Hiring a professional for odd jobs like this can be really expensive, especially when it really doesn’t take that long to do it. Sealing a bath is one of the more important preventative measures we can take in our own homes. It is also a relatively easy job that can be done relatively quickly and requires no expensive components and tools.
Why Should I Seal My Bath?
While sealing a bath may not be foremost in your mind, it can prevent problems in the long run. Most contractors install baths against a wall, often two for good measure. Therefore, when they either leak or water begins to flow over the edges, harmful liquid may seep into the wall. Another common problem occurs when fluids gather unchecked underneath the bath itself.
The unwanted side-effects of these processes include rot and mildew. In some cases, these processes can seriously erode the structure of your home over a while.
A secondary reason for sealing your tub is aesthetic. When your bathtub is not sealed correctly, it usually shows. The sealant takes on a tired and off-colour look. In other cases, the sealant will begin to rise, or mould will grow out of it. A detail like that can give the entire bathroom a displeasing and run-down look. A new and fresh sealant can revitalise the whole room at a reasonable cost.
No matter what kind of bath you own, the principle remains the same. Most baths in the UK are straight-baths. However, there are also corner baths and whirlpool baths in plentiful supply. It would be best if you sealed every tub, no matter the make or model, to protect the integrity of your bathroom and the entire home.
- Caulking gun
- Knife or sealant removal gel or sealant removal tool
- Masking tape
- Safety goggles
- Silicone sealant
How To Seal A Bath Step By Step
Though this is an important task, the entire process should not take more than an afternoon. Here is a step-by-step guide to sealing your bath. If you follow it, you will soon have a sealed bath that is pleasing to the eye and safe for use.
Remember, safety always comes first. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles throughout the process. As long as you take precautions, this is not a particularly dangerous task.
- Remove the old sealant: A remaining coat of old sealant can undermine the integrity of your new sealing job. Therefore, you should remove any residue before starting the job. You may find that the removal process is somewhat dangerous. It is relatively easy to damage the surface while scraping or even cut yourself. Proceed with caution.
Many people use a knife to cut into the silicone and remove the bulk of it. You will then be able to peel away strips of sealant. A safer option is to buy a sealant remover tool at a hardware shop. The great thing about this utensil is that you can also smooth over the newly installed sealant.
However, the best option is probably to use a sealant removal gel. The gel is a bit more expensive than the other methods but far less work as it breaks down the sealant, rendering it easily removable.
In most cases, there will be some remaining silicone residue. Therefore, scrape away the remaining bits with a screwdriver until the surface is clean and ready to apply the new adhesive. You may get frustrated and want to use excessive force, but try to avoid that if at all possible. The screwdriver can leave unseemly marks.
- Mark the Edges: Use masking tape to mark the areas atop the bath’s edges where you plan to install silicone. Keep the markings a good 3 millimetres from the wall to set the stage for a neat and appealing finish.
- Apply the Sealant: Prepare the sealant for application by placing it carefully in a caulking gun. The application is a sensitive process, so focus on the task at hand and use the gun as close as possible to the application sites. Use the gun to pump the silicone into a neat line following the previously applied masking tape lines. Start at the point furthest from you, typically along the wall, and work your way towards the outside. Make sure to completely seal around your bath.
Tip: Fill the bath to make that if there is any movement you can seal it when it’s at it’s lowest.
- Smooth down the applied sealant: You can use just about any wet rounded tool to smooth out the sealant. However, a sealant applicator is best. For best results, shape it evenly at an upward angle. At the time of the setting, the sealant is still pliable, and dirt and bacteria can get in underneath it. Therefore, make sure the sealant is entirely smooth and airtight.
It is a good idea to very carefully wipe away all excess sealant with a wet rag before leaving it to dry. Once you have completed this step, give it 24 hours to set if you can leave the bath alone for 48 hours, even better. Make sure to remove the masking tape before the sealant dries completely.
- Mind the gap: Most wall adjacent baths should be set up directly against them. However, in some cases, the tub was poorly installed, or separation occurred over time. In these instances, a gap can emerge between the two. The existence of a breach undermines the entire purpose of sealing the bath.
You can easily fix the problem in two steps. First, remove all residue of old material between the tub and the wall. You can often position the bath into the proper position, keeping it in place by applying sealant as explained above.
By following these easy steps, you should be able to seal your bath in a few hours and secure your bathroom and home from harmful fluids.