Removing Bathroom Sealant: A Step-by-Step Guide

Date of Publication: 12th April 2018

Over time, the sealant in your bathroom can become dirty and ineffective, so it is beneficial to replace it occasionally. However, removing it is not as simple as it may appear. If done incorrectly, you could end up scratching or damaging the bathtub, shower, or basins that you are trying to reseal.

Close up image of a man removing old sealant with a scraping tool

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to safely and effectively remove bathroom sealant.

Eliminating Old Bathroom Sealant

There are several tools that you can employ to remove old bathroom sealant. Many individuals opt to utilize a Stanley knife. While this can be effective, it is not the most secure option as it puts you at risk of cutting yourself or damaging the appliance you are intending to reseal.

If you choose to use a knife, follow these steps:

  • Cut along the length of the silicone to separate it from the wall.
  • Grasp a loose edge and carefully peel it away. If you are lucky, the silicone will come off in long, smooth strips with minimal residue.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer to prioritize safety, you can purchase a sealant remover tool for under £10. These tools allow you to scrape off the old silicone without jeopardizing your appliance. They can also be used to smooth out the new sealant.

    Utilizing Removal Gel

    The aforementioned tools are cost-effective and often effective, but they require considerable effort. For a less strenuous option, consider using a sealant removal gel. Once again, these products are reasonably priced, with large cartridges available for less than £10.

    To use the gel:

  • Place the tube in a mastic gun and trim a small portion off the end.
  • Squeeze the gel into the old sealant.
  • Wait. It is recommended to let the gel sit for at least 2 hours, although it is often better to wait at least 12 hours, especially if the sealant is very old and worn.
  • When using sealant removal gel, you have two options. You can either apply the gel first and allow it to break down the silicone, making it easier to scrape off, or you can manually scrape off the old sealant first and then use the gel to dissolve any stubborn remnants that refuse to come off.

    Removing Any Remaining Residue

    If there are any stubborn pieces of silicone that do not come off, apply a small amount of white spirit to an old cloth and rub it over the leftover residue until it dissolves. The alcohol in the white spirit reduces the stickiness of the silicone, making it easier to wipe away. If there are still remnants remaining, you can remove them by using pliers or tweezers, or by scraping them away with a toothbrush.

    Once you have successfully removed all of the old sealant, clean the underlying surface with alcohol. Then, create a mixture of bleach and water to eliminate any mold that may be present underneath the sealant.

    Ensuring thorough cleanliness of the area is of utmost importance when removing sealant from a tiled wall. If the tile is not properly cleaned, the silicone may not adhere effectively to the surface due to the presence of grime, which can lead to water seepage and potential mold issues.

    It is essential to wait for the surface to completely dry before proceeding with the application of new silicone.

    If removal gel was utilized to eliminate the old silicone, it is necessary to apply white spirit to the surface in order to eradicate any traces of the gel. Failure to do so may result in the removal of the new sealant.

    Applying Fresh Bathroom Sealant

    Now that the old sealant has been removed, the surface has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, it is time for the resealing process. Whether you are resealing a bathtub, sink, or shower, the following steps can be followed:

  • Insert the sealant tube into the mastic gun and trim the tip to match the width of the gap between the appliance and the wall.
  • Squeeze the silicone into the gap while simultaneously wiping away any excess.
  • Create a solution by combining equal parts washing up liquid and water.
  • Dip your finger into the solution and use it to smooth out the silicone, creating a seamless and concave finish.
  • No More Leaks Bath & Shower Waterproof Sealing Kit

    Kudos Shower Tray Flexi Seal

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