View Full Version : Help, caulking around bathtub is NOT drying.

07-07-2008, 06:13 AM

I am a single female homeowner who took on the task for the very first time of recaulking my bathtub. I removed all the old caulking, heating it with a hairdryer and scraping it out. It all came out beautifully. I then washed the area down with some non-chlorine powdered bleach and wiped it dry with paper towels. I even inserted the towels inside the open seams around the tub to ensure complete dryness.

I then used a caulking gun with the GE brand Silicone II caulking stuff. It wasn't easy using that caulking gun but I did get the job done. I then smoothed out the caulk wetting my finger and going along the seam.

Ok ...... here is where I need major advise. The job was done on Friday, July 4th. at around 2pm. Here it is Monday, July 7th and the caulking around the tub is STILL WET. Help! What did I do wrong?

07-07-2008, 06:20 AM
The silicone II is 100% silicone, so a finger wetted with water probably made a mess. But nonetheless, it should have set up. Unless some moisture or contaminants were lefte in the seam. When you say it is still wet.....is it soft and gooey, or just feels tacky on the surface?

07-07-2008, 06:44 AM
Hi, it is soft and gooey. Could the product be defective? I am thinking about buying a new product and recaulking it. What do you think?

07-07-2008, 07:09 AM
Wet finger striking the cove is a standard process. The caulk must be defective if it did not skin over in a half hour or so.

07-07-2008, 07:19 AM
ok...the tube had been used before and was half full. So, should I now remove the existing caulk and replace with a new tube?

07-07-2008, 07:27 AM
Remove the defective caulk with a rag wet with "Denatured Alcohol."

Reapply with new caulk. Personally I would use Phenoseal or, Polyseamseal and let it dry for 24 hours before use. They are latex caulk and can be smoothed over with a wet finger and cleaned up with a damp rag.

A lot less messy than Silicone RTV.

07-07-2008, 07:47 AM
Thank you very much Redwood, HJ and Jimbo. I am so glad I found this forum.

Where would I find the products you mentioned Redwood.....such as, denatured alcohol, Phenoseal or polyseamseal? Home Depot or Lowes perhaps.

07-07-2008, 07:56 AM
Either big box or, a hardware store should have them.

07-07-2008, 08:03 AM
Humidity can be a problem, and did you use one marked, " tub and tile?"
Make sure you don't put it on too thick, too.

07-07-2008, 08:15 AM
Hi Cookie,

Yes, the tube stated it was for bathtubs....i would have to look at it again but I did do several searchs and the GE Silicone II caulk was the product many mentioned to use for tub caulking. Yes, it has been moderately humid in my area but I would think it would have been dried by now after 2 1/2 days. The stuff remains sticky and came off on my finger when I touched it this morning. I did try to put a thick layer on and did go over some spots twice after the first application.

My basement has a lot of moisture in it, and the tube was used before and sitting on the shelf, not sure if that had anything to do with the product not drying.

07-07-2008, 04:14 PM
Depending on how deep the gap is, you might want to consider putting in some foam backer rod. It comes in various diameters. You jam it in, then use the caulk over it. A thinner layer of caulk will all cure faster, too, and you won't use as much since the backer rod is cheaper (usually!).

08-19-2008, 12:39 PM
Thank you everyone for all your great replies. As a single gal, working full time and managing my home, I just did not have the time nor the energy to remove the existing silicone sticky caulking and replace with permaseal or other stuff. I think I did such a great job of installing this stuff, adding a very thick layer that it has held up remarkably. The water just beads up on the silicone. So I am a happy camper for now and when I get the time and energy down the road.....I will probably use Permaseal, which I found an old tube in the basement.

Question: Was it a bad idea leaving the tacky, sticky silicone caulking on or should I have immediately removed it? It is doing the job ..... no water is getting behind it as I can see? :D

08-19-2008, 01:25 PM
In my caulk experience, which more than a bit, the answer was in your statement that this was a previously used container of caulk. Old silicone caulk, whether opened or not, will deteriorate into a state that will never cure. It will come out looking pretty normal, unless it is clear, and then it will begin to look and act a bit granular-like and not perfectly clear. You can apply it, and depending on just how old it is, it may seem to go on pretty normally, though the older it is, it does seem to "separate" a bit and might also be a bit stickier to the touch. At any rate, it will never cure, will always be tacky, and will also not adhere as well. (It will, however, dry a bit, and eventually approach a state almost exactly like the interior of a jelly bean, but not really a marketable flavor)

I imagine that for your interior application, and depending on the amount of new caulk you placed on top of the old, and 10,000 other chemical factors that I have no idea about, you will be fine for quite some time. I also think that the removal of the questionable caulk might be a bit messy, but manageable, when that time comes.


08-19-2008, 04:09 PM
Something was wrong with the caulk.

Silicone is harder to use but more flexible and more adhesive than phenoseal (sp?) or any of the acrylic caulks. I'd choose silicone over anything else.

Good silicone will skin in a few minutes and be dry the next day. Water behind will prevent it from adhering but if it gets damp or it's humid while it's curing, it won't hurt it.

I'd try again with a new tube of siliconeII.