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  #1  
Old 02-26-2006, 01:29 AM
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Is silicone caulking worth a damn?

Doing a punch on a house for a buddy and I had to caulk a bathtub.

I couldn't find the laytex stuff I ususally use that's labeled bath/shower so I went with white silicone. Don't like the stuff -- it's hard to clean up and I've found its sealant powers over-rated -- but I thought I'd research it a little more (maybe I was using it wrong) and give it a shot. One web site said to wipe all surfaces with acetone just before caulking cuz even finger oil can interfere with a good seal.

It was a royal pain. I'm starting to wonder if the stuff is crap and GE keeps making it simply because suckers buy it. If this tub goes bad in the near future, I'm never touching the stuff again.

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Old 02-26-2006, 01:41 AM
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Try using a 3M product called 5200. You can buy it at the Oakland West Marine, Svendsens in Alameda or just about any Marine Chandlry. It's a polyurethane based
sealant/adhesive, works great. However its not cheap.
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2006, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012
Don't like the stuff -- it's hard to clean up and I've found its sealant powers over-rated -- but I thought I'd research it a little more (maybe I was using it wrong) and give it a shot.
It's definitely hard to clean up. Need to have a bunch of paper towels ready and available. I tend to use the gun, followed by the finger. If you apply the right amount with the gun, you get a perfect joint when you run your finger down once.

As for sealing powers, I can't see why you would be disappointed. It's very tough stuff once it dries and makes for watertight joints. I've never had a problem with it. However, you're in for a real fun day if and when you have to remove it from a tub to change the surround. I understand they make a special remover for it, but, I've failed to find it when I needed it.
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2006, 09:52 AM
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There is an art to applying silicone sealant. With a little instruction and practice, very little cleanup is required, since you really only need to clean up what you have misapplied. I've used silicone sealant extensively when I used to design and build custom aquariums. It is the only thing that holds together and seals these large glass aquariums.

To apply the sealant, push rather than pull the applicator, forcing the nozzle itself to both shape and apply the sealant. In areas such as corners where that method isn't entirely adequate, shape it with a small spoon or your finger, but only after getting it wet first. Touching wet silicone sealant with a dry appliance or finger is likely to pull the sealant from its surface.

Make sure you cut the nozzle to a size appropriate for the job, and practice before doing the real job. You can also lay masking tape on either side of the crack to guard against excess sealant application. Oh, and if I didn't mention this before, practice first.

Last edited by GermanStar; 02-26-2006 at 03:35 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2006, 10:06 AM
MedMech
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The problem you could be having is new homes shrink due to the wood construction drying out, new showers and tile also have a film on the edges that should be cleaned before application. All of the above advice is correct, silicone is easy to apply but you have to take your time and lay a nice even bead and skim it with your pointer but I have found that the gesture finger is the perfect width for a nice shower tub bead. When you are dealing with new construction sometimes you have to strip and reapply the silicone every couple months until the house is seasoned, in Michigan 6 seasons is the rule of thumb I suppose it would be less in California.
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2006, 10:10 AM
MedMech
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If you are still ahaving problems Elastometric caulk will do the job it has 25% elasticity. Elastometric caulk is available in a variety of textures and can be painted. I have seen some pretty cool stuff done with it especially with ceramic tile floor and tub joints. The sand texture is used and painted to match the grout, it looks awesome.

http://www.onthehouse.com/wp/19971103

Last edited by MedMech; 02-26-2006 at 10:20 AM.
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2006, 02:12 PM
Dan Rotigel
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good stuff

Silicon (the all-weather sort) is what I use for residential roofing. I generally get one or two jobs a summer from people who have 'wind and rain' leakage from people who had their roofs done by people using the wrong stuff on flashing, chimineys, valleys, etc. Silicon stays flexible and watertight, the other stuff dries out. I would imagine the same goes for a bathroom...


cheers,
dan r.
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  #8  
Old 02-28-2006, 01:01 AM
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Always caulk a bathtub partially filled with water, caulk it in the stressed position.
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  #9  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Bell
Try using a 3M product called 5200. You can buy it at the Oakland West Marine, Svendsens in Alameda or just about any Marine Chandlry. It's a polyurethane based
sealant/adhesive, works great. However its not cheap.
Never seen that stuff. Is it anything like Sikaflex? PL also has a polyurethane caulk which looks and acts very much like Sikaflex.

I've had a lot of experience with Sikaflex. It's pretty tenacious though I've heard it's weak spot is ultraviolet light. Well, what doesn't break down under that, I guess, but word from my most reliable wise man is you should paint it after about a week if it gets regular sun.

