Why Does My Bathroom Caulk Keep Cracking and How to Fix It?

Feeling annoyed by those pesky cracks in your bathroom caulk while you’re just trying to enjoy a relaxing bath? Do you keep putting off the task or replacing your caulk because it seems so cumbersome and frightening? You’re not alone! It’s easy to keep putting off fixing them, but let’s dive into why they keep happening and how to tackle the issue.

Why Does My Bathroom Caulk Keep Cracking?

Here are the top six reasons behind those frustrating cracks:

  1. Wrong Caulk Type: Using the wrong caulk type for your bathroom can spell trouble. Silicone caulk is your best bet for its durability and resistance to mold and mildew.
  2. Temperature Troubles: Caulk doesn’t play nice in extreme temperatures. If it was applied when it was too cold (below 40°F), it might lose its grip and start cracking.
  3. Layering Woes: Adding new caulk over old caulk sounds like a shortcut, but it often leads to poor adhesion and more cracks.
  4. House Settling: As houses settle over time, small gaps can form in caulked areas. While not always necessary, keeping an eye on these gaps is a good idea.
  5. Gap Size Mismatch: If the gap between surfaces is too wide or too narrow, the caulk won’t seal properly, resulting in cracks.
  6. Poor Surface Prep: Properly cleaning and drying surfaces before caulking is crucial. Otherwise, the caulk won’t stick, leading to uneven surfaces and more cracks.
cracked caulk in bathroom

How to Fix Cracks in Bathroom Caulking:

Ready to tackle those cracks head-on? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove Old Caulk: Soften the old caulk with a heat gun or softening solution, then gently remove it with a putty knife.
  2. Fill Cracks: Use bathroom caulk or sealant to fill any cracks or gaps in the surface.
  3. Prep Surface: Clean the area with rubbing alcohol to ensure the new caulk adheres properly.
  4. Apply New Caulk: Use painter’s tape for precision, then apply a smooth bead of caulk. Smooth it out with your finger or a damp cloth, and let it dry.
Caulking the bathroom tile. Please see my portfolio for other home improvement images.

Can You Caulk Over Cracked Caulk?

Technically, yes, but it’s not recommended (and I am literally over here waving my hands up and down shaking my head aggressively NO). Caulking over cracked caulk won’t solve the problem and may make it worse. It’s best to remove the old caulk entirely and start fresh.

How Often Should Bathroom Caulk be Replaced?

Ideally, every 3-5 years, but it depends on use and condition. If you notice cracks or gaps, replace the caulk promptly to prevent leaks.

And there you have it! With these tips, you can keep your bathroom caulk in tip-top shape and say goodbye to those pesky cracks.

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