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I re-caulked my bathroom a few months previous and there are a couple of gaps that have appeared. I have been caulking my own bathroom for about 7 years now but have never had damage this soon into it. My kids just started having showers and are now standing more than sitting so I am guessing that is a contributing factor.

So there are two spots of about an inch in length that need to be fixed. My understanding has always been that the whole length of the caulk would need to be reapplied. I heave a sigh at that notion since I really don't want to do it again right now.

An answer to a related question Can I apply caulk over caulk? talks about doing just that with the caveat of...

Your caulk needs to attach to both the tub and tile

Knowing that I could remove the damaged areas and caulk again with larger applications over existing good caulk to get contact to the tub and the surround.

There is also a very similar question about How to fix small holes/separation in caulk around bathtub? but the answers focus more on the tub installation itself rather than the caulking. While, at least one, recommends redoing the whole thing in that case I wonder if it is related more to the installation rather than the actual title of the question.


Can I re-patch small sections of damaged caulk or is it just smarter to redo the entire thing? I think from reading I might be able to get away with small patches but I have a nagging feeling that I would just be postponing a whole re-caulk.

  • If there is a dupe I would love to see it. Looking at similar questions didn't get an answer to my exact question. – Matt Oct 19 '15 at 12:15
  • You can try small patches and see how they come out, but you'll probably have to do a complete job sooner than later. – Aloysius Defenestrate Oct 19 '15 at 13:17
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate I figured but was curious enough to ask. I don't need my wife complaining that she cant use the shower for a day! – Matt Oct 19 '15 at 13:18
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If only a small section of the caulking has opened it may be worth re-applying fresh caulk to them with the hopes that it won't happen anyplace else. Since the repair is small cut out the compromised caulk and clean the surrounding areas with denatured alcohol. Apply fresh caulk forming it into place to match existing caulk. FYI: It is recommended, but not required, for longevity and resiliency to use a 100% silicone caulking. Pure silicone won't dry and become brittle in time and are able to flex if any of the two materials (wall and/or tub) move or shift. If you are adamant in using latex or a siliconized caulking use one which is advertised for exterior use (the quality brands will be touted as having a 30-40 year guarantee, usually for doors and windows). Also, if you can find it, look for a mildew-proof or resistant-type caulk. I've re-caulked jobs several times because mold had established itself on and in the caulk.

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What is the existing caulk? Usually the manufacturer suggests to remove any lose material and clean the surface with a solvent that won't leave residue. I always use Dow corning or GE silicon caulk around bath tub and shower and whenever I need to re-caulk I have done as A/M procedure.

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