Caulk doesn't stick to stainless steel sink

markweaverJanuary 6, 2014

Help! Crisis! I re-caulked my stainless steel kitchen sink undermounted to granite countertop. I scraped out the old caulk then I used TSP and scrubbed the surface well with a stiff bristle brush (large toothbrush size) and rinsed thoroughly. I let it dry overnight. Then I caulked with DAP Kwik Seal Plus premium kitchen and bath adhesive sealant. I kept it dry for three days even though the label says avoid water for 24 hours. Then for a week I dried it with a towel every time I used the sink. Shortly after that the caulk came loose all around the sinks. There is no expiration date on the tube. Help! Water is leaking into my cabinet and destroying the particle board. Does caulk adhere to stainless steel? The tube does not say what surfaces it works with. Help me Obi Wan Kenobi! How do I seal my leaky sink?

This post was edited by markweaver on Mon, Jan 6, 14 at 15:30

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lazy_gardens

What did the directions on the tube of caulk say to use for cleaning?

If the stainless steel is clean and oil-free, DAP should stick to it. Your problem is probably that you didn't remove the old caulk (at least it sounds like you didn't)

Remove the sink completely (disconnect plumbing), clean all the surfaces to get rid of the old caulk and clean them with 70% rubbing alcohol to get rid of any residue, then re-install the sink with a nice BIG bead of caulk. Be careful to NOT touch any surface you are caulking with bare skin, because skin oils prevent adhesion.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:11PM
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markweaver

Thanks for the instant reply. I did scrape out all the old caulk thoroughly. The tube doesn't specify cleaning solution, just says to clean it. I will try alcohol this time instead of the TSP, which maybe left a residue even though I rinsed thoroughly. If I have to remove the sink, should I put in one of those undercounter gaskets?

NEWS BULLETIN!!! I just called the 800 number and a lady with a charming New Zealand accent said the issue may be silicone residue from the old caulk, even though I thoroughly scrubbed it with TSP. She said to try a silicone caulk which will adhere to old silicone residue. She also checked the lot number and said it was a fresh lot.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:41PM
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snookums2

I believe the application requires a 100% silicone caulk, not a siliconized latex like the Qwik Seal product.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:58PM
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detroit_burb

try denatured alcohol to remove the residue, you should not have to take it all apart

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:26PM
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snoonyb

Silicone is best when buried 20' deep in a landfill, unopened.
Use POLYSEAMSEAL, it tools with your dampened finger, adheres readily, can be mixed for color matches and stays flexible for 20yrs.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:27PM
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snookums2

You say that a lot but provide no supporting information, just a sales pitch.

Here is a link that might be useful: polyseam opinions

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:07PM
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snoonyb

"You say that a lot but provide no supporting information, just a sales pitch."

Your link;polyseam opinions
led back to this; "Silicone between marble counter and backsplash is coming off", another Garden Web thread in which one opinion passed it off as a latex caulk.

That person knows little or nothing about the product.

But back to "just a sales pitch".

So, I'll be expecting, but not holding my breath, you to provide a back quote in which I named and addressed a specific supplier.

I speak from over 30yrs. of experience, including yesterday.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:35PM
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Trebruchet

markweaver:

Pure silicone definitely sticks to stainless steel. I have reinstalled at least 20 sinks that have failed so I know personally that sometimes I have to take my Rotex 150 on grinder mode with 80 grit paper to remove old silicone from the flange of a stainless steel sink.

Cabinet failure is the least of your problems if your top is stone and has been rodded improperly. Water penetration between the bottom of the stone and the sink flange will dump water right at the rod causing it to rust. Rusting rods expand and expanding rods crack stone.

If you are somewhat handy, disconnect your plumbing and drive a scraper between your flange and top. Remove the sink and remove the old silicone from the flange and bottom of the stone. Install a Hercules Universal Sink Harness (google Braxton Bragg), run a pipe clamp through the sink hole and through a 2x4 spanning your sink opening. Apply 100% clear silicone to the sink flange and tighten the clamp to hold the sink in place until you get the HUSH tightened. Remove the clamp and spray the silicone squeeze-out with Windex. Spit on you finger and remove the excess silicone from the sink/stone junction. Wipe off the Windex and you're done and reconnect your sink.

A topical application of silicone is not going to fix your problem, I promise.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:09PM
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snoonyb

Trebruchet

It's always refreshing to view the detail and extent that is required to properly remove the failed silicone, and prepare the area, in preparation to reestablish a suitable seal.

But what's also interesting, is that you are a proponent of re-using the same failed product.

While I've been required to employ much the same methods of removal and preparation you detailed, I used POLYSEAMSEAL.

As I've said before, while not being the recipient of many dinner invitations, I also don't have any warranty call-backs.

Do it right, the first time.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:01AM
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Trebruchet

"But what's also interesting, is that you are a proponent of re-using the same failed product."

snoonyb:

The silicone did not fail. The silicone's job is to provide waterproofing between the sink flange and the bottom of the countertop which it does exceptionally well. It is not the job of silicone to support sinks.

The job of supporting the sink goes to mechanical fasteners. Wood shims with gobs of polyester bridging the flange does not qualify, but I see it constantly.

I would never recommend the use of a latex caulk such as Polyseamseal and I will be dumbfounded if you can find a single granite or estone manufacturer who recommends same for sink use.

