Caulking the change of plane ?

blubirdMarch 5, 2012

What should the change of plane caulk joint look like? I have a Swanstone shower pan which has a lip of about an inch. The original caulking done by the installer was a "coved" joint overlapping the lowest tile and continuing onto the pan's lip. Recaulking has been done the same way. However, I feel that using the squeegee shortens the life of the silicone as it tears the thinner, more fragile top edge.

Should a correctly done caulk joint look like the coved look or the recessed hidden one in my sketchy sketch?


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Coved is easier to clean.
It can be done either way, but, with it "coved", it's just more caulk and should last longer.
And, when it starts looking bad, you can see it.
The "grout" looking style could shrink or wear...and you might never know it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 7:54PM
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That's exactly why I'm having this dilemma. It's easier to sweep the squeegee over the coved caulk, but it shreds the thin top edge and allows it to have mold and water enter. I'm wondering if doing it the "grout" way, recessed, would look better and, hopefully, last longer, but I'm looking for people who have done it to give their experiences.

Thanks for replying, Dando.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Nice use of Pages for iPad, Dando!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Writersblock, What do you mean?

I caulked mine like the grout, just so it would look the same. It is harder to clean, and basically re-caulk is every year. Since, ya don't really know when it's peeling out or shrinking or cracking. (just harder to see).

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:03PM
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Oh, sorry, I meant blubird's drawing. Sorry for the confusion.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:14PM
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You're welcome, writersblock ;-). Too bad Pages doesn't have decent drawing tools like Macwrite and Appleworks in days of old. I'm a happy camper with my iPad...waiting for tomorrow''s big announcement.

Dando, re-caulking every year would be wonderful. Mine seems to need to be redone every 6 months...I manage to stretch it out but it's not a thing of beauty. I appreciate you sharing your experiences.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Mine may very well need it every 6 months, but, it's difficult to tell. (if it's bad/ugly, it doesn't show). Probably doesn't get cleaned around the floor as often or as well as it should either.
The way the inside of a shower should be constructed, shouldn't need caulk to "seal" or "prevent" intrusion. What is behind the the tile, or behind what you see is what should prevent water from going too far.
(an exception would be around a faucet or shower head arm, but, there should not be a steady flow of water directly on those items)

The caulk around corners is for expansion/contraction. In places where grout would crack...caulk will flex instead.

Where the floor meets my wall, I run a strip of tape on each side of the seam. I then caulk the seam, and wipe most of back out with my finger. That creates your "cove", BUT, I wiped most of it is actually back inside, or flush with the seam. (looks like a grout line).
I then gently peel the tape off the floor and wall, before the caulk starts to dry. If it's still "wet caulk", it will settle back down to the edges where the tape peeled it up.
When peeling up the tape, Off of the floor, for example...Grab the end of the tape and start peeling it off BUT, hold it against the tape that isn't peeled yet. Pulling it straight off makes a rouger edge than peeling it back, flat, against itself.
Sorry, That probably makes no sense and/or you probably already know this.
I tend to learn something new only to find out the rest of the world has known it forever.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 1:13PM
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I prefer like grout, especailly if you are using caulk that matches the grout.

The cove ends up when the tile setter puts the tile tight to the floor (or tub) and fails to leave enough gap for caulk.

It makes for a wider caulk line, and I do not agree it is easier to clean.

The feathered edges tend to get damaged quickly and can look pretty bad after only a few cleanings.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 4:53PM
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I lean toward mold colored grout and caulk also. Not really, but....the thought has crossed my mind a time or two..LOL!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 12:28PM
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I'm with you, Dando. Mold colored grout/caulk would be wonderful; unfortunately it's grouted with Tek's Pearl. Actually, the grout is in wonderful condition.

Now does the advice for the appearance of that horizontal change of plane seam change if I use silicone as opposed to siliconized acrylic?

And....can I continue to use silicone for the vertical seams and use the tile-matching acrylic for that horizontal seam? Do they get along well together?


    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:10AM
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