You started with tiling your bathroom. Then, you moved on to painting those tiles. You even changed your bath tap! And now this! Is the sealant around your bath looking like there’s something wrong with it? The time has come to replace it. By replacing the sealant around your bath, you will freshen up the whole room’s look as well. It is a simple task that you can do yourself without having to spend money on expensive plumbers.
Whether you are renovating your bathroom and adding a new bathtub or simply refreshing your old one, you need to learn how to seal a bath the right way. Read this article and find all the steps that you need to follow to avoid damages and mistakes. Let’s have a look!
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Why should I seal a bath?
Whether it is a new tub or you are sealing your current one, it is a straightforward task for a DIYer. In the UK, the most common bathtubs are the straight baths installed against one wall.
Since the bathtub contains huge volumes of water, it is prone to leaking. Imagine all the water that is very likely to flow over the edge of the bath! When this water ends up on the floor, it leads to flooding, rotting, moulding, etc. All this water damage, mould growth and moisture build-up can only give you extra trouble in the future. And no one wants that! Resealing your bath is an easy way of refreshing your bathroom and giving it a new lease of life, particularly if the current sealant is looking slightly worn out.
What to seal a bath with?
Some of you might be wondering what to seal your bath with. You can seal your bathtub using a flexible caulking strip. The strip is a simple self-adhesive that you can cut to fit the gap between the wall and your tub. The strips are easy to use, adhere to most sanitary materials, and create a watertight seal around the sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc.
The most common bath sealant, though, is silicone. You might have heard it before, as silicone is one of the most versatile materials to use in such cases. To seal your bath with silicone sealant, you will need the following things:
- Safety gloves
- Safety glasses
- Utility knife
- Masking tape
- Caulking cartridge gun
- Silicone sealant
- Silicone applicator
- Sealant gun
If you are resealing your old bathtub, you will have to remove the existing silicone as well. For that, you will need:
- Sealant remover
- Sealant removal tool/Safety knife
- Methylated spirit
- Soft cloth
Step-by-step guide: How to seal a bath properly
Now that you know what tools and equipment you need to seal your bath correctly, it is time to start with your project. Whether you have a straight bath, corner bath, or whirlpool bath, you can adjust this tutorial accordingly and have the results that you want.
1. Remove old sealant
If you are installing a new tub, you can skip this step. For creating a new seal, you have to remove the old sealant first. With the help of a sealant remover or a box cutter, remove the existing layer.
Make sure that you don’t scratch the surfaces. To remove any small pieces of the sealant that might still be remaining, go back over the area with tweezers. Dip a soft cloth in methylated spirit, and wipe down the area to make sure the excess sealant had been removed completely. Also, white spirit (turpentine) can get the job done as well. Make sure that you don’t scratch the tiles or walls while you are doing this. Check our guide for more information.
2. Tape the edges
Make sure that the workspace is clean and nothing is lying around the bathtub. The first thing you have to do is to take the tape and place it around the edges of your bathtub.
This will mark where you are going to put the sealant. Start from the back corner of the tub – the corner which is farthest from the door – and all the way around. Keep a distance of at least 3 mm between the wall and the tape. This will ensure that the sealant has an excellent finish.
3. Prepare the sealant
From this point on, you will have to wear your safety gear. With the help of a knife, cut the silicone open. Before you attach the nozzle of the silicone, we recommend that you cut the tip at a 45-degree angle.
This will make it easier for you to apply it. Now place the silicone into the caulking gun. The silicone gun will act as a pump and will squeeze the silicone out of the tube.
4. Apply the sealant
Get as close as possible to the edge of your bath and apply the sealant with the help of the silicone gun. Try to keep the movement as smooth as possible. Start from the farthest corner – just like you did with the masking tape.
Doing this will ensure that you don’t ruin any new sealant that you have put down by touching it. For instance, if three walls surround your bathtub, you should start to form the top and then go in a C-motion.
If it is possible, you should apply silicone to both the wall and the base. Want a pro-tip? You should fill the bath with water when you are applying the sealant. The weight of the water will make sure that the sealant won’t crack when you use the tub later.
With the help of the sealant applicator, you have to smooth the sealant edge. You can use your wet fingertip or a wooden spoon in case you don’t have an applicator. This will ensure that no germs, dirt, mould, or mildew can get behind it.
Remove the masking tape. The sealant will take almost 24 hours to completely set. Make sure that your bathroom, or at least the bathtub, is off-limits while you wait for the sealant to cure.
How to seal a bath with a large gap
Is there a large gap between the wall and your bathtub? The gap might be due to poor installation, or maybe something is preventing the bathtub from being positioned correctly. Don’t worry – you can still seal it even if it has such a large gap.
The first thing you need to do is to remove any pre-existing silicone and re-install the bath as close to the wall as possible. After that, simply go through the steps that we have mentioned above.
What to do if you can’t re-install the tub correctly? If this is the case, you have two options. The first option is to use a bonding material and adhesive to plug the gap. Once the adhesive dries, you can seal the bath normally.
The second option is to go with flexible strips. Cut the strips to fit the length of the gap. Peel the backing, and apply the strip in place to fill the gap completely.
Is the sealant around your bath going mouldy or is starting to lift? It is time to replace it. Why spend your hard-earned money on plumbers while you can seal your bath in easy DIY steps? Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be able to do it like a pro! Here’s to a perfectly sealed bath, folks!