The Most Satisfying $6 I Ever Spent On My Rental Apartment

published Jun 23, 2018
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(Image credit: Sandra Rojo)

Perhaps you don’t lie awake at night thinking about your bathtub or shower. Just know that there are others out there who worry about how gross their caulk is, and feel a good fresh bead around a tub can make or break the shower experience.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

In an effort to take back my 12 minutes of coconut-infused “me” time and to stop worrying about what sorts of mischief was lurking behind the crappy caulk application around my tub, I decided to start fresh. I didn’t trust myself to lay a perfect bead of caulk, so I went the peel and stick route:

Magic Tub and Wall Peel & Caulk Strip – 1-5/8″ by 11′ – White; $6.24 with Prime Shipping

Here’s What I Did

The most important part of this entire process is the removal of the old caulk. If you want new caulk to work (either traditional or peel and stick), get every last bit of evidence of the old caulk off the tub. I was able to easily pop the top layer of caulk off, but found another layer below that was hard and very difficult to remove. Instead of using a putty knife and risking damaging the surface, I sprayed on a caulk remover and scraped it off with a plastic blade.

After I was able to peel everything away, I wiped it clean with Bar Keepers Friend, rinsed with water, then followed up with rubbing alcohol.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Once the area was completely dry, I measured for the three lengths of the tub: one back wall, and two side walls. I folded the caulk over at the crease according to the directions, and applied the longest length first (tub back), working in small sections and making sure to only peel away the backing for a few inches at a time. I made sure the crease was lining up at the intersection of the wall and tub surface first, then went back over and pressed down the seal onto the surface of the tub and then the wall. After I got the back piece in place, I stuck the remaining pieces to the sides of the tub in the same manner.

Note: I purchased one package of peel and stick caulk which ended up being just enough for my tub. I used the product for “Tub and Wall“, but it also comes in “Tub and Floor“. Before applying the caulk I followed the directions for prep according to the package.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Ease of application: If you’re able to successfully stick a label to a package, then you’ll be able to correctly apply this caulk around your tub or sink. I found the key was to work in very small sections and not to peel off any more of the backing than what I could hold across the width of my hand.

Quality/stickability: This caulk is surprisingly tacky; it’s lined on each side of the crease with a sticky substance. I was really determined to press every inch of the caulk to the surfaces, so no water could get behind the seal. Know that if you do accidentally lay the caulk in the wrong spot it’s fairly easy to readjust, as long as you haven’t pressed it down for too long.

Cons: I tried pressing the caulk strips into the small “grout” gaps (grout is in quotes because it’s actually a plastic tile sheet, and the grout lines aren’t real) to be sure I didn’t have any gaps where water could trickle down behind the wall, but it wouldn’t smush in like regular caulk. Since it’s plastic, I doubt water is going to seep through the wall, but it’s something to think about in your bathroom.

Looks: I really like the look of a nice, straight line all the way around the edge of the tub versus a slightly wiggly line smoothed out by fingers. The caulk comes in white, or almond, narrow, and wide widths.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

As a renter, I love this product and think it’s easier than the real deal. With the purchase of one small package, I remedied a fairly sizable problem and don’t have to deal with buying a caulk gun, storing an open tube of caulking (that will absolutely go bad before I can use it all up), and steadying my hand enough to run a somewhat straight bead around the tub. Not to mention, the peel-and-stick caulk’s straight lines look so very tidy and satisfying.