Denatured alcohol works well as a solvent for Sikaflex. I got to where I could use it almost like latex caulking using alcohol instead of water. I cut up a few dozen little pieces of old tee shirt or bed sheet, pull it tight over my finger, dip it in alcohol, and screed the joint. Hopefully alcohol is not as deleterious on your bod as acetone.

Jeez, maybe I should have used that instead but I never was sure what it's best use is.

ps: That West Marine is quite the store, eh?
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Last edited by cmac2012; 02-28-2006 at 02:53 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton
It's definitely hard to clean up. Need to have a bunch of paper towels ready and available. I tend to use the gun, followed by the finger. If you apply the right amount with the gun, you get a perfect joint when you run your finger down once.

As for sealing powers, I can't see why you would be disappointed. It's very tough stuff once it dries and makes for watertight joints. I've never had a problem with it. However, you're in for a real fun day if and when you have to remove it from a tub to change the surround. I understand they make a special remover for it, but, I've failed to find it when I needed it.
I've come across it doing remodels where it was used to caulk around an exterior light fixture and it would just pull out of the joint without much trouble. Sure looked like dried clear silicone caulking. Could be it was put in over a dusty surface. Or, it could be the stuff degrades in UV. I know I'm going to clean the joint real well from now on, finishing up with acetone.

I just went back to the tub I did today and the seal seems pretty solid. I guess if I used it every day for two years (), I'd get pretty good at it but I haven't really needed to use it much. One thing that pissed me off, I came back to a spot that was a bit rough maybe 5 minutes after I pulled the joint, and tried to smooth it out. Oops. Mistake. The surface went to hell, looked like the worst kind of cellulite, worse than say, Liz Taylor at 65. I had to cut two spots out the next day and redo them.
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Last edited by cmac2012; 02-28-2006 at 02:54 AM.
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:39 AM
cmac2012's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanStar
There is an art to applying silicone sealant. With a little instruction and practice, very little cleanup is required, since you really only need to clean up what you have misapplied. I've used silicone sealant extensively when I used to design and build custom aquariums. It is the only thing that holds together and seals these large glass aquariums.

To apply the sealant, push rather than pull the applicator, forcing the nozzle itself to both shape and apply the sealant. In areas such as corners where that method isn't entirely adequate, shape it with a small spoon or your finger, but only after getting it wet first. Touching wet silicone sealant with a dry appliance or finger is likely to pull the sealant from its surface.

Make sure you cut the nozzle to a size appropriate for the job, and practice before doing the real job. You can also lay masking tape on either side of the crack to guard against excess sealant application. Oh, and if I didn't mention this before, practice first.
There is a real art to caulking, isn't there? I thought I was halfway good at it but turns out I was just half fast.

DOHH!! I forgot about the blue tape on either side of the joint trick. Jeez, they oughta just put me outta my misery...
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  #12  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:49 AM
cmac2012's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech
If you are still ahaving problems Elastometric caulk will do the job it has 25% elasticity. Elastometric caulk is available in a variety of textures and can be painted. I have seen some pretty cool stuff done with it especially with ceramic tile floor and tub joints. The sand texture is used and painted to match the grout, it looks awesome.

http://www.onthehouse.com/wp/19971103
Good link. I know I've seen caulking that adverstised silicone fortification but with water clean-up. It's weird how some products just go missing now and then. I checked two maybe three stores and they didn't have any kind of caulking rated for kitchen and bath 'cept straight silicone.

Right now, I can't find the Stanley tape measure I like -- the 25' lever lock. I liked the older version, the square looking one -- they discontinued that, I reluctantly came to like the new one, now it's no where to be found -- checked several stores in my travels. Hopefully, it's just so popular they can't keep 'em on the shelves.

That part about having to redo the caulk a few times as the house settles, oh man, if that's what it takes. I'll have to take a look in a few months. I have no doubt we'll be showing our faces around there off and on for a while.
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  #13  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kknudson
Always caulk a bathtub partially filled with water, caulk it in the stressed position.
Interesting, I haven't heard that one before. There is a lot of weight in a full tub. I could see it moving things around.
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  #14  
Old 02-28-2006, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012
I've come across it doing remodels where it was used to caulk around an exterior light fixture and it would just pull out of the joint without much trouble. Sure looked like dried clear silicone caulking.

One thing that pissed me off, I came back to a spot that was a bit rough maybe 5 minutes after I pulled the joint, and tried to smooth it out.

That's not silicone........if I had to bet. If it dried out it was probably latex. True silicone would remain rubbery for an eternity.

Yep......you have limited time before it skins over. Get it right......before that occurs........or you're dead.
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  #15  
Old 02-28-2006, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kknudson
Always caulk a bathtub partially filled with water, caulk it in the stressed position.
.........ahh........where exactly do you put your feet????

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