Tiles and walls in your bathroom are essential parts of bathroom aesthetics, especially if you have fixtures in it. There are a lot of ways to maintain the condition of your walls and tiles, such as recaulking and regrouting. These two methods of maintenance can be done on your own or hire a professional to do it for you. If you choose to do it on your own, follow these 5 pro tips for recaulking and regrouting your tub, shower, or countertop.
1. Educate Yourself
When you choose to do it yourself, you might as well learn the reason why they are applied. Many people interchange the use of grout and caulk, which also leads to applying grout to areas that should be applied with caulk. There are two primary factors that you should remember about caulks and grouts:
● Application: Caulk and grout are two distinct adhesive materials that connect the gaps and joints of your walls and tiles. Caulks are flexible adhesives that are best applied to vertical gaps, where walls meet, and horizontal gaps where tiles and other fixtures meet with the walls. Grouts are hard adhesives that are best applied to horizontal and vertical gaps of tiles, but not in any gaps that are usually damp or exposed to water.
● Types: There are different types of caulks and grouts that you can use for different purposes. For caulks, the two most common products are acrylic and silicone, where silicon is mostly used in bathrooms due to its waterproof and flexible characteristic. For grouts, the two most common products are epoxy and cement-based, where both are used in bathrooms but epoxy grouts have better benefits and more expensive than cement-based grouts.
While both adhesives are distinct, the tips in reapplying new adhesives are applied for both of them. Both of them are still essential parts in maintaining and cleaning your shower floor and walls on your bathroom.
2. Remove Old Caulk and Grout As Much As You Can
When you plan to recaulk and regrout your bathroom, it is critical that you should not place the new one on top of the old one. New caulks and grouts do not stick properly with old ones, and this defeats the purpose of maintenance. There are two ways you can remove them properly:
● Manual Scraping: Use a knife, painter’s tools, or any scraper material that has a sharp edge to reach the joints. Make sure that your scraper can fit the joints and remove caulk and grout without damaging the tiles.
● Oscillating Tool: You can also buy an oscillating tool to help you remove caulk and grout easily. You can go to your nearest hardware store and tell them where you would use it. It’s recommended to determine the measurement of the gaps in your tiles to buy that best fits your purpose.
Moreover, make sure that you let the surface dry and check for molds and mildews that might have been formed in the old caulk and grout. Damp and dirty surfaces could prevent a new adhesive from sticking properly.
3. Apply With Precision
In recaulking and regrouting your bathroom fixtures, you should observe how well the first one was applied, unless you were the one who applied it also. There are a few practices that professionals follow in applying caulk and grout on your bathroom.
You should follow these three common practices in recaulking gaps properly:
● Mask the surface beside the gaps: You do not want to run over and get messy with the adhesives. Some adhesives stick firmly with the material of your tiles or walls that it would be tough to remove them, and you might damage them in the process. To prevent this, you need to cover the area beside the gaps with any tape and follow along a straight line to where you want the adhesives to end.
● Use appropriate tools: You need a caulking gun to apply caulk on the gaps and not waste any leftovers. You also need to trim the tip of the caulk container to have an opening for the application. It’s recommended that when trimming the tip, you should use scissors, and you should trim it at 45-degree angle to apply caulk easily.
● Apply an even bead of caulk: The most common mistake that people do is putting too much or too less of caulk on the gaps. The trick to balance the amount of caulk on the gaps is to position the caulk gun almost perpendicular to the gap or the wall and move it along the gap just as fast as the silicone or acrylic is emerging from the container.
For reapplying grouts, there are usually instructions on the package of the product and the procedure is straightforward. Nevertheless, you should remind yourself of these three common mistakes that people seldom make:
● Mixing grout with too much water: There should be labels on the product indicating how much water should be added to the powder mixture to yield the best results.
● Applying grout to all surfaces immediately: You should make sure that you have the right grout product for your bathroom. It might be that you desire a colored grout that matches your tiles or the type of grout is not best for your tiles.
● Sealing grout immediately: You need to wait for the grout to cure before applying a sealant on it. Applying a sealant immediately would make the sealant less effective for protecting your tiles from molds and mildew.
4. Work in Sections
Always work with the finishing touches in your thoughts. It is best to work slowly but surely rather than working quickly but the result is not as admirable as it should have been. The best way to produce a well-finished application is to work in sections:
● For recaulking: you can divide the long straight gap into three sections and apply an even bead of caulk in each section, one after the other. This would give you more time to smoothen the adhesive before it dries.
● For regrouting: you can work in a two feet by two feet area first, then use that same dimension on another area until all areas are finished.
5. Finish With a Damp Rag
With any adhesive that you apply, you should make sure to clean your work with a damp rag. For grout applications, you can use wet sponges to remove the haze that remains after applying the sealant with the grout.
For caulk applications, it’s recommended to finish your work using your hands. This might be tiring if you have long gaps, but it should be easy if you work in sections. You can do this in two simple ways:
● Finish with bare hands: You can easily smoothen the applied caulk by moving your hands on top of the caulk and along the covered gap. Make sure to apply the same pressure on all parts of the caulk to maintain an even surface finish. You can easily wash the caulk on your fingers with alcohol or any soap products.
● Finish with a damp rag: You can also use a damp rag to wipe on top of the adhesive and follow it to the end. This would keep your fingers clean and easily manage excess adhesive that goes on the tile or the wall.
After wiping the surface with a damp rag, you can peel off the tape that you have applied before, if there are any.
Recaulking and regrouting your bathroom is not an easy task to do, but require long hours to ensure an excellent finished service. It’s always recommended to hire a professional to do the job if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. At all times, do some research and always avoid repeating mistakes that you saw on some people.