View Full Version : Help: tub surround and caulk

01-28-2006, 08:59 AM
Hi Everyone,

I have been doing some digging around the site but haven't found exactly what I need to know, so I'll ask ... (by the way, I'm a new member as of 20 minutes ago) ...

I am installing a 5-piece plastic tub wall/surround kit in my bathroom. I've got everything up, and glued in place, so I'm ready to caulk. Or, re-caulk.

I cleaned the joints with mineral spirits and then rubbing alcohol to be sure and get all of the grime off so that the caulk would stick. Then, I used 100% silicone kitchen and bath caulk from my local hardware store. I let it dry the required time and then began to clean the stall for use. Well, the silicone caulk began to peel off.

So, I consulted the instruction manual that came with the surround kit and it calls for siliconized latex caulk. Back to the hardware store I went (after removing all of the old silicone caulk and cleaning with mineral spirits and alcohol again), this time in search of the siliconized latex. No such luck. Instead, I picked up some acrylic latex kitchen and bath caulk and re-did the joints again. This stuff is sticking better, but it's still not sticking all that well.

Am I doing something wrong? Is this what's to be expected?

Please help if you can!


01-29-2006, 09:07 AM
I don't like using caulk with latex in a bath situation, but if the instructions call for it, I could be wrong.

I heard somewhere that painters sometimes clean new gutters with vinegar before painting. Does that even make sense to anyone else?

01-29-2006, 09:13 AM
Plain white vinegar is one of those "secret" cleaning agents. Inexpensive, and safe for virtually any material. Its moderate concentration of acetic acid makes it an excellent general purpose grease and scum remover.

I have a Mansfield Quantum pressure assist. There is always a little condensation on the inside and bottom of the tank. To prevent this from getting too nasty, and also to help the under-rim passages and holes, I use this procedure once a quarter: 1) pour in about a gallon of hot water. {heat makes anything work better!} 2) pour in a gallon of white vinegar...less than $2 at costco; let that work for an hour. 3) final flush with another gallon of hot water.

01-29-2006, 09:26 AM
B4 I recaulk I remove all old caulk, clean with pure bleach and a scrub brush and let it sit 5 min and scrub again let it sit for 10 min. rinse with cold water then hot, dry with a towell, then a blow dryer, then caulk.

master plumber mark
01-29-2006, 09:47 AM
I am wondering what you used to glue that tub surround into place

on the walls???

I hope it was not LIQUID NAILS....
I have had some very bad experiences with liquid nails....

the chemicals in Liquid Nails literally WARPED the plastic walls after

a few days.... and I ended up with a big mess....

I ended up just doing the job for free instead of tearing out the
whole thing.....and doing it over...

the only thing SAFE to use to glue those wall surround kits up with is

DAP ALEX 35 year siliconized caluk...clear is best...

and the best stuff to caulk the seams in with is a tube of

POLY SEAM SEAL but it is a very slow drying caluk and
takes about a week to realy set up hard....

second best is the silicone..

good luck

01-29-2006, 11:55 AM
Liquid Nails makes a specific product called "Tub Surround" which works fine. Regular construction Liquid Nails will destroy the walls.

master plumber mark
01-29-2006, 02:26 PM
I am sorry not to have clarified what liquid nail
I was speaking of,

I MEANT the kind that is
supposed to be used for tub surrounds....

it dont work, unless they have corrected the problem
in the last few years, I wont touch the stuff.......

it warps the plastic, whevever you put your beads of LN
it will make warped lines through the surround and is very visible

I even spread it out with a tile trough and it still warped the plastic

I am talking about any cheap tub surround you get at lowes
with the plastic walls for around $95 dollars

I found this out the hard way....cost me big time greif

I gave a job away instead of doing it over to make it perfect,
it would have killed another day , cut my losses and ran

and in my own home I installed a tub surround kit in feb 02 with
Dap Alex clear and it did fine without risking trying Liquid Nail

The ALEX works GREAT and is probably better anyway,

so at least for me, its better to be safe than sorry

01-29-2006, 03:49 PM
Hi folks,

Thanks for replying. I will keep an eye on the latex caulk and see what happens. Worse case scenario is that I will have to re-caulk it again I guess. I am very conscious of the fact that the old caulk needs to be removed before any new caulk goes on. I really appreciate the new cleaning tips you've given me ... vinegar, bleach, etc.

As for Liquid Nails ... yes, it was used (the stuff designed for tub surrounds). I am very interested to see what happens in the long term, especially given the comments about LN.

Thanks again!

01-29-2006, 05:48 PM
I'll vote Polyseamseal too...