…And everyone’s invited! What kind of party? A caulk party!! Wait why are you all leaving?? Don’t go, it’s fun, I promise! Ok I lied it’s really boring, don’t leave me in here all by myself!
Bah, I’ve been scraping caulk from the inside of our shower for hours upon hours. Days upon days. This isn’t the quick little caulk removal you read about online. “Step one, use utility knife to cut edges of caulk from surface. Step two, pull caulk off with needle nose pliers. Step three, frolic in a meadow of happiness because you’re done!”
No, this is some mean, stubborn, angry caulk. This is multiple layers of two different types of caulk all stuck onto cracked grout and even in between the cracks. All sloppily slapped onto unevenly spaced, delicate slate tiles that chip off in layers if you scrape too vigorously. This caulk sucks.
Remember how after removing our loose tile we decided to go ahead and scrape up the old cracked grout so that we could replace it? That quick job turned into something that has lasted weeks.
Why go through so much trouble? Well we’ve been doing research on whether you should have caulk or grout at your “change of planes” (corners, where walls meet floors, etc) and there are mixed reviews when tiles are involved. But one thing that the internet community universally agreed on is that you shouldn’t have caulk AND grout. Which, of course, is we have. To make things worse, the grout underneath our caulk was cracked. That’s just asking for water to get in. So even though this is a pain, we want to deal with it now before we cause any water problems behind our walls.
This project is far from over, but I thought I’d go ahead and do rundown of the work it takes to get this stuff off inch by inch in case anyone else is considering a similar endeavor. This is no small task. You’ve been warned!!!
First off you gotta grab your tools. We used:
- Flat head screw driver
- Razor blade scraper
- Utility knife
- Grout saw
- Needle nosed pliers
- Safety goggles (or big glasses like me if you don’t feel like walking all the way out to the garage)
- Hair dryer
Maybe you don’t really need allllll those tools, but that’s everything we had. We used a pretty big range of weapons since so much trial and error was involved. We started by heating the stubborn caulk with a hair dryer. Warming it is supposed to make it more pliable. I think it worked a little, though I abandoned this step later on because I was getting way too sweaty in a closed shower with all that heat. Oh yeah it’s a sweaty shower party.
I took a little video for each of the steps that we found worked best for us. Please, try not to get too excited by the enthusiasm in my voice. Bonus- I sound like I’m lisping in the first video.
Step 1: Use razor blade scraper to separate the edges of the caulk from the tile.
Step 2: Use utility knife to scrape the whole thing down a few times.
Step 3: Grab your flathead and scrape along the caulk line to loosen it.
Step 4: Get stubborn grout off with utility knife and grout scraper. This is when you get the stuff stuck in the cracks.
Step 5: Use needle nose pliers to grab any bits still stuck. This is tedious.
Step 6: Grab the razor blade scraper again to clean up caulk still stuck to the tile around the edges.
Step 7: You’re done! With one linear foot. Get ready to stay in the shower a long time.
Well there you have it. SUPER exciting. I’ll just be doing this for the next million hours, thanks. But seriously. Hope this helps if anyone is stuck in the same pickle as us!