I am a a first time DIYer working on an old bathroom. The tub seems like porcelain-enameled steel. I have removed moldy caulk and cracked grout from around the tub. The most puzzling issue is documented in my picture. There is a 1/8 to 1/4 inch vertical gap between the side of the tub and the wall tile. The tile was cut so that the gap is rounded to the top of the tub. This gap is deep. The tile is strongly attached but there is no surface for filler to attach to in this space. I’ve read about backer rods. Is this the best approach here? I worry that if there’s a small crack or gap, over time the rod will act like a sponge, and I’ll end up with a moldy nightmare.
Also, at the place where the wall tile, the floor, and the tub meet there is some unattractive (but hard as nails) filler that seems different from either caulk or grout. It was nasty so I scraped the dark buildup off. It looks better now than before but it’s still far from attractive. I began to remove it but stopped. First, it will be hell to remove and I don’t want to break tile (there’s already a small crack on right side of tile). Second, perhaps this was a problem spot and the previous owner plugged it purposely this way.
Specifically, my questions are:
- Is backer rod the best solution to this vertical space problem?
- What would be best filler material for vertical gap? (Grout, caulk, or other)
- What is best material for the gap at top of tub (this will get soaked during showers)
- If the two materials are different, how do I make transition from one to other look best?
- What should I do about this bottom joint that seems important but so ugly?
- Out of curiosity, any idea what this harder-than-nails filler is at bottom joint?