Caulk around bathtubs and showers gets old and worn over time. It needs to be replaced or resealed regularly to prevent water damage, mold growth and increasing energy bills. But sometimes caulk gets overlooked and forgotten. Inspecting it regularly and looking for telltale signs of damage is a good habit.
Damaged caulk can be discolored, cracked or simply missing. Once water gets in, it can quickly do a lot of damage. Sometimes the discoloration comes from a layer of dirt and grime and can be washed off. If it doesn’t come off after a good scrub, it is most likely mildew growing underneath or behind the caulk.
When this happens it is best to start by removing the caulk. Using a razor-like scraper, cut the mold away from the wall and bathtub or shower surface. Vacuum up the left over debris before cleaning the area and leaving it to dry. There are many different ideas out there for cleaning mildew. Bleach is a pretty common method for getting rid of it. Once all of the mildew is gone, fill it in with new caulk.
Caulk comes in a variety of categories and each has different benefits. When deciding on one for the bathroom, it is important to consider how it will stand up to large amounts of moisture. Silicon caulk is great for use in bathrooms. It is somewhat flexible when it dries, creating a higher resistance to cracking. It is also highly waterproof and mold resistant, easy to clean and doesn’t fade over time. It cannot be painted, but comes in a variety of colors to match bathroom projects.
Some cases of mildew are mild, and can be cleaned up easily. If the problem is persistent and keeps reappearing it may be time to replace the caulk completely.