Today's post is for those of you with grout in basically good shape, but a bit of nasty stuff growing on the caulk. We're going to go over how to use a grout rake, the tool shown after the jump, to prepare the corners of your shower for a fresh coat of mold- and mildew-free caulk.
In this series, we're also going to sort out the difference between caulk and grout, and where to properly use each one. Today, we're focusing on caulk.
You can use a grout rake, the tool shown below, to prepare the corners of your shower for a fresh coat of mold- and mildew-free caulk.
Caulk is flexible and rubbery. It comes in two basic variations: acrylic and silicone. Green choices include AFM Safecoat Caulking Compound. We also like DAP Kwik Seal 3.0; it's not particularly eco-friendly, but it cures in 3 hours, whereas other caulks need 24-36 hours before they touch water.
Caulk's function is to stretch a bit and prevent small cracks from forming due to expansion and contraction. Even teensy cracks can cause big water damage thanks to our friend capillary action. Therefore, caulk belongs where two planes meet -- as in the corners of your shower -- or where two dissimilar materials meet, such as the ledge where the tub meets tile, as shown by the green line above. It does not belong anywhere else. It especially does not belong around individual tiles.
base image by garann via sxc.hu; illustration Jonathan Bean