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Sealing skirted bathtub

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phloaw

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There are plenty of tutorials for sealing/caulking bathtubs. However, my bathtub has a kind of skirting around its edge, as in picture:

How do I go about that? Should I caulk both edges? I plan to use standard silicone, would that be good for both? Is there any particular I should keep in mind for my configuration?

Note that the skirting is difficult to remove because it has a flange trapped beneath the tiles to keep it in place.

TIA
 

irhunter

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I can't really see what's going on in that pic. How about adding another pic showing the larger view?

Roy
 

Jeff Handy

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Many tubs have a built in flashing that keeps water from running down behind the tile and into the wall.

But some just have a level deck, and so it looks like this installer tried to get creative, to keep water from running behind the tile at the gap.

But it looks like hell, and is that surface resting on the tub even sealed at all?
Meanwhile, the end of it is just open.

If that thing is plastic, I would slice it out with a razor knife as high and deep as possible.
Fill the gap deeply with flexible bath tile mortar.
After curing, apply wide bead of pure silicone caulk.
 

phloaw

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Many tubs have a built in flashing that keeps water from running down behind the tile and into the wall.

But some just have a level deck, and so it looks like this installer tried to get creative, to keep water from running behind the tile at the gap.

But it looks like hell, and is that surface resting on the tub even sealed at all?
Meanwhile, the end of it is just open.

If that thing is plastic, I would slice it out with a razor knife as high and deep as possible.
Fill the gap deeply with flexible bath tile mortar.
After curing, apply wide bead of pure silicone caulk.
Yes, looks ugly, and probably your suggestion is the way to go, but I'm not sure I can manage to cut that plastic thing neatly enough.
Good question about the surface: I am not sure there is sealing currently.
 

Jeff Handy

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A snap blade type of razor knife will do it.
Multiple passes of shallow slices will take it out.

First cut the caulk bead under the tile.
Then hold the razor knife horizontal, parallel to the tub deck, and cut right along the bottom edge of the wall tile.

The snap blade knife has sectioned blades that can be snapped off to expose new sharp edges as needed.

Or buy a cheap Harbor Freight multi-tool.
About $17.00.
The head vibrates powerfully slightly side to side, and powers various cutting blades that will easily slip right under there.
 

Jeff Handy

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This video shows the variable speed version, which I have had for years, it is a lifesaver in situations where nothing else will work.

This version is about $35.00.


Towards the end of this video, you will see he has installed a long narrow oscillating saw blade.
That would easily slip under the bottom of your wall tiles, and cut off the plastic junk from the back edge of the wall tile.
Leaving a gap that you can vacuum out and thoroughly clean up with rubbing alcohol, then fill with high quality bath tile mortar.

I would fill the gap with mortar, using a grout bag, then while it is still soft I would take something like a paint stirrer and carefully push that first layer back about 1/4 inch from the front edge of the tile.
When that first layer sets, apply a second layer and tool it flush with the tile.
When that is fully cured, make a nice wide cove with pure silicone bath caulk.
Pure silicone is hard to work with, so do it in short sections, a few feet at a time, or it gets rubbery and hard to smooth out.
 
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Jeff Handy

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The multi-tools are often cheap.
They make their money on the blades!

Buy a few extra ones, they sometimes go dull pretty fast.

You might want to put duct tape or something on the bottom of the blade where it might be rubbing on the tub.

Or just rest some thin cardboard on the edge of the tub, so the vibrating blade does not scuff it up.

Good luck with your project.

Clean everything good, or new grout and silicone will not stick well.
New grout has to set and cure before caulking, more time is better.

Post pics if, err I mean when, everything is all done and looks great. Haha.

PS Several times in earlier posts I said to use mortar, I was meaning to say grout at all times.

Probably sanded grout, if the gap is over 1/8 inch.
The sand adds strength in wider joints.
Good quality powdered grout, not pre-mixed, and you might want to add an additive to make it more flexible.
You can find info on additives online, or ask at a tile store for help.

PPS A grout bag lets you squeeze out the grout more neatly into the crack.
It is similar to the kind of bag used to decorate a cake with colored icing.
There is a small nozzle on the end where the grout squeezes out.

Some people find it easier than loading the tile gap from off of a trowel, but any way you can get the grout in there will work, I have even used an old tablespoon on small repairs, and pushed the grout off it into the gaps with my fingers.
 
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phloaw

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I feel these are the kind of tricks-of-the-trade which can save a beginner, thank you again!
 

Aloha Mark

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You might want to put duct tape or something on the bottom of the blade where it might be rubbing on the tub.
Duct tape might smoke due to the friction of the blade. I have used aluminum flashing in the past but the surface was wider so it was easier to keep it in place with tape.

I can sympathize with the OP, since our old bathrooms have a 1.5" trench between the long edge of the tub and the wall tile. Absolutely looks like a kluge, and the previous owner must have poured in a whole bag of grout to seal the trench. It did not work due to the tub settling with water, and rising without it. I would have spent the money to pour liquid lucite (self-leveling) into the trench, but it would have cracked in time, and possibly even damaged the tile. If anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to make suggestions. I do not like paying $15K+ for bathroom remodeling, not to mention that fact that modern tubs just do not hold up very well.
 
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