Recaulking a plumbing fixture--whether a sink, shower, or bathtub--is a great way to not only improve the aesthetics of your home, but also to prevent unwanted water damage. Yet it can be easy to cause unintended damage in a project like this. By arming yourself with the proper tools, you can greatly reduce the risk of such damage. This article will present three must-have tools for your next recaulking project.
Plastic Razor Blade
Before you ever pick up your caulk gun, you're going to need to get rid of the old caulk. A professional can accomplish this task with ease using a utility knife or a metal razor blade. Yet for those who don't have professional expertise, this can be a dangerous method. That's because sharp metal implements can easily chip, scratch, or otherwise mar the finish of a porcelain fixture.
There's no reason to run this risk. Instead, invest a couple of dollars on a plastic razor blade. Just like their metallic brethren, these super sharp blades make removing mildewed and/or crumbling caulk a breeze. But unlike a metal razor, they pose no risk to delicate fixtures, meaning you can attend to this vital step without worry.
Even though we've decided not to bring a metal blade into the caulk removal phase of the operation, there is still one job for which such a knife is ideal. You see, ensuring a nice smooth line of caulk has a lot to do with how even the tip of the tube is. Scissors, kitchen knives, and worn-out razor blades will all result in an uneven, jagged cut. Therefore, a fresh, unchipped utility blade is essential for cutting off the tip of the caulk tube.
The tips of most caulk tubes are clearly labeled as to where they should be cut. Yet it still helps to know a couple of things. First, the goal is to make a cut that leaves an opening of around 1/8" wide. Anything narrower and there may not be enough caulk to create a good seal; anything wider and the result will have an uneven, messy appearance. Ease of application is also increased by cutting the tip at an angle of 45 degrees.
Roll Of Painter's Tape
Here's another inexpensive tool to help ensure that your caulk comes out with a professional's neatness. All you have to do is align a strip of tape on either side of the area to be caulked--one on the wall just above the fixture, and one on the fixture itself. These will set nice, even boundaries for the caulk. Try to space the two strips of tape so that they are approximately 3/8" apart from one another.