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Caulk Removal

Caulk Removal

Old caulk is a pain to remove. It is a time consuming tedious job that no one likes. How the caulk will be removed the easiest is just going to be trial and error on your part. This page will give you several different option that you can try. The method you will use to remove the old caulk depends on three different considerations.

First Consideration: Are you removing caulk from a soft surface like wood or fiberglass, or is it a hard surface like glass or ceramic tile?

Second Consideration: Is the caulk still soft or is it hard?

Third Consideration: What type of caulk is it?

Lets talk about the First Consideration If the surface you are removing the caulk from is hard you have a lot of options. You can try to use a razor blade type scraper, a metal putty knife or even a flat blade screw driver. If you are going to use the razor blade type scraper it is important to use sharp razors, change them often if they are becoming difficult to scrape with. While you are scraping you will want to keep the blade as parallel to the surface that you are scraping as you can. You also need to make sure that you are not damaging the surface you are removing the caulk from. You probably won’t be able to get all of the material off by scraping alone. You will most likely have to use a solvent (like paint thinner or mineral spirits) to get the remaining residue off.

If the surface you are removing the caulk from is softer, like wood or fiberglass, your options are more limited. If your removal surface is fiberglass you can still try a putty knife or a razor blade type scraper, (the razor blade type scraper will work the best). But when you are using the scraper you need to be very careful that you do not gouge the removal surface. Like with the hard removal surface you will want to keep the blade type scraper as parallel to the removal surface as possible. With a fiberglass removal surface you will still probably need to use some type of solvent to remove the remaining residue. If your removal surface is wood you are pretty much limited to using a surface type scraper or a plastic type scraper like a putty knife.

With both hard and soft removal surfaces you can also try using a caulk removal tool. There are various different types of caulk removal tools that you can try that can be picked up at any hardware store.

Taking the Second and Third Consideration into Account If the caulk is softer (probably the Silicon type), it will usually be easier to scrape off. If the caulk is harder and dry (probably the Acrylic Latex type caulk) it will be easier to chip off.

There is another method you can also try that utilizes a liquid caulk softener. One company makes a product called Caulk-Be-Gone and another makes an Adhesive & Caulk Remover, two commercial products that can assist you in the job. These products are specially formulated to soften caulk for easy removal. It may take several hours for the caulk softener to work, so take your time and follow the manufacturers directions.

However you decide to remove the old caulk, it is important that the surfaces be clean and dry before you re-apply the new caulk. Before applying the new caulk it is a good idea to use a mildew killer to remove any mildew prior to applying the new caulk. Immediately after eradicating the mildew, you can use a hair dryer to thoroughly dry out the area quicker. The joint can now be re-caulked. See the Caulking Installation Tips page.

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