While searching for info on caulking shower surrounds i read somewhere that 100% silicone will not bond to acrylic tub surfaces. Also, Acrylic latex caulk tends to get moldy quickly.
the manufacturer of the tub surround specifies 100% silicone caulk.
Well, I opted for 100% silicone caulk and used it to bond the tub's tiling flange to the three wall edges of the tub as per manufacturer's instructions. (both tub and tiling flange are MAXX products). I installed a Mirolin polyurethane plastic tub surround ensuring that there were minimum gaps where tub surround meets tub surface. I applied the 100% silicone caulk to all joints and used a caulking tool to smooth the joints and remove excess caulking. Silicone caulking is a pain to use but I took exceptional care in applying it and smoothing it. The caulking joints look great. Very professional, not messy at all.
3 months later, after showering, I notice water dripping down through the bathroom floor onto the downstairs hallway floor. Luckily, my hallway ceiling has not been drywalled in yet so I was able to see where the water was leaking from. It appears that the leak is coming from a section of the tub/tub surround joint located near the corner of the long wall and the shower fittings wall. I can't understand how so much water can pass through a caulked tub surround joint and then pass through the tiling flange joint and then find its way to puddle onto the downstairs floor. It baffles my mind.
The tub rim surface is sloping away from, not slanted towards, the wall/tub joint.
The caulk joint seal at the suspected leak area where the caulk meets the tub surface appears to be broken. This may have happened from someone leaning on the tub rim or pressing on the wall surround to clean the tub/shower walls, causing enough flexing in the joint to break the seal. If that is the case then silicone does not bond properly (mechanically) to acrylic surfaces and should not be recommended for use by the manufacturer or anyone else.
I applied 3M blue painter's tape to cover the joint at the suspected leak area and had 2 more showers without any leaks.
I am considering masking over all the joints at the tub/wall intersections using 3M fiberglass tape to cover the caulk joints, but that will look really crappy.
I refuse to rip it all out and redo it again.
There seems to be a lot of differing opinions on this forum concerning which caulking type to use at what application.
Is there a definitive consensus anywhere on this forum on which type of caulk is proven compatible and will create a strong mechanically bonded seal with acrylic plastic, polyurethane plastic and that won't be susceptible to mold problems?
If so, how do I remove the silicone at the broken seal joints without ruining the tub or the tub surround?
Can someone recommend a reasonable remedy besides taped-over caulk joints?
Has anyone else ever considered or experienced this problem of shower caulking compatibility issues? It seems rather critical as it is the first line of defense for preventing water ingress past the tub joints.
Why does a manufacturer specify a caulking type that will not bond mechanically to their product? Don't they research this stuff?
If Silicone does not bond properly (mechanically) to acrylic products, can I hold the manufacturer responsible for compensation towards fixing the problem?