How to Remove Old Caulk Like A Pro – The Ultimate Guide
We all have caulking in our homes. We hide it, we paint it and some of us actually try to remove it to make it look better. Old caulking is everywhere from our countertops, bathtubs, showers, sinks, around windows and doors, and much more. Can you believe it was first used around the 15th century on wooden ships? Caulking is old technology, a scourge of every homeowner and yet we all must deal with this messy problem sooner or later as a homeowner, business owner or renter.
For 600 years, using caulk to seal gaps has not been easy, is a messy project, and often looks bad no matter how careful you are. Here is how to remove it.
So, how best do you deal with removing old caulking?
I recommend a couple of sharp razor blades (be careful!) and possibly a caulk removal tool. Make sure to buy a good quality caulk removal tool or you will find yourself holding a broken piece of plastic - metal is always best. First, carefully cut against the wall or flat surface with the razor blade. (Again, buying a good quality razor blade holder will pay for itself). Using the razor blade cut along both surfaces that the caulk is attached to. If you’re lucky this is all you have to do. If it is really old caulk and has hardened, it will be much more difficult.
Now its time to talk about silicone caulking.
Silicone caulking products have been around for many years too. They have a rubbery and stretchy consistency and come in many colors. Unfortunately, because of their unique chemical properties, there are additional steps you need to take for complete removal unless you are applying over it with another silicone product.
Silicone caulking leaves behind a film or oily residue that absolutely nothing will stick to - except more silicone. I use acetone and a scrubbing pad. Be careful with acetone as it is very flammable, the fumes are noxious, make sure the area is ventilated and you don’t have any open flames in the area such as a burner or candle.
The old caulking is removed now, so what next?
You certainly can reapply new caulking and hope for the best, or, you can try some of the alternative caulking products. Our competitors are cheap flat pieces of plastic made in China. We provide higher quality caulk strips that actually have a flexible vinyl edge trim to provide a perfect caulking bead finish without the hassle and mess of traditional caulk. In fact, our new products from InstaTrim® are very simple to apply and do not require the skill needed for caulk. We have numerous caulking products that can be used such as grey pvc corner trim and numerous other colors. Our “peel and stick” caulk trim strips will enhance any area of your house and the best part is you will look like the professional and all you used was a razor blade and a scissor.
Greg Amundson, President