Recaulking your bathroom sink is a quick and easy way to make a dramatic difference in the appearance and function of your bathroom. Old caulk can become brittle and crack, thus allowing water to fall down behind your sink top and vanity. This moisture, when left unchecked, can develop mildew and other forms of mold that will eventually lead to much more labor intensive and costly repairs. Additionally, years of soap scum and grime can stain the old caulk, making your sink look dirty even if you’ve just cleaned it.
Removing Old Caulk
The first step in recaulking a bathroom sink is to make sure that all of the old caulk is removed. The best way to do this is by using a utility knife with a razor blade or a box cutter. Slowly and gently slice through the caulk, taking care not to damage the sink top or the wall.
Once you have sliced along the sink top surface and the wall surface you should be able to pull off the old caulk in one long strip. In some cases the caulk may have become very brittle. If this is the case, then it may be a little more difficult to pull up. You may need to use a stiff bladed putty knife to scrape the caulk away. In the end, you need to make sure that all of the old caulk is gone.
If you leave any residue behind, then it will affect the adhesion of the new product that you put down. Once you are confident that all of the old product is gone, use a diluted bleach mixture or mildew cleaner to kill any spores that you might see were growing behind the old caulk.
After you have the area properly cleaned, you need to determine what kind of product you are going to use before you begin recaulking a bathroom sink. Two main varieties of caulk on the market are suitable for use in a bathroom.
The first is made of silicone. This is a very durable and elastic caulk. It will last a very long time and will keep its fresh appearance for many years. If you are not planning to paint the caulk, then this is the best product to use. The problem with silicone is that it cannot be painted.
If you have a wall that is painted a contrasting color to your sink top, then you will want to use a latex caulk. This is still a very durable product, but it can be painted over. By using latex caulk, you give yourself the option of painting a nice crisp edge where the wall meets the sink top.
Caulking Gun or Tube
There are two methods of recaulking a bathroom sink. The first is to buy a traditional tube of caulk and use a caulking gun to apply it. Many people though, prefer to buy the caulk in a squeeze tube. This is an ideal way for many homeowners to use caulk because it allows them a greater amount of control over the flow. You should try to maintain as thin a bead of caulk as possible when you apply it.
Remember, it’s always easier to add more if you need it than it is to clean up excess if you put on too much. If you do utilize latex caulk and are going to paint it, make sure that you follow the instructions on the tube about how long it has to dry before being ready to accept paint.