Whether you’re working in new construction or finishing up a remodel on a bathroom, caulk can be a real pain. Caulk applied around the shower faces a wide variety of stress factors that limit its longevity, which takes away from customer satisfaction and requires you to redo your best work over and over again for years down the road.
Common Shower Caulking Problems
A solid, dependable product that lives up to the promises on its packaging is hard to find, but it’s the key to a lasting job for shower installations. A caulk that can withstand shrinkage and expansion of gaps, hold its seal, and repel the dreaded growth of mold or mildew is crucial to keeping customers happy and to finishing a job that’s attractive and that will last until the end of time (or at least for many, many years).
Think about it- 12 gallons of water plus one adult male equal roughly 350 lbs. in the tub! Shifting weight and pressure cause both shrinkage and expansion in joints, which cause the caulk to crack or to break its water-tight seal. New construction and older homes alike also experience settling over time, and caulk often stiffens too much to handle these long-term movements, breaking and allowing moisture to accumulate in the process.
Even after it cures, effective caulk needs to stretch and bend to various pressures while holding its seal rather than cracking or tearing free. This means that it needs stretching capabilities along with strong bonding properties. Only with the right combination of adhesion and elasticity will caulk be able to stand up to these different movements and pressures over time.
Homeowners generally dread what they think is a necessary annual caulk re-do, especially in spaces that experience constant humidity and moisture. With a caulk that bends and bonds more effectively, your customers might not need the shower recaulked every few years, saving them money and maintaining your good reputation.
Short & Long-Term Problems
A good caulk job is neat and barely noticeable. When caulk breaks, it looks messy and leads to much bigger problems in the bathroom and potentially even throughout other parts of the home.
Leaks and Water Damage: There’s nothing worse than stepping out of the shower onto a soaking-wet floor...except for structural damage. That might be worse. Without the watertight seal that caulk provides, water inside the shower can work its way onto the bathroom floor or worse, back into unreachable places that you can’t even see. With little air to dry it out, the water will sit undisturbed, damaging drywall and even eroding tile adhesive. The longer moisture accumulation goes without detection, the more damage it causes.
Rot, Mold, & Mildew: It isn’t just water that encourages mold and mildew growth. Oils and other ingredients in kitchen and bathroom products build up on the surface of the caulk and surrounding tile and actually become food for mildew and mold spores. Yes, you heard it right: every time someone uses conditioner in the shower, they’re actually feeding potential mold colonies.
Gaps between caulk and the shower or the tile allow moisture to accumulate in unthinkable (and unreachable) places. Along with residual oils from body products, these pockets of collected water provide the perfect, protected place for mold, mildew, and rot to thrive.
Structural Damage: When left unnoticed for long periods of time, a leak in the caulk leads to structural damage as water breaks down not only the drywall but wooden support beams as well. Even after the shower is re-caulked, standing moisture can wreak silent havoc for years and can result in expensive, extensive remodels of a home’s support structure.
Damage to Reputation: Let’s face it: any customer who finds themselves facing a weekend-long re-caulking job in their bathroom isn’t happy. While inferior caulk will crack and break no matter how skillful the application, broken caulk doesn’t earn any brownie points for the contractor who installed the shower. While this is admittedly a shameless plug, we want to acquaint you with a new technology answer: CleanSeal.
CleanSeal Caulking Technology
Acrylic-Latex Vs. Silicone Caulk
There are two types of caulk for interior jobs: acrylic-latex and silicone. Silicone has excellent elasticity, but the removal or replacement process is a pain requiring chemical cleaners and extensive surface preparation that are both smelly and time-consuming. When acrylic-latex caulk is engineered to maintain its flexibility over time, it becomes a great choice for shower caulk jobs.
Acrylic-latex caulks, like CleanSeal, bonds immediately to surfaces and dries quickly. It’s also water-based, which is a huge advantage for application: make a mistake, and all you need to clean up is a little bit of warm water and a rag.
CleanSeal’s powerful sealing properties (AKA excellent adhesion) create strong bonds with plastic, tile, metal, and other materials used in kitchens and bathrooms, ensuring a water-tight seal that won’t zipper or crack after years of use.
CleanSeal is engineered to withstand the fluctuation of pressure and movement over time. We’ve designed it to put up with the weight changes that happen when a customer gets in and out of the shower or sits on the toilet. CleanSeal’s max stretch is 500% of it’s original size!
CleanSeal Active Enzyme Technology
We’ve saved the best feature for last: CleanSeal is engineered the first and only caulk with Active Enzymes – a cutting-edge technology that prevents mold and mildew growth before it forms by feeding on the oil and grease agents from bath and kitchen product – no food means no pesky mold growing on and in your caulking.
This added touch not only benefits the health of your customers and the cleanliness of their bathrooms--it impacts the contractor image and long-term homeowner satisfaction. When you can promise a leak and mold-free shower, your customers can feel happy and confident about your work.
Watch CleanSeal Enzymes In Action
Finding the Best Caulk for Showers
Imagine a clean shower with spotless, mildew-free caulk lines--and imagine them staying that way for a long time. CleanSeal ensures quality work by providing contractor teams with products that proactively keep customers happy and help build your reputation. A caulk that bends with time and holds its seal, giving you peace of mind that your customer will be satisfied with your work for years to come. With added agents that fight against the growth of mold and mildew, CleanSeal is a product we’re confident in, and we’re happy to provide it to you and your customers for minimum maintenance and long-term durability and satisfaction.
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This month's training tip comes directly from a question we received recently.