01 of 05
Why Shower and Tub Trim Needs Caulk
Shower and tub trim pieces typically are hollow metal rings or caps that conceal the hole where the plumbing pipes come through the wall. If they aren't sealed to the wall or tub with caulk, water can easily get behind them and into the wall. Water in the wall can mean mold growth, rot and even leaking into the ceiling or floor cavity below the shower or tub.
The best caulk to use in a shower is 100% silicone caulk designed for bathroom applications. It's not a bad idea to get one with a mildewcide to help prevent discoloration from mold (which is the same thing as mildew, a reality in all bathrooms).Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
How to Caulk Shower Trim: Step 1
Caulk adheres best to a clean surface, so make sure the shower and trim are clean and dry. Use a mild cleaner to go over the area you will be caulking and allow it to dry completely before you begin.
If you are replacing old caulking, remove all of the old caulk and clean the surface thoroughly before applying the new caulk.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
How to Caulk Shower Trim: Step 2
The secret to a neat application of caulk is cutting the right size of the opening on the applicator tip of the caulking tube. Determine the size of caulking bead you want to apply. The lower down on the tube you cut the larger the opening and caulking bead.
For trim, a 1/4- to 3/8-inch bead is good, and you can wipe down the bead to whatever size you like. To cut the applicator tip, remove the cap (as applicable) and use a sharp utility knife to cut off the tip at a 45-degree angle. Some caulk tubes have markings on the tip indicating where to cut for various bead sizes.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
How to Caulk Shower Trim: Step 3
Place the caulk applicator against the shower surface at a 45-degree angle. Apply a small, uniform bead of caulk all the way around each part of the shower trim. It is important to cover the whole seam because water can leak through even the smallest gap.
Shower and tub trim parts you should caulk include:
Caulking around the showerhead trim is optional, as this area usually isn't prone to much water intrusion. You can judge for yourself.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
How to Caulk Shower Trim: Step 4
Use a wet finger (some people like to use a damp rag or a sponge) to smooth out each bead of caulk. The key is to clean up the caulk so it leaves a nice finish but still covers the gaps around the trim. Do this right away before the caulk begins to set. Caulk takes a long time to fully dry but can become less spreadable pretty quickly.
How much caulk is wiped away is up to personal preference. Some people like to leave really big caulk lines, but usually fine beads look better. A thin line of caulk is just as effective as a large one as long as there are no gaps. Keep in mind that a thicker caulk joint draws the eye where a thin line is less conspicuous.
Let the caulk cure as directed by the manufacturer. Silicone caulk usually must dry for 24 hours before it's ready for heavy water contact.