I know that this isn't something that's particularly exciting, but now that the caulking has been replaced the shower feels like it's brand NEW now, which is pretty exciting if you have to stare at it on a daily basis (like me!) :)
These issues were starting to rear their ugly heads when we first moved in about two years ago. First, we had cracking grout in the corners of the shower stall. Second, we had some small gaps between the tiles and the edge of the handles and shower head. Third, we had this awesome mildew-y caulk where the tile meets the tub.
All these pictures are of a clean shower by the way...I've scrubbed and scrubbed and there is just no way that the caulk would ever be white again!
To replace everything, I needed to dig out the existing caulk and grout in the corners of the stall/tub, and replace it all with new caulk. To top it off, since we don't have another shower/tub in our house, all of this had to be done while keeping the bathroom fully functional. Oooooh, challenge accepted!
Digging out the old caulk turned out to be harder than I thought. I didn't want to use any chemical-based caulk remover because our tub is actually plastic rather than porcelain or enamel, and I didn't want to risk ruining it. What ended up working best for me was a razor blade and several small flat head screw drivers.
The grout was much easier to get out. I ended up using a small hammer and a punch/chisel to tap the grout to crack it, and then dug it out the pieces with a couple of small screw drivers. I even got the husband to agree to help me with some of the demo work! He said "yes" before he knew how much of a pain in the butt it was going to be.
It took me about a week to finish up this project working on it at night. To keep water out of the cracks while we showered, I taped a plastic drop cloth to the walls. It wasn't the perfect solution--when the hot water was on, the plastic billowed out and you spent your entire shower standing strategically so that the cold plastic didn't cling to you! Needless to say, it was motivation to get everything finished up!
This is with all of the caulk/grout dug out of the cracks. Before applying new caulk, I sprayed the gaps with bleach to kill off any residual mildew, and then wiped everything down with rubbing alcohol to get everything really clean. As you can see, the tiling job in the bathroom wasn't done particularly well because of all the uneven gaps between the tiles and the tub.
The uneven areas between the tub/tiles made the caulk application tricky because some areas only needed a small bead of caulk, and some areas needed a large bead to span the canyon-like gaps. I used tape to cordon off the areas where I needed to apply the caulk in an effort to keep the caulk where I wanted it to be. This helped keep the thickness of the caulk look even along the entire length of a wall.
The caulk that I used was silicone--the almond stuff was used in the tiled corners and I used the white stuff where the tub meets the tiles. This stuff is not to be messed with! Not only did I have to wash my hands about 10 times to get the residue to come off, but it also had a super strong smell. Even though I had the vent "on" in the bathroom, I still felt myself getting light headed at times, which proooobably wasn't a good thing.
This simple update makes the shower feel brand spankin' new, which is super exciting!