Child in bath (Photo: @amikochendorfer via Twenty20)

How to Apply Silicone Sealant

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Child in bath (Photo: @amikochendorfer via Twenty20)
If you’re doing bathroom renovations and you’re looking to seal a bathtub, silicone sealant or silicone caulk has the resume and grit for the job.
It’s similar to caulk, however; it’s translucent and gel-like in texture, instead of white. Silicone sealant isn’t sensitive to temperature, so, no matter how steamy your showers get, it isn’t going anywhere.
The good news is, it’s relatively easy to apply, even for you un-handy people.
Here’s everything you need to know about applying silicone sealant.

Loading the silicone gun

First, you’ll need to get your silicone gun set up. Trigger the gun’s release tab and pull the metal plunger (or the pressure valve) in the back. Then slide the silicone tube into place; do this by inserting it at an angle, base first, and then push it up into the gun. Once finished, the nozzle should be sticking out the opposite end from the pressure valve.
Now adjust the trigger so it is calibrated with the size of the silicone caulk tube. Set aside.

Remove old sealant

The integrity of your DIY silicone sealant depends on doing a good job removing the old sealant. Applying new sealant on top of old sealant might impact the effectiveness of the seal … and it also might look lumpy. Nobody wants to go through the hassle of a DIY project and come out with a lumpy final product. Here’s what you need to do to ensure the best final result:
Remove the old sealant with a retractable blade scraper. Make sure to remember every nook and cranny. Once you’re done scraping, use a shop vacuum to remove extra debris. It’s also a good idea to give the surface a quick wipe with a cloth and some rubbing alcohol or soapy water.
Make sure the area is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Test the sealant

Open the tube of sealant by cutting the tip with a sharp knife or sturdy scissors at a 45-degree angle. Test your sealant on a piece of scrap wood or metal. If the sealant is flowing unevenly, snip off a little more of the nozzle. Continue testing the sealant until it is flowing to your liking.

Apply the sealant

Here we go! Before you begin, place a small bowl of water nearby.
When you’re ready, steadily squeeze the trigger of the sealant gun and run the nozzle along the seam you want to seal. Then, wet your finger and smooth the sealant until it evenly covers the seam. Wet your finger repeatedly during this process to ensure the sealant doesn’t become tacky.

Allow the sealant to dry

Allow at least 24 hours for your sealant to dry before exposing it to moisture. Just because sealant feels dry to the touch (which it may after only half an hour), doesn’t mean it’s fully dry. You can use a hairdryer to speed the process along, but it’s safer to allow your project to have an adequate time to cure.