I (we) did it! The bathroom and the kitchen have been successfully re-caulked. The results look a million times better. Hopefully they'll be easy to clean and keep water out of the walls and floors, too.
It wasn't easy. Silicone caulk can be tricky to work with. We did the kitchen twice, because we didn't like the way it turned out the first time. Getting the old caulk out of the bathroom took forever and made me a little crazy. I took a lot of breaks and felt like quitting many times over. Those little six-sided tiles combined with a settling house make all sorts of uneven surfaces clearly never intended to be dealt with in this way.
Is it cheating if Eric did all of the actual caulking? Probably at least a little. But after he did the kitchen twice, he was an expert, right? Also, I removed the old stuff and that was really hard work. But still - I guess I cheated a bit.
Perhaps worst of all, I discovered more areas that need to be caulked, such as the rim of the bathtub and the door frame inside the bathroom. I never knew about caulking around doors and windows until we painted the main rooms and Eric caulked everything. It makes a big difference, not having those little cracks and gaps.
Also, we have a bunch of trim that needs to be repainted.
Using painter's tape to mark the area to be caulked helped a lot. I also made good use of this 3-in-1 Caulk Tool from Home Depot, a razor scraper, and a 100-pack of replacement blades from Harbor Freight, a discount home supply store near our house. I used the blades to scrape back the old caulk. Theoretically that isn't necessary, but it was in our case. We used regular silicone caulk, but my brother the engineer, who recently put an addition on his house including a new bathroom, recommended a brand called Lexel. We tried to use that, but couldn't find it in white.
I'm probably going to go ahead and do the bathtub tomorrow, before the elves run off with all the tools. It's insanely difficult, bordering on impossible, to keep track of tools around here.
All in all, a successfully completed project, and hopefully one we'll enjoy for many years to come.
Week Twenty-six: Household - Bathroom Caulking and Cleaning