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I am about to seal the gap between my tub and the wall tile with caulk (it was originally grout which cracked so I chiseled out what I could). I was planning to use silicone caulk (GE II), but a contractor suggested that pure silicone is not ideal since all caulk will eventually need to be removed and replaced and silicone is very difficult to remove. There's some logic to this, so I'm wondering - is he right? If so, what kind of caulk should I use?

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  • Contrary to popular opinion seen here, I'd use grout. – Mazura Mar 25 '15 at 1:25
  • @Mazura Thanks for the feedback. Does it depend on the size of the gap? Here are a few pics (you can still see some of the original grout in places where it couldn't easily be chiseled out): i.imgur.com/QQrsDe6.jpg i.imgur.com/SmJuPqv.jpg – Jonathan Mar 25 '15 at 1:36
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    With all respect, a good caulk needs to be hard to remove. If it was easy to remove, it would be easy for water to get around. As a note, when you caulk the tub, fill it with water, that way the caulk will compress when empty and not stretch when full – Some Guy Mar 25 '15 at 1:38
  • I'm getting ready to rip out some moldy caulk and contemplating grouting it instead and I'd love to know what route you took and how it's holding up. – Amanda Dec 27 '17 at 0:50
  • @Amanda - I ended up grouting and it's held up fairly well, though there are some hairline cracks in a few places. I suspect grout is always going to be susceptible to cracking there since the tub may flex or move a bit relative to the tile since they're not attached to each other. That said, a quick smear of grout over the crack would fix it up pretty easily and I haven't had to deal with any mold in 2+ years. – Josh Stone Dec 27 '17 at 4:50
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That gap is to small. Push really hard with the float to completely fill it with grout, giving it one more shot; next time caulk it. Caulked tub surrounds are one of my pet peeves; I'm the one who gets to scrape that mess out.

Whether grout or caulk, I like Some Guy's advice: prestress the tub by filling it with water as you work.

  • How long should I leave the tub filled with water once I apply the grout? – Jonathan Mar 25 '15 at 3:10
  • @Jonathan 24 hours minimum, 72 would be better. -The cure time before sealing the grout; whatever the bag says, you can't use it until then anyway. I said I liked the advice; not that I've ever done it. Ask Dude ;) – Mazura Mar 25 '15 at 3:18
  • The grout is in! Hopefully it will dry so I can get it sealed before our guests get here this weekend. Thanks for your answer. – Jonathan Mar 25 '15 at 5:31
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Whether it is hard or easy to remove is really not that important, when it comes to choosing materials for this type of operations. One other thing is far more important: Silicone is organic matter, and like anything organic it disintegrates, especially in rooms like bathroom, which are humid. You should use grouting materials, same (if possible) like you have used for ceramic tiles.

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