Water seeping behind the shower door can damage the frame or wall.
It is important to properly caulk the shower in order to keep water from seeping behind the door.
Caulking is a simple process that can be done in a few minutes, and it is well worth the effort to keep your shower looking and functioning at its best!
Soap scum and mold can also collect around the door. This makes the caulk job an important task that should be done monthly or when water seeps onto the floor.
In this article, I will explain the tools needed, how to caulk a shower door step-by-step, and what the results should look like.
You will need to buy a few supplies before you begin, but they are inexpensive and readily available at any online or home supply store. Your tools will include:
- Utility Knife
- Putty knife
- Mineral Spirits
- Silicone Caulk / Siliconized Latex Caulk
- Sponge or rag for cleaning
- Caulking gun
Why You Should Caulk a Shower Door
Caulking is done to fill in the gap between the door and the wall. This keeps water from getting behind the shower door and traveling down to the frame or wall.
Without caulking, water would leak when it gets pushed out by the force of the showerhead. Water leaking behind a shower door can potentially cause significant damage such as rusting metal fixtures and rotting wood framing.
The caulk can also wear thin, which will let water leak behind the door. Eventually, you might have to replace the entire shower door to stop this from happening.
Water damage can be an expensive fix but you can prevent it by taking your time and doing the caulking job right the first time!
Steps on How to Caulk a Shower Door
Caulking a shower door is an important task that should be done regularly in order to prevent water damage to the shower door, frame, and wall. Listed below are the steps to take:
1. Eliminate the Old Caulk
The first thing you want to do is remove the old silicone caulk with any caulk remover around the doorway. You will be able to pull it up with a putty knife or a utility knife. Be careful not to scratch the frame or wall when you are doing this.
2. Remove Any Soap Residue
Before you can apply the new caulk, you will need to remove all soap residue. You should use mineral spirits for this job as these chemicals will cut through any oils or grease that might be on the frame or shower wall.
3. Clean The Door
Once you have removed the old caulk and cleaned the surface, wipe the area with a damp sponge or rag. This will ensure that there is no dust left behind when you go to put on your new caulk.
4. Choose the Right Caulk
Silicone latex caulk is considered to be one of the best caulk to use when caulking a glass door because it will last for several months and is easy to apply. Plus, this type of new silicone caulk never turns yellow like other types of household silicone sealant can do.
There are different sizes and colors of caulk available, you should know the width and color of the old caulk in order to get the correct size and shade.
5. Cut The Caulk Tube
Make sure you cut the tip of your tube at a 45-degree angle with the utility knife. If it is not cut correctly, you will have problems getting a smooth line with the caulk.
Be sure to read the directions on your tube of caulk to find out how far down you need to cut the tube.
6. Utilize the Caulk Gun
Put the tube of caulk in the caulking gun and turn it to lock in place. Most tubes will also have instructions on them that will explain how far you need to depress the handle in order to get a good bead of caulk. Moreover, some tubes will come with a cartridge on the end that can be cut to make application easier.
7. Apply Your Caulk
Use your caulk gun to apply a smooth line of caulk around the entire shower door. Use small strokes to apply the caulk, this will help prevent bubbles from forming in the line.
Make sure you do not put too much pressure on the gun or you might break it! Also, avoid putting weight on your hand as this can cause discoloration over time.
While applying the caulk, make sure to work quickly and clean up any messes that you may make immediately. You will want the silicone latex caulk to remain wet for about an hour before it completely hardens so be careful not to wipe away too much of this chemical!
8. Smooth the Caulk Line
When you are done applying the shower caulk, use your finger to smooth out the line of caulk. You can also use a plastic scraper tool with a flat side. However, avoid using metal or steel tools as this might scratch the frame or wall.
9. Take out the Access Caulk
Wipe down your caulk line with a damp rag or sponge right away while it is still wet. This will prevent the caulking from drying out too quickly and pulling away from the frame of glass. In addition, you should wipe off any excess caulk or debris left behind on the surface or structure to ensure that no marks are left on the glass shower door.
10. Allow Time for Everything to Dry
Your caulk will be fully dry in about 24 hours. However, do not rush the process and force the door open before everything is completely dry as this can damage your new caulk job!
Once you have given the silicone latex time to set up on its own, then you can enjoy a beautiful shower enclosure that is free from water leaks and damage.
Extra Tips When Caulking a Shower Door
There are several factors to keep in mind when it comes time for you to caulk a shower door.
Caulking After Bathing Should Be Avoided
When you get out of the shower, do not caulk your shower door before it has time to dry. If you apply caulk while there is still water on the glass enclosure, then the caulking will mix with the water and form a smudgy mess that can be very difficult to remove.
Caulking at Night Is Best for Two Reasons
You want to allow your new caulk sealant plenty of time to set up properly; therefore, applying silicone caulk in the evening when showers typically happen is best.
Another reason why you should try and get your door caulked at night is that if you make any mistakes or decide that you need to take some of the caulk, it is much easier to clean up excess materials when no one is using the shower.
Should you caulk the inside of a shower door?
In nearly all cases, you should caulk not only the outside but also the inside of your shower door. Caulking both sides will ensure a completely watertight seal that will prevent water from getting into the frame or between the glass. A single shower door leak occurs very rarely, usually, it happens on both sides.
What type of silicone caulk should I use?
Find a pure silicone or siliconized caulk that is formulated to resist mildew and mold growth. When you apply the caulk to your shower door frame, make sure you use a small tool such as a plastic scraper. This will help you avoid scratching any of your surfaces.
How long do you let the caulk cure for?
If you are using silicone based latex, then it will take about 24 hours for the caulk to cure. Do not try to open your shower door during this time frame as this can damage your sealant. If you are using another type of caulk, then you will want to follow the directions on your caulking tube or container.
Now that you know how to caulk a shower door, then you should be able to do this project on your own. Since there are some risks involved with caulking your shower surround, you will want to get everything set up and ready before attempting this job.
By following these steps, then you will end up with a beautiful and waterproof enclosure that is free of leaks and water damage. Just make sure you allow enough time for your caulk to completely cure before opening the shower door. If you rush the process, then you could end up with a mess on your hands.