Removing caulk from around countertop.

SheeshareeIIDecember 2, 2010

The caulking around my bathroom counter (master bath that's not yet painted) looks terrible. Not even a year after it was finished it started to shrink and crack. I'd love to know what the idiot builder used.

So before I jump into painting I need to redo this. I was just going to attack it with a utility knife but I've been reading I need to heat or soften the existing?

I'm realllly dreading this because caulking doesn't come as easy for me as it looks and what a pain to have to redo something that shouldn't look that way in the first place.

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They make a little tool that helps in removing caulk.It has a little hook on the end to help pull it out. Any paint store should have it. I'll guess that your builder used the wrong kind of caulk. It needs to be specifically made for use in the bathroom in wet areas AND it needs to sit for 24 to 48 hours before you get it wet.
Heating it can help. Use heat gun or a blow dryer. For indoors I prefer the blow dryer.
When you go to redo it. Cut the tip of your caulk at a angle and make it smallish this gives you better control when the caulk comes out. Remember if you click on the gun handle it should stop the flow of the caulk. Use a wet finger to gently push on the caulk and in a single continuous stroke move your finger across the caulk. Any holes just dab a bit of caulk on your finger and press it in and then run your finger across the caulk line again.
It takes some practice. Trick is not to be afraid of making a mistake with it. Worse comes to worse you wipe it all off with a wet disposable rag and do it again.
Some folks I know claim using a piece of plastic cut from a detergent bottle to spread a smooth caulk line is the way to go. I've never done it because I think my finger works just as well but it's something for you to try.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 2:45PM
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Use silicone caulk. You can buy colored caulk from Laticrete I think it is, available at Lowes. Caulking is not terribly difficult to do, but takes pratice to do right. You'll need a good caulking gun with a no-drip feature. If you touch your fingers to the caulk, be sure to wet them first - caulk won't stick to your fingers.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 3:32PM
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I just did that 2 nights ago in the kitchen. I used a heat gun and it was a breeze. I had the little tool for removing caulk but ended up using a screw driver for the most part.
My 50 yr old sink looks 10 years younger!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 4:04PM
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Thanks guys!

When I used caulk before I think I bought GE paintable, silicone caulk from Lowes (white/blue tube). Does the water keep it from sticking to your hands?? I had a heck of a mess the few times I had to use it. I'm talking all over my hands, the caulking gun, it was terrible and I couldn't get it off with soap and water.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 11:48AM
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Shee - timely thread for me. New kitchen countertops going in right now and of course the wall board behind the old splash (not being replaced) is a mess. They'll have to caulk only in spots until I get walls patched. Then I'll probably have to remove the caulk they put in so I can get a continuous bead. Could be a disaster because I am not very good at caulking. Lack of patience I think!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 12:07PM
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When I get home tonight I'll see what kind I used. It was water clean up.
My old sink had some pretty big gaps - probably needed leveling or something, but I was determined to do something to visually freshen up that countertop! I just dampened an old towel to clean up the edges. Not perfect, but much better!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I've been recaulking the inside of our windows, and have found that taping off the edge of the bead (on both sides) with painter's tape before you lay down the caulk makes a huge difference in the final look and cleanup. Just make sure and peel off that tape as soon as you're done smoothing to bead, or you'll pull off the caulk with the tape.

Much as I've tried, I've never mastered making a nice, straight, even bead, and then not smearing the whole thing into a mess when I smooth it out. Most people probably know to do this, but I just found that tidbit on the internet and thought "Well, duh!"

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:29PM
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The painter's tape is a good tidbit franksmom!
Sheesharee, I used Harvey's white tub seal latex (siliconized acrylic latex it also says on the label). It's in a red, white and black squeeze tube. I probably got it a Home Depot.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 8:45PM
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