Caulk And Bathtub Crack Repairs To Stop Bathroom Leaks
If you notice water seeping from underneath your bathroom floor when you venture into your basement or if you notice a great deal of water across the floor when you take a shower or bath, then you have a potentially disastrous problem that needs to be repaired. If repairs are not made, then the floor or subfloor underneath the bathtub can begin to rot. To prevent this from happening, investigate the issue to determine whether or not the caulk or the bathtub itself is causing the problem and follow the tips below to make the best repair.
To start your investigation, begin by inspecting the caulk that runs across the top of your bathtub. If you see any breaks in the caulk or notice mold or areas where the material is pulling up, then the top portion of your bathtub is likely leaking. You have two options to make a repair. You can either replace the caulk or secure a sealant along the break. If much of the caulk seems to be breaking away, then a pull replacement is best. Purchase a tube of mildew resistant silicone caulk for this purpose. This type of caulk is flexible, waterproof, and durable.
Placing New Caulk
Remove the old caulk from the bathtub first with a razor blade. If some of the caulk is difficult to remove, then soak it in either mineral spirits or vinegar for an hour or two to soften it. Afterwards, place a thick bead of the new caulk around the bathtub and use a piece of cardboard to smooth it out. Clean up with mineral spirits if some of the caulk spreads to your hands.
If you do not want to replace the caulk, then you can use a resin filler material. However, the resin is more expensive than caulk, so use it only if you intend on fixing a bathtub crack as well.
If the caulk around the bathtub is in good shape or if you are concerned about a hole or crack in the side of the bathtub as well, then investigate the bathtub. Cracks and openings that form in fiberglass or acrylic bathtubs are often quite small and difficult to see. Locate a crack by lining the exterior of the bathtub with either tissue paper or newspaper. Secure the tub drain and fill the bathtub with water. Watch closely to see if the paper becomes wet. If it does, remove the paper immediately and mark the area with a piece of tape.
Drain the bathtub and remove the tape. Feel along the tub with your finger to find the crack. Once the crack is located, go to your local home store and purchase a resin epoxy patch or filler kit. Some of these kits will come with color additives or dyes to match the shade of your bathtub. Typically, this is only necessary if fiberglass mesh is needed to make the repair, and this occurs if the crack or opening is wider than one-eighth or one-quarter of an inch. For smaller cracks, the clear resin will work well and appear invisible.
Clean the bathtub crack and then mix a small amount of the epoxy resin and the hardening agent in a small container. Read the directions on the package to see how much of each ingredient you need. The resin will start to thicken within two or three minutes. At this time, use a putty knife to spread the epoxy across the exterior of the crack. Place pressure on the resin so it flows into the crack.
Make sure the resin is smooth and allow it to dry for 72 hours. You may need to use heat to assist with the curing process, so consider placing a small space heater in the bathroom or use a hair dryer on the resin for an hour or more after application. If you are in a hurry or you cannot wait the full 72 hours, then consider using a quick dry epoxy. You can also locate resins that can cure when cold if you cannot spend the time applying heat to the repair area.
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