Re-siliconing the bathroom

I mentioned in my Easter weekend to do list that I wanted to replace the yellowing silicon around my bathroom.  I actually did around the bath back in July when I got it resurfaced.  But all the other silicone joints were yellow and dirty looking.  I did not like that I noticed the yellowing silicone next to the stark white tiles.  So, not discouraged by the ATROCIOUS effort I made in July around the bath, I decided I would live and learn, and try again.  From here, I might call the silicon, ‘grout’, even though they are in fact different things.  Grout just runs off the tongue better!  Here’s a ‘before’ photo:

Silicon before - yucky and yellowed :(

Silicon before – yucky and yellowed 😦

It took probably about 5-7 hours to strip out all the old grout.  I was advised by a lovely man (on my lovely Thursday afternoon where the world just seemed to smile upon me) to buy a tool designed to get the silicon out of crevices.  It was wonderful.  Sure, I still needed a blade afterwards, but I realise without the removing tool, things might have been much slower!  There’s so much fine silicon on the tile surface, and in the crevices and gaps (cause the tiles are not perfectly laid).  Thankfully, I had a friend on hand, that helped.  Bless her heart!

Silcone removal tool kit (minus the grotty bottle of metho)

Silcone removal tool kit (minus the grotty bottle of metho)

Once stripped, I run the vacuum over the joints (and picked up all the discarded yuck at the bottom of each joint).  Then, I wiped all the joints with isopropyl alcohol.  And then metholated spirits. (Better to be safe than sorry!).

Silicone removed (that's hardly zero waste!)

Silicone removed (that’s hardly zero waste!)

And then came taping – this is something a colleague off handedly asked about last time I mentioned I regrouted. I hadn’t even though of it! So this time, I taped my little heart out.  (And, of course, totally in contradiction of my zero waste hopes!).  Once the taping was complete, I went to bed.  I figured then the joints would all be extra dry of metho and alcohol, and I needed to sleep – it was 11pm!

The next day, I got right onto it, re-reading all the instructions on the packet.  Another learning tip this time around – I used rubber gloves.  Bless, they work a treat! (Alternatively, you can rub your real hands on a plastic shopping bag to remove silicone – or with metho). I prepped everything – I even had a tool for making a nice angle on the silicon – which I used last time.  This time, the gloved finger seems to work better and deal with the natural differences between meeting tiles.  Of course, siliconing took WAY less time than all the prep – I’d say I was done in an hour? (I did have more tapping and scrapping in the morning to do, on some joints I hadn’t got done the night before).

Some yellow silicon left, as it was a hard to reach spot, always hidden by the washing machine - but look at the difference!

Some yellow silicon left, as it was a hard to reach spot, always hidden by the washing machine – but look at the difference!

Sadly, the ‘new’ ultra white silicon I used (not the same tube I used around the bath, that yellowed too!) needed 72 hours to dry.  So for three days I schelped to the gym in our building to shower.  It actually wasn’t too bad – though I did feel weird carrying my bathtowel and bath products in the hallway and the lift.

And a before and after?:





8 thoughts on “Re-siliconing the bathroom

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve had “re-siliconing” on my house list for a year…I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Our silicon is disgraceful – mould got underneath the silicon while the house was tenanted for 2 years. It desperately needs re-doing – hopefully this week, now that I have some guidance!

    • Glad to be of assistance! That little gouging tool really helps. The prep work takes ages but it’s worth it – for a wonderful result. If you’re doing around a bath, they recommend semi filling it so it sinks down a little. I didn’t do this last year but if I do re do the bath I might try it

  2. Is the silicon something that goes over the grout between the tiles? I have lived in some rental places where the grout has been mouldy and I couldn’t shift it no matter how hard I scrubbed. I guess the silicon would prevent it getting to this stage.

    • Silicone is the flexible stuff that usually goes in the tricky joins in walls or between walls and sinks and baths. And it’s known to get horribly mouldy – I should count myself lucky that wasn’t my issue!

      Grout it more gritty and sandy and goes between every tile. Actually I redid the floor grout last year cause it was all different depths, making it look perennially dirty! Big job to redo it but big impact once it was done!

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