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i just moved into a new house and they had peel and stick caulking on the bathtub that wqs starting to peel away so i knew i wanted to redo it with actual caulking. well i peeled up the old stuff and found these wooden pieces that seem to be holding up? the walls of the shower?? except they don't go all the way out to the outer edge of the tub.

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do i need to do anything about this? having wood sealed behind caulking seems like a recipe for mold, plus am i even able to caulk such a huge gap?

(side note, would also love recommendations on how to clean up the peel and stick caulking)

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The wood pieces are shims. They were used to hold the wall panels in place while the mastic cured. (It looks like you have panels rather than actual tile)

You can try to pull the shims out, then fill in the voids with a caulk. What type of caulk and how to clean off the old caulk residue would depend on what the panels are made of. If they are some type of ceramic a putty knife and grout or polyester caulk could be used. They may be some softer material that could be scratched. Then a plastic scraper would be needed and some silicone caulk.

With the larger gaps you have, I would consider caulking the gaps and covering with a waterproof trim made from PVC. Then caulk the edges of the trim as well. That would make a good seal and a better finished look.

FYI the tub does have a lip that is about 3/4 inch high around all the top edges. It will prevent water from seeping behind the tub but things still need to be caulked and sealed.

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