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I just had my shower re-tiled and the contractor used a cream colored sanded caulk instead of standard white silicone (without asking me).

I want it to be white but he refuses to come back. Can I just apply a new layer of white caulk over what he did? Or do I have to take it all out and start from scratch?

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Caulk or grout? –  Niall C. May 3 '13 at 17:14
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It depends. If he used a tiny bead the whole way around then you could. Not best practice but you could. Your caulk needs to attach to both the tub and tile. If you can accomplish that while caulking over and it looks good then good for you.

Worst case scenario is you are out $5 for the caulk... You were going to have to scrape out the caulk anyway.

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Experiment. Along one stretch of joint, apply a new layer of your preferred caulk directly over the existing caulk. If you like the result and the new layer holds up, complete the other walls. You are most likely to succeed with this approach if you first give the area a really good scrubbing to remove any soap scum.

If the new caulk does not stick, it could be that the old caulk was silicone caulk: nothing truly sticks to silicone (including silicone).

Regardless, if the result is not to your satisfaction, then scrape/peal/clean the joint really well before re-applying new caulk.

FWIW, the guy that did my old bath also used the wrong color caulk. As I get older, I'm learning not to trust contractors to handle any aesthetic decisions. :)

(If, on the other hand, you are asking about grout, then that's a whole other question and likely will involve a dremmel tool and a whole lot of dust.)

UPDATE:

Oh, one more tip while we're at it. If you are wanting to match the caulk to the grout, note that many grout suppliers also sell sanded caulk color-matched to the grout.

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That is why I mentioned it has to hit tub and tile. Even non silicone caulk that has set doesn't bind well with new caulk and it will pop out soon. –  DMoore May 3 '13 at 18:21
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