Sealing a bath means covering the gap that’s left between the wall and the edge of your bathtub.
It’s a good idea to seal this area because splashed water will drip down the gap, rotting the joists of your bath and creating mould and water damage on the floor.
It’s not a difficult job, but can be fiddly. There are two main ways to seal a bath properly.
- Buy a soft silicone sealant that’s squeezed from a holder like toothpaste. It hardens on contact with air and forms a watertight barrier.
- Buy silicone strips. These are long strips of firm silicone that fix into place with adhesive backs. Strips are best for gaps larger than a few millimetres.
Prepare The Area
One of the main reasons people have problems sealing their bath is because there is old sealant in place. To get a really smooth watertight seal, the old stuff has to come out.
Buy a sealant softener and leave it to work its magic for 15 minutes. Then, using a scraper gently remove the sealant taking care not to scratch your tiles or bath.
Once it’s all gone rub the area down with a cloth and leave it to dry.
Fitting Soft Sealant
- Fill the tub with water. This will stop the new sealant cracking when the bath is filled.
- Clip the sealant inside the ‘gun’ and cut off the nozzle with kitchen scissors. The sealant is squeezed from the tube with a trigger action.
- Fill the gap with a consistent and level amount of sealant the whole way around.
- Use a rounded edge such as a teaspoon or a finger to smooth the silicone sealant into place creating an angle so water can easily run back into the tub.
- Leave the sealant to dry for a day before using the bath or getting it wet.
Fitting A Sealant Strip
Sometimes called flexible caulking, this strip fills a wider gap and doesn’t need smoothing into place.
It’s easy to apply a caulking strip but first you’ll need to remove the old sealant and let the area dry.
- Fill the tub with water
- Cut the strip to the length required
- Remove the adhesive backing
- Press the strip into place
- Leave it to dry for a day before using the bath or getting it wet.
The caulking strip has a thinner middle part that allows it to bend. This means part of the wall and part of the bath are covered.
Pressing the centre part back with a soft tool such as a toothbrush handle helps to make sure it’s completely flush with the bath and the wall.
Take some extra care over the grouting. It’s often recessed, so you’ll need to push harder to achieve a complete seal.
If you skip this part water will run down the gaps and mould will grow under your sealant.
If any soft sealant or adhesive escapes it’s easily washed off with white spirit so don’t be afraid of using enough.
If your sealant is lumpy or doesn’t form a proper seal just remove it and repeat the steps.
You can have as many goes as you like to get that professional finish. No-one is judging you and a well-sealed bathroom is not only hygienic, it looks good too.