Taking a shower contemplating black, moldy or worn seals, admit that this somewhat spoils the pleasure… And let’s not talk about the infiltrations that invade the slightest loose seal, letting undesirable mold proliferate. Don’t wonder why your little one sneezes after spending ten minutes in the bathroom! For good hygiene, it is necessary to change your seals regularly. But no need to call a plumber; once equipped, it’s a relatively simple operation that will only take you a few hours. Here are the seven essential steps to change your joints and find a truly healthy bathroom.
1 – Before changing the seals, try a simple cleaning, you never know…
It is quite possible that your black seals are only very dirty. The best way to make sure is to do a super clean. To do this, you just need to mix baking soda and white vinegar. This simple and effective formula has proven itself! Apply this pasty mixture directly to the black joints and let it sit. After fifteen minutes, pass the sponge over your joints before rinsing the black marks.
Verdict: your joints have turned white again! It’s your lucky day: no need to change them. But if after cleaning you notice that they are crumbling and pieces are rinsing out… it’s time to change your seals!
2 – Plan your equipment… and the drying time!
If you have never changed your seals before, rest assured: you will not have to ruin yourself for this operation. Do you already have a pair of gloves, a cloth and white vinegar? Here is the material to provide in addition: a solid cutter (or a scraper to unjoint), a metal brush, a cartridge of mastic, an extruding gun, masking tape, possibly a spatula. You will easily find all of this in any DIY store, for a rather modest budget.
If you don’t want to invest in a gun (around €15), you can always borrow it or use a tube with built-in gun (a bit more expensive).
To assess your needs, know that a tube of mastic of 280 ml is enough to cover 15 linear meters of joints, which corresponds to most bathrooms. If yours is rather large, plan accordingly. Attention: when buying the sealant cartridge, choose a silicone seal, resistant to humidity. (Absolutely avoid acrylic sealant, suitable for door frames and woodwork but not for sanitary facilities or bathrooms.)
The drying time can be quite long, plan toimmobilize your bathroom for 24 to 48 hours (depending on what is indicated on the packaging of the putty you have chosen). No one will be able to use the bathroom during this period, which requires a little organization.
3 – Clean the old seals.
Before even removing the seal, it is useful to clean it well to eliminate mold. You can use a simple rag and white vinegar to clean all the seals you plan to change. It remains to wait patiently for complete drying. As soon as it’s dry, it’s time to start the renovation steps.
4 – To remove the used mastic: scrape, brush, dry.
It’s a bit of a thankless step but really essential, because the new joint will not hold if you apply it on the old one. So start by completely removing the damaged seal, until it clears the way before fitting the new one.
It’s time to put on your gloves. You will be able to proceed in three steps: scraping, cleaning, drying.
– Pour remove the old seal, use a cutter (or a flat screwdriver, or even better: a joint scraper). With the blade applied against the wall (obliquely), push back the joint with your tool, while gradually removing the joint with the other hand. Take your time, because it is a question of removing as much putty as possible, in depth, without damaging your earthenware. If the seal is stubborn and you have some difficulty removing it, you can use a solvent product to simplify the task. If the surface to be renovated is large, it is worth buying an electric scraper.
– After removing all of the old gasket, clean and brush all open spaces. This cleaning will prevent leaks and seepage, which are sure to occur if the new seal does not adhere properly. Accurate cleaning will allow a perfect break of the putty. This time, use a metal brush (or an old toothbrush) to remove all the small residues that have remained stuck. You can end up vacuuming.
– Once this cleaning is finished, give it a good cloth soaked in white vinegar (or 90° alcohol). In case of residual mould, it may be useful to apply an anti-mould product. Finally, after a few minutes of rest, rinse with water and let it dry. After complete drying, the surface is finally ready for the next step.
5 – Operation masking: Zorro has arrived!
For this new step, you will have to be precise to prepare the installation of the new seal. For its application to be clean and neat, in a straight line, it’s time to use the masking tape. This adhesive is applied on each side of the area provided for the new seal. Place your tape on either side, fairly close together. Above all, use a special paint masking tape, made of paper, which will be much easier to remove. If the idea comes to you to use an old roll of packing tape, be aware that you will have trouble peeling it off and that it will leave glue residue that is difficult to clean. Opt for a suitable tape; it will be easier to use, for a clean and smudge-free rendering.
6 – Apply the mastic and smooth it for a perfect joint.
In the space left free between the two masking strips, apply new putty. For this you can use an extruder gun, in which you will have placed the sealant cartridge. If you don’t have a pistol, you can use a cartridge with an integrated pistol. Before applying the mastic make a small test in a cloth, to check the flow of your cartridge and adjust the pressure. The gun is used tilted. From an angle, try to have a comfortable enough position to be able to put your joint in one step. Your goal is to maintain regular and continuous pressure; take your time, it requires calm and patience.
As you apply the fresh putty, make a smoothing net, with your finger or with a spatula. It is recommended to progress section by section, to be able to smooth the putty before it dries.
If by accident the putty overflows beyond your masked area, wipe it off very quickly using a cloth soaked in white vinegar (or 90° alcohol), as long as it is not dry . Once dry, you can try to scrape it gently with a cutter, but be careful not to scratch your shower screen.
7 – Let dry and rest.
Before removing the masking tape, let it dry for twenty minutes so as not to risk tearing off the mastic. Once the tape has been removed, this time you have to let your new seal dry for a long time. Count at least 24 hours before you can regain possession of your bathroom or sanitary facilities. In the meantime, feel free to admire your pro work and taste the satisfaction of having done it yourself. When everything is dry, it’s time to gently scrape off any overflows, taking care not to scratch the wall.
You can be proud of your perfectly renovated joints. Taking your shower is once again a real pleasure! From now on, you will have to take care to maintain your new seals to make them last a long time.