When you’re renovating a bathroom, aesthetics are often just as important as functionality. Many homeowners want to show off their beautiful tile, metal, or granite fixtures in the shower without visible caulk lines. However, they’ll still need caulking that will take the abuse of shower and tub environments. A high-performance clear shower sealant is a great solution to this problem.
Not just any clear caulk will work in the shower. Many caulks are advertised as being clear, but are foggy-translucent at best, often with a slight yellow or grey tinge. A caulk may even dry clear, but just is not up to the challenges of the bath. Ask yourself, “How can a truly water-clear sealant (when applied properly) change the game for me and my customer?”
Location Matters! Where You Should Use Clear Shower Caulk…
Have you ever considered using sealant that will actually enhance the design? The right one can! And it should. Your customers are buying the look you can create. Many people opt to use subway or brightly-colored tiles as a design element in the bathroom. A water-clear sealant will disappear and let these tiles really pop. There are many points throughout the bathroom where you can benefit from using a clear shower sealant. In general, clear caulks are a great way to emphasize the unique materials your clients are using. It enhances the overall look of the shower instead of distracting from it.
If the shower has a glass door that needs to be caulked, you’ll want a clear formula. White caulk on any glass fixtures can look out of place and disrupt the flow of the room. Additionally, clear caulk can look very nice on shower fixtures and back plates, especially if they’re made from metal.
Finally, clear caulk works well around the bathtub. This helps the tub blend in with the new designer tiles on the market like travertine, wood-look, or marble. A visible caulk line can draw unwanted attention to the seams around the tub, whereas a clear caulk helps the entire bathroom blend together visually.
Features To Look For In A Clear Caulk
In the bathroom, you’ll need a caulk that stays fully clear once it’s dried. However, your caulk’s performance is just as important as the way it looks. Bathroom caulk sees a lot of wear and tear, especially in the shower. You’ll want to make sure that the finished product is something that will last for years without the need for repairs. Here are some of the key features you need in a clear caulk for the bathroom.
One of the most important features to look for in any sealant is elasticity. It’s normal for homes to shift and move over time, and you’ll need the caulking to be able to move with it. Low quality caulks will detach and crack when a home starts to shift, requiring frequent repairs. Moving from a caulk that dries hard to a high-quality construction sealant that can stretch and recover through hundreds of cycles will truly change the game.
Bathroom caulks are exposed to water every day, so you’ll need a formula that creates a water-tight seal. Up-leveling from a run-of-the-mill caulk to a high-quality construction sealant will yield these advantages. A waterproof sealant prevents leaks that could damage the structure of your client’s home. The right sealant will have powerful adhesion across a variety of bath surfaces: porcelain, glass, tile, brass, nickel, stone, and fiberglass. The sealant should not damage these materials while it adheres tightly should be so adhesive that it won’t peel off, even with exposure to water and other liquids. Your customers will want to be able to clean their showers regularly without worrying about over-scrubbing.
Mold and Mildew Prevention
Since the shower is such a moist area, it makes the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can become an irritant for people who have allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. It is also very difficult to clean once it starts to appear. When selecting a caulk for your shower, you’ll want one that resists mold and mildew growth. Waterproof caulks are very effective, because they minimize the moisture that mold needs in order to grow. Some caulks also use mildew resistant chemicals or enzymes to further prevent mold growth.
LexelⓇ Clear for Tubs and Showers
LexelⓇ is a multipurpose clear sealant from Sashco that works very well in the shower and many other areas of your house. It is truly clear and has the elasticity to handle plenty of movement and wear. Unlike silicone caulks, it won’t change color when it’s exposed to other substances or changes in temperature. You can also paint over this caulk if you want it to match other surfaces in the bathroom.
One of the reasons why Lexel works so well for showers is that you can apply it to virtually any surface, wet or dry. It doesn’t matter what material the shower is made from, this sealant has tenacious adhesion to a variety of substrates. Once the caulk cures, it creates a tough waterproof seal that can resist heavy scrubbing. It’s designed to handle movement without cracking or peeling off, so the homeowner can clean their shower as much as they want without it budging.
How To Tool Clear Caulk
Once you’ve applied the caulk, you’ll need to smooth it out for an aesthetically pleasing finish. This is usually called ‘tooling’ the caulk, and it can be done with your finger or with a tool specifically designed for caulking. As with any caulk, you can use painter’s tape to ensure a straight, clean edge. This is especially important when caulking on glass doors and other clear surfaces where you need the caulk to blend in.
Before tooling, wet your finger (or tool) with either a clear glass cleaner or soap and water. Then, you’ll want to gently float over the caulk bead to smooth out any bumps. Wipe away any excess caulk and repeat the process as necessary.
For a sleek, modern look in the shower, you’ll want to use a truly clear caulk. You will be enhancing the design at the same time you caulk. And, if you want to go from a caulk to a high performance sealant use Sashco’s LexelⓇ. It’s perfect for moist environments like the bathroom and will never be an eyesore. Your customers will not only love the aesthetics, but they’ll be thrilled with the long-lasting durability.
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This month's training tip comes directly from a question we received recently.