Furthermore, Locktite, the manufacturer of Polyseamseal, does not recommend its use between two nonporous surfaces.

Here is a link that might be useful: Polyseamseal

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 16:40

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:32PM
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snoonyb

" Trebruchet"

You wrote this; "The silicone did not fail.":

Yet previously wrote this;

"Pure silicone definitely sticks to stainless steel. I have reinstalled at least 20 sinks that have failed so I know personally that sometimes I have to take my Rotex 150 on grinder mode with 80 grit paper to remove old silicone from the flange of a stainless steel sink."

"The silicone's job is to provide waterproofing between the sink flange and the bottom of the countertop which it does exceptionally well."

As does POLLYSEAMSEAL. The exceptions are the user friendly workability, can be mixed for color match and is paintable in addition to curing to a smooth easily cleaned surface.

"It is not the job of silicone to support sinks."

That true, despite some hard surface vendors who advocate otherwise.

"I would never recommend the use of a latex caulk such as Polyseamseal"

You are aware that a $.99 tube of painters caulk, is a latex caulk, yet it's only similarity to POLYSEAMSEAL us that it's paintable.

"and I will be dumbfounded if you can find a single granite or estone manufacturer who recommends same for sink use."

I'm familiar with four. But then I caulk the sinks, I warranty the seal, I've gone back after 10 or more years and changed both sinks and hard surface products.

"Furthermore, Locktite, the manufacturer of Polyseamseal, does not recommend its use between two nonporous surfaces."

So, a hard surface product and a SS, porcelain or vitreous china would be acceptable, since those are 1 & 1?

"From the OP;Help! Crisis! I re-caulked my stainless steel kitchen sink undermounted to granite"

By the way American Standard and Kohler, long before LOCKTITE, would include a small tube of color-matched POLYSEAMSEAL with their sinks and tubs, I wonder why.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:35PM
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Trebruchet

"I'm familiar with four."

snoonyb:

List them please.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:14AM
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snoonyb

Trebruchet

The rest if the statement should clear it up for you.

If I don't do it, I'm there when it's done.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Trebruchet

snoonyb:

I have claimed that I would be dumbfounded if any major granite or estone manufacturer advocated the use of latex caulk for sink installations.

You have claimed that you know of four that do, but will not list them.

I can substantiate the things I say here; I don't think it unreasonable to expect others to do the same.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 9:48PM
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snoonyb

Since you insist, I will point your failure at reading comprehension.

Trebruchet"

"I can substantiate the things I say here; I don't think it unreasonable to expect others to do the same."

And how many times have you named the vendors you use?

ME;
"I'm familiar with four. But then I caulk the sinks, I warranty the seal, I've gone back after 10 or more years and changed both sinks and hard surface products."

In that statement, which I suggested you read again, "who caulked the sinks", "who warrantied the seal"?

I do not tell them what to use to secure their products to the cabinets. But when it comes to sealing around sinks, tubs and flat to vertical intersections, I do that because I warranty my work and have a 30+ year record of no warranty call backs, from my actions.

My success depends upon me alone and every subject I post about is based upon my having performed those trade functions.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 3:36AM
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Trebruchet

"And how many times have you named the vendors you use?"

snoonyb:

Please review my first post in this thread, where I suggest the use of a Hercules Universal Sink Harness and in parenthesis give the location of the vendor. I'm sure there are more, but I'm not going to search just to prove you wrong additionally.

While I understand your warranting your own work, the written record here shows that you have claimed that you have 4 manufacturers that recommend Polyseamseal for stainless steel undermount sink installation. I simply asked you to specify those manufacturers which you have failed to to. Your failure makes me and other readers believe that you don't have 4 manufacturers specifying Polyseamseal for stainless steel undermount sink installation.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:32PM
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snookums2

Honestly, you sound like you work for them. Nothing to do with suppliers.

There are many polyseal products, exactly which one are you recommending?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:44PM
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snoonyb

Trebruchet

Your referenced vendor was for a sink harness and the vendor information may cause some in here to accuse you of shilling for them, as they have of me, twice now.

So, now do you see why my relationship with my vendors are sacred?

"Your failure makes me and other readers believe that you don't have 4 manufacturers specifying Polyseamseal for stainless steel undermount sink installation."

You are aware of the distinct difference between "recommend" and "specify", when applied to warranties, don't you?

How about, getting a life?

snookums2

Trebruchet earlier provided a link.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:52PM
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snookums2

Trebruchet provided a link. I was asking which one you use and recommend. The link goes to an All Purpose. There is also a Tub &Tile version along with many others. Whole heartedly recommending the product but not including which one to use isn't very helpful and wouldn't ensure a good outcome if someone selects a different product.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:29PM
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snoonyb

When I finally settled upon POLYSEAMSEAL, it was the most user friendly product available, which was easily mastered by any homeowner and did not require me or any special tools or solvents to apply or remove.

The original, long before LOCKTITE, was the only formula and only available in white, then clear and eventually multiple colors, which I still use fir color matches.

My predominate formula is the original, however I use several of the others for different applications, as appropriate, including bolt-less repairs to vinyl fencing.

I almost forgot, I do not work for LOCKTITE and have no Idea if they even have a truely left coast plant.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 12:55AM
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