Bathtub Caulking: 4 Mistakes to Avoid

caulking a bathtub
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 5-50
What You'll Need
Caulking gun
Masking tape

Bathtub caulking can be applied and removed with a few steps, but avoid having to remove and reapply caulking because of some simple mistakes. Whether it is to make clean up a snap, or to prevent mold and damage to the caulking, keeping in mind some tips will help anyone avoid caulking mistakes.

1. Remove Old Bathtub Caulking

This is important to do before applying caulking. Caulking needs to be done quickly, so you shouldn't have to stop because you ran into some old caulking along the surfaces. Remove caulking completely before beginning to apply new caulking to avoid problems.

2. Easy Bathtub Caulking Clean Up

removing extra caulk with a finger

Avoid messy caulking around tiles and the bathtub. Before applying caulking, border the area you are working on with masking tape. The best caulking tool is your finger, so spread the caulking with your finger and let the tape catch the excess. You can remove the tape cleanly and avoid having to go back and clean up caulking from tiles or from the tub surface.

3. Accept No Substitute Caulking

Some stores sell self-adhesive caulking strips. They are meant as a replacement to the tube caulking you would buy for bathtubs. They don't work well, especially against water seepage. Use only the tube caulking. Also, make sure you apply the right caulking to the right surfaces.

4. Fill the Bathtub before Caulking

Don't caulk a bathtub without filling it with water first. If you don't fill it with water, the weight from the bathtub with water in it will pull away from the wall a little. Any caulking that was there will crack. Fill the bathtub first, then caulk. This will prepare the caulking for when the bathtub is full or empty.