Caulk is used for preventing water
seepage due to the fact that it is both a glue and sealant. Caulk is also
flexible. In addition, it is ideal for forming water tight seals between
dissimilar materials, e.g. ceramic tile and fiberglass tubs.
There are many types of caulk
available on the market today, however not all are appropriate for caulking
around tubs and shower enclosures. The most distinguishing characteristic that
you need to pay attention to when selecting an appropriate caulk for using
around your tub or shower unit is the material that it is made from. For
example, there are Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) caulks, Acrylic latex based caulks,
Siliconized Acrylic Latex caulks and 100% silicone caulk.
Other characteristics you should
consider when selecting a caulk is whether or not it is mold and mildew
resistance and whether or not it is available in different colors.
around Fiberglass based Tub/Shower Units
If you need to caulk around a
fiberglass based tub or shower enclosure it is best to use a 100% silicone
caulk. The reason for this is that fiberglass tub or shower units flex more
than ceramic or cast iron tub/shower units.
A 100% silicone caulk is more
flexible than other types of caulk and thus is less likely to pull away from the
fiberglass surface and the connecting surface (e.g. ceramic wall tile, or vinyl
There are a couple of negatives when
using 100% silicone caulk.
First, it is terribly difficult to
remove from your hands, or any other surface you do not want to have it come in
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Second, 100% Silicone caulk will not
stick to cured existing 100% silicone caulk. As a result, it is imperative to
carefully and thoroughly remove all of the old silicone caulk prior to applying
new 100% Silicone caulk.
Ceramic or Cast Iron Based Tub/Shower Units
If the tub or shower surface area is
ceramic or cast iron based, use an acrylic latex caulk or a PVA based caulk that
is mold and mildew resistant. These types of caulk are easy to work with and
will be much easier to remove from your hands and any other surfaces you did not
intend for the caulk to be applied to.
The only downside of using these
types of caulk is that they are less flexible than the 100% silicone caulk and
thus could pull away from the tub or shower enclosure if there is significant
deflection in the flooring or surrounding walls.
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