted with denatured. Good luck.
 
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Old 08-02-17, 02:53 PM
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Yes! Foam backer rods. Thank you. I heard about those when looking into some concrete gap issues outside as well. There's an issue I didn't even think of. Some of these gaps are indeed disturbingly wide. It looks kind of like they did a terribly sloppy job of cutting the plastic shower walls or something.
I do have masking tape and rubbing alcohol. And bleach. And CLR. And EasyOff (which is why I'm waiting for Open Window weather). I guess I'll go ahead and pick up a chisel and utility knife. I was indeed trying to get every single smidgen of caulk removed since it's just all so disgusting and old. Good to know I maybe don't need to be quite so ahem...retentive.

Thanks,
-T.
 
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Old 08-02-17, 07:36 PM
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Utility knife and patience and you will get the caulking out. Then once everything is dry (if using cleaning agents) use blue painters tape to mask off the area to be recaulked. Get an adhesive bathroom caulk with anti-mold agents and recaulk. Once done, immediately remove the blue tape and let the caulk set up for one or two days. As the beads are thick, may be more like two days. I wouldn't use backer as I don't think that they are that excessive.
 
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Old 08-02-17, 10:00 PM
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Thanks! I have this stuff right now to redo the caulking with, but somebody suggested I get 100% silicone instead.
https://goo.gl/photos/7it8pzdB7VvuhJzk7

Looks like I'm getting a utility knife. Somebody else suggested putting bleach on the stubborn caulk overnight to help it dissolve a little.

Much appreciated.

-T.
 
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Old 08-03-17, 06:48 AM
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I've never liked those squeeze bottles of caulking, IMO they are too hard to control. I can get a nice looking caulk job using a caulking gun but would struggle to do the same with a squeeze tube.
 
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