Does caulk replacement loom on the horizon of your to-do list? Hardened caulk removal may not be everyone’s favorite way of spending a Saturday afternoon, but it doesn’t have to be the hardest of tasks, either. Like most jobs, tackling it methodically and with a little upfront know-how can save you time and effort.
Dress for Success
First off, always wear a pair of good gloves if you’re going to use a knife, flat-blade screwdriver, razor-blade scraper, or any other tool with a sharp edge – this includes whatever you use to remove old caulk. Of course, the smartest thing to use – and the only tool guaranteed absolutely to not scratch porcelain surfaces on tub or tile – is a plastic putty knife. There are also a number of specialty tools on the market designed just for removing caulk. These can be found online with a quick Internet search, or you can find them at your local hardware store or just about any home improvement center.
Caulk Removal Tip
But even before you get to the manual-removal part, here’s a great tip for removing hardened caulk: use an enzyme-powered caulk remover. 3M Caulk Remover, DAP Caulk-Be-Gone, and Liquid Nails Adhesive & Caulk Remover are brand names of a few excellent products that don’t exactly remove caulk, but do soften it up so that you can remove it yourself a whole lot easier than attempting to pry, poke, stab, and otherwise manipulate some tool into getting the stuff off without using anything at all except your own muscle and willpower.
Get to Work
Simply apply a chemical caulk remover over the existing caulk and allow it to sit for a few minutes. The enzymes in the remover soften the old hardened caulk and allow you to much more easily scrape it away.
After you’ve gotten off the old caulk, wipe away any metal-mark deposits left over from whatever tool(s) you’ve used with Barkeeper’s Friend. If you’re not familiar with it, it comes in a can similar to Comet or Ajax and is one product that you never have to worry about harming your surfaces.
Use a product like GE’s Silicone Sanitary Caulk to replace the old caulk. This caulk comes in both clear and white, and will hold up under wet conditions as well as remain mildew-free.