Over time, even ‘mould-proof’ silicone can discolour and become mouldy, making your bathroom look dirty and unloved. If the silicone has shrunk, moved or split, it may also mean that water leaks through on to the floor when you have a bath, which is altogether more serious. Follow this handy guide to learn how to replace it.
The key to a professional finish is preparation, so start by taking the time to remove the remaining silicone completely using the method best suited to your bathroom.
Try using a Stanley knife blade to gently cut it away from the tiles and the top of the bath/basin. Be careful not to damage the surface of your bath.
Alternatively, you can buy a special silicone remover tool that makes it an easier job.
For an especially tidy result, you can paint on some silicone remover fluid, leave for 15 minutes and wipe off any pesky excess.
Clean and dry the area ready for the new silicone, but before you begin, strip off and run yourself a nice warm bath or fill your basin with water.
The method behind this madness is that a full bath is a lot heavier than an empty bath, and therefore it will sit slightly lower. If you silicone it when it’s in this position it will remain sealed when full.
However, if you silicone it when it’s empty, once it’s full of water – and you – the weight and subsequent movement can break the silicone away from the bath and you won’t have a water-tight finish.
Before you get in, have to hand your silicone gun and a packet of wet wipes. Gently gun a neat bead of silicone all along the ends and edge of the bath, at the joining point of the bath and tiles.
Now, use your finger and gently smooth the bead of silicone so that it forms a convex shape between the tiles and the bath edge – and use the baby wipes to remove the excess silicone from your finger each time. There are many ideas about the best way to do this and you can buy various contraptions, but baby wipes and a finger work just fine.
Be careful not to get the silicone wet when you get out of the bath and leave the water until the silicone has set – see the tube for details of how long this takes as it can vary.
Step-by-step images are taken from the Haynes Women’s Home DIY Manual by Kerrie Hanafin, available to buy from £11.99. It’s full of practical step-by-step guides to a wide range of home renovation projects, from essential tools for your home DIY kit to understanding electrical circuits and laying various types of flooring.