Plumbing fixtures are built to last, but over time they do begin to show signs of wear and age. When materials used to install the fixture or the fixture itself start to degrade, the issue isn’t always just cosmetic. This wear could lead to leaks and serious water damage that comes with an expensive repair bill. If your bathtub sealing has started to break down, this is a problem you don’t want to ignore. Douglas Cooling & Heating explains why bathtubs should be resealed and the signs that tell you it’s time to start resealing your bathtub.
Why We Seal Bathtubs
Bathtubs come in many shapes and sizes. Freestanding and uniquely shaped soaking tubs are growing in popularity. However, not all bathrooms have the space necessary to accommodate these fixtures. Many homes throughout the Birmingham, AL area have bathrooms that are laid out with a tub that will sit against the wall on one or more of its sides. These tubs are functional and made to fit a space, and have been used for decades.
When bathtubs like this are installed, they must be sealed along the sides where the tub meets the wall. The drain fittings may also be sealed. If the bathtub isn’t sealed, a gap is created between the fixture and the wall. As bathtubs are made to hold water and facilitate showering, it’s inevitable that water will find its way out of the fixture and down into these spaces.
An unsealed bathtub will allow water to run down between the fixture and the wall with pretty much every use, to some extent. The water will pool down on the floor and creep underneath the tub, out of sight and out of mind. As time goes on, the water will rot out the woodwork below and around the tub and even cause mold to develop in these hidden areas. Eventually, the floor around the tub could warp or cave in, and long-term mold exposure in the home could cause some harmful health issues amongst your loved ones. Repairing water damage and mold remediation can be quite expensive, especially compared to the extremely affordable cost of resealing a bathtub throughout the years.
Signs It’s Time to Start Resealing a Bathtub
Depending on the material your bathtub is made of, this fixture can be expected to last anywhere from 10 to 25 years without glazing the bathtub again. Unfortunately, the remaining sealant used to install a bathtub doesn’t last as long. Poor installation, mold and mildew development, exposure to chemicals from regular cleaning your bathtub, and other factors can cause the bathtub’s caulking to break down over time. When the material has degraded, it can allow water to escape into the spaces between the tub and the wall and collect in this area, causing moisture and mold problems down the line.
Resealing a bathtub is typically needed a few times over the years in between bathtub installation and replacement. How do you know when it’s necessary to start resealing a bathtub? Here are some signs to be on the lookout for:
- Current caulk is 5 years old or more. With proper installation, the caulking around a bathtub can be expected to last around 5 years before it begins to degrade and fail. If the last time you found yourself resealing a bathtub was 5 or more years ago, now’s the time to get some new caulk and do the job again.
- Your brand-new home is 1 year old. While bathroom caulking typically lasts 5 years when properly installed, caulk around tubs in newly built homes may experience problems after just one year. This is because the new home can do some settling in that first year, which can cause the caulk to separate from the bathtub or wall surfaces. Just to be safe, start resealing a bathtub in a newly built home after a year.
- Existing caulk is stained. If the caulk around your tub has been stained, it’s possible the stains were caused by mold. As caulk breaks down, mold and mildew build up can even start developing within this material! Take stained caulk as a sign of potential mold growth and start resealing a bathtub to remove this growth from your home.
- Caulk is cracked, peeling, or pieces are missing. When your bathtub caulking is reaching the end of its lifespan, it starts to show signs of damage and can peel away from the surfaces. If you see signs of damage to the caulk, it’s time to reseal your tub.
If you want to tackle this job yourself, you’ll need a lot of tools. Masking tape, utility knife, caulk, or silicone sealant will help as well. Resealing a bathtub yourself can be an easy chore if you follow the directions closely and have all the proper tools handy.
Professional Services for Birmingham Bathtubs
Resealing a bathtub isn’t a job every homeowner wants to deal with on their own. If you’re due to replace the caulk around your tub, leave it to the pros! Call Douglas Cooling & Heating today for plumbing fixture repairs and our licensed plumbers will get to work resealing a bathtub for you right away!