How to Caulk a Shower Stall

  • 01 of 06

    Why Caulk Your Shower Stall?

    An uncaulked shower stall. Steve Hallo

    The caulking around a shower base or tub serves more than an aesthetic purpose. It also prevents water from getting behind the stall or tub, which can lead to mold and rot, not to mention potentially leaking onto the ceiling below the bathroom. Even tiny gaps in caulking can let water through, and you might not know you have a problem until it is severe. That's why it's important to keep the caulking in good shape and to replace old caulk as needed.

    If the seams, or joints, between the shower base (or tub) and the walls already have caulk, you have to remove all the old stuff before applying new caulk. Caulk sticks to pretty much anything, but it doesn't stick to old caulk. It also won't hide dark mildew in the joints, so be sure to get everything perfectly clean before adding the new caulk. 

    For best results, use 100% silicone caulk. It sticks better and lasts longer than acrylic or acrylic blends, especially in wet environments. Even if a product is called "tub and tile" caulk, don't use it unless it's 100% silicone. 

    Supplies Needed

    • Razor scraper or caulk removal tool
    • Liquid caulk remover (optional)
    • Household cleaner
    • Rag
    • 100% silicone caulk
    • Utility knife
    • Paper towels
    • Sponge (optional)
    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    How to Caulk a Shower Stall: Step 1

    Cleaning and drying the area. Steve Hallo

    Remove any old caulk with a razor scraper or a caulk removal tool. You can also use a liquid caulk remover to soften the caulk and make it easier to remove. Scrape all of the caulk from both surfaces; any remaining residue can hinder the new caulk's bond and seal. Use any household cleaner and a rag to clean the area thoroughly, then let it dry completely. 

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    How to Caulk a Shower Stall: Step 2

    Liberally apply caulk to the seam. Steve Hallo

    Cut the nozzle of the new caulk tube at a 30° or 45° angle, using a utility knife. Some caulk tubes have lines on their nozzles indicating cut angles. Cut closer to the tip for a narrower caulk bead; further down the nozzle for a wider bead. Apply an even, continuous bead of caulk along the joint, holding the angled edge of the nozzle so it faces the joint. 

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  • 04 of 06

    How to Caulk a Shower Stall: Step 3

    Leave a steady bead behind. Steve Hallo

    Smooth the caulk bead with your finger to make sure the joint is completely sealed and to remove excess caulk for a clean look. Wipe your finger frequently on a paper towel to remove excess caulk; if it builds up on your finger the caulk joint gets messy. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    How to Caulk a Shower Stall: Step 4

    Steve Hallo

    Clean up messy areas, if necessary, by wiping carefully with a damp sponge. Be careful not to pull caulk out of the joint with the sponge. If your caulking looks pretty good after smoothing with your finger, don't bother with the sponge.  

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    How to Caulk a Shower Stall: Step 5

    Finished caulked shower surround. Steve Hallo

    Allow the caulk to cure for 24 hours (or as directed by the manufacturer) before using the shower. For this reason, it's best to do the job when no one needs to use the shower for at least a full day.