One of the most depressing sights in a bathroom is leaky or black, mouldy silicone. Fortunately it is one of the easiest things to fix too. If your silicone has gone black with mould you may be able to get high strength cleaner to fix the problem. However, it may be cheaper and more effective to just call it quits and get your silicone replaced. If your shower is leaking, silicone replacement is definitely the way forward. Here’s what you need to know.
You don’t have to have a toolkit fit for a professional bathroom fitter to do the job properly, but basic tools will help. These include: mould spray, a silicone and grouting profiling kit, a silicone remover, plastic scrapers, scrubbing brush, kitchen towel, meths, hair dryer, clean and dry cloths, silicone.
As with many DIY jobs, prepping your surface is one of the most important elements. Before you reseal, you need to make sure that the surface is clean and dry. This includes getting rid of any limescale, as it won’t be possible for your new silicone to form a good bond to the surface if you have limescale. While there are lots of expensive products on the market, limescale can actually be dissolved using vinegar. Be aware that limescale can damage chrome or aluminium, so before you go dousing your shower and fittings in vinegar, check it on a small area first. Apply vinegar and leave for half an hour. Once your time is up, see if you can easily wipe or scrape the limescale away without scratching the surface. If you can, great! If you can’t, try again but leave it for a little longer. If the vinegar damages or dulls the surface, you may have to rethink your options (or cap the length of time that you leave the vinegar).
Remove the existing silicone
Once you have banished limescale, you can start tackling the silicone. If even the tiniest spec of silicone remains, you won’t get a decent seal on the new silicone, which will result in leaks. There is no way of getting around this process and, be warned, it is laborious. Sealant remover can make the job slightly less arduous; apply it up to an hour beforehand and it will do a lot of the hard work for you. Once your silicone has softened, use your scraper to get the bulk of the silicone off. A plastic scraper is pretty effective and is less likely to damage your bath or shower tray than a metal one. Once most of it is off, give the surface a once over with a cloth, then go back over and remove the stubborn specks.
Once your silicone is removed, you are ready to clean down and get siliconing! Follow Trust A Trader on Facebook or Twitter for next week’s instalment, which covers the importance of clean surfaces, and how to get a professional finish. Can’t do it yourself? Check out our directory of bathroom fitters and handy people who will be able to help.