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Caulk problems in a tile shower.

Q I have a ceramic tile shower that's 15 years old. I have to caulk it at least twice a year because the caulk develops mildew and comes loose. I scrape off the old caulk and clean the tile with mineral spirits, denatured alcohol and, lately, even vinegar and water. Then I let it dry for 24 hours before applying a latex kitchen/bath caulk that's supposed to resist mold. What am I doing wrong?

A You either have residue from a previous application of silicone caulk or a problem with water seepage behind the tile. If anyone has ever used silicone caulk on the tile and the residue was not properly removed, that'll cause bonding problems for the new caulk. Silicone residue must be removed with silicone remover before you apply any new caulk, even new silicone. Find silicone remover products in the paint department at any home center or at any paint store.

Rather than reinstall a latex caulk, you may want to try one of the newer "advanced polymer sealants" (DAP 3.0 is one brand). They seal better and resist mildew better than many latex formulas. And seal the grout, too. If the caulk still comes loose, you probably have water penetration behind the tile. That would be the time to throw in the towel and call a tile pro.

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Publication:The Family Handyman
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2013
Words:224
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