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I have a question about replacing caulk. People always state that when you replace caulk, that you should remove all of it. My tub has caulking in red found in the image above. Do I really have to remove -all- of it or merely the parts that have mold (the parts at the bottom)

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  • Newly caulked seal around the bath will have no joins and nowhere for the water to seep through. Putting new caulk on old caulk will leave you with a seam where water might be able to get through. You could remove the caulk around the bath and 6 inches up the sides above which it is unlikely water will get in (unless you have a shower in the tub). The ceiling caulk certainly can be kept since gravity will do its thing.
    – scotty3785
    May 24, 2022 at 7:49
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    @scotty3785 This looks like an answer.
    – JACK
    May 24, 2022 at 11:58
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    @jay613 This looks like an answer.
    – JACK
    May 24, 2022 at 11:58
  • Fill the tub with water when re-caulking. It will lower the tub a little bit and compress the caulk when you let the water out.
    – gbronner
    May 24, 2022 at 14:23

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"Remove all of it" means entirely remove every trace of old caulk from the areas that you are recaulking. Don't put new caulk on top of old. Establish smooth clean surfaces for the new caulk.

It does not mean that you have to keep expanding the scope of your project until you reach the end of the caulk line in every direction. It is ok to leave caulk that's in good condition. You just have to decide where to put the seams between old and new caulk lines, and don't create lots of them.

In the case of a bath tub in an alcove (like most are) I would redo the entire upper rim of the tub where it meets the wall, all three sides, in one continuous bead, and if necessary also a few inches up the walls where they meet in the corners. After that I'd evaluate what's necessary. You don't need to go all the way up the wall-corners or to do the ceiling-to-wall joints if they are in good shape. It's ok to have a few joints between old and new caulk, just better not to do it where water pools.

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  • Wouldn't that cause a seam where water can get through where the new caulk meets the old caulk? or is it not really a huge deal if I move it up enough (the seam) I have a shower
    – Edward
    May 24, 2022 at 18:19
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    Yes, be reasonable in how you apply the idea of leaving old caulk that's in good shape. Don't do a patchy job and don't leave seams where water pools. Some obvious ones: You should do the whole tub/wall interface as one continuous new bead but you don't need to do the ceiling/wall interface at the same time.
    – jay613
    May 24, 2022 at 20:19
  • Accepted answer. Could you elaborate on Some obvious ones: You should do the whole tub/wall interface as one continuous new bead but you don't need to do the ceiling/wall interface at the same time I am not sure I understand? Thank you!
    – Edward
    May 24, 2022 at 20:30
  • I added some elaboration in the answer.
    – jay613
    May 24, 2022 at 22:18
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    @aparente001 "continuous" means to not alternate removal of bad old caulk and leaving behind of good old caulk in a patchy fashion along the same caulk line in a critical area like a bath edge. Redo the entire bead, as a continuous new one. It does not mean that you have to get the entire new bead exactly right the first time directly from the tube.
    – jay613
    May 25, 2022 at 10:06

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