Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Bathroom Caulking Job from Hell

Toilet Before: note extreme nastiness
Allow me to begin by saying I hate my apartment maintenance people.  They do not know how to do their jobs.  When the contractor built this apartment, the caulking guy on his crew did a good job with plumber's putty and latex caulking.  Really, it was a fine job: not too much caulking, not sloppy, nice even work.  The bonehead repair guy that followed him with silicone caulking must have used his elbow to smear it out, then he used snot or something equally vile to add texture or whatever it was I saw embedded in the caulk.  Eew.

Tub Before: only stuck to the tub
Since we moved in to our complex a year ago, we've had the maintenance crew in our apartment a number of times.  They have told me I didn't know what I was talking about regarding a dying fan in one of our wall heaters... I did.  The installed and secured our air conditioner with packing tape.  Yeah.  Our bathroom faucet broke, but rather than replacing the entire structure, they just unscrewed one handle, smudged some grease on the bolt, and screwed on a "new" handle.  And by new I mean run-over-by-a-semi-in-a-muddy-vat-of-oil-scratched-until-highly-textured.  I won't even start about the mold issues we have in the window sills, the garbage the neighbors left outside their door for almost two weeks, and the noise level we've had to endure.  So when I noticed the cracked and rotting caulking around the tub and toilet this winter, I didn't exactly have the highest confidence in quality repair.
Tub: tape removed, *shudder
On the other side of my story, I am my father's daughter.  If I'm going to do the job, I'm going to do it right the first time.  And I'll do it myself.  Okay, the I am my mother's daughter bit also played a role in how completely disgusted I was not being able to see clean, white caulk after cleaning.  I'll do the damn job myself.
Tub: after cleaning
So I did.

Monday evening was spent scraping and scraping at the horrible latex around the toilet.  It was nauseating work, back-pain causing, and not exactly fun.  I ended up having to use a putty knife, a utility knife, a stupid scrapy tool from DAP, the edge of an old gift card, and green scouring pads to get the whole lot of gunk up.  I took Tuesday afternoon off (yay, haircut!) and ripped up the caulking tape that was next to the tub.  Never, ever use that stuff!  Behind the tape, oh my, it was nasty bad.  I worked carefully, breathed little, and scrubbed much.  Within two hours I had a beautifully clean area.  I layed down my blue painter's tape to create a clean edge.  That was a trick I learned on YouTube.  (When in doubt about how to do a job, watch videos online.  Just be sure to watch more than one.)  I squirted a stripe of caulking into the corner, slid my angle tool along the floor and tub, and poof! nice clean 45° angle.  Well, almost that easy.  It was tricky at first since I was unsure of myself, but I kept reminding myself that no matter how bad of a job I did that it would never look as bad as it had looked before.
Tub prepped: note realistic coloring
What do you know? It looks better.  In fact, I'd say it looks great!  I still have to caulk around the toilet, but I have learned a lot now and can put those skills to use tomorrow.  So I might not post again.

Oh, and if my apartment maintenance guys get mad at me for doing their job for them, well, they can just... Exactly. 
Tub After: YAY!

1 comment:

Skunk said...

A great trick that I learned from our plumber is that right after you lay down the caulk, use a wet finger to smooth out the texture--works great, especially around the toilet.