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How to Remove Silicone Sealant from Tiles - Easy Tips & Tricks

by Georgia Nunn 03 Jun 2024
How to Remove Silicone Sealant from Tiles - Easy Tips & Tricks

Introduction to Silicone Sealant Removal

Silicone Sealants are used to seal gaps and joints in areas that require waterproofing and are frequently exposed to areas of high moisture. Although typically hardwearing, overtime the sealant may begin to show signs of damage and discolouration, that if left untreated, can increase the risk of water damage. 

It is important to remove and replace your silicone sealant if signs of wear and tear or degradation are present. Below is a comprehensive guide on how you can effectively remove your silicone sealant.

Tools You’ll Need for the Job

To ensure you remove the silicone sealant effectively, it is important that you have the right tools and materials.

Here is what you will need:

  • Safety Gloves
  • Utility Knife
  • Sealant Removal Gel
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Clean Cloths
  • Tile Cleaner

Preparing Your Workspace

Prior to removing the sealant from your bathroom tiles, it is essential to thoroughly clean the area to prevent any dirt, mould or bacteria from entering the joints.

Begin by washing the tiled area, using either a commercial tile cleaner or a diluted bleach solution. Once washed, make sure to rinse the area to remove any chemical residue from the tile surface. It is important to clean the tiles, to remove any mould or mildew growth as otherwise this could cause issues down the line with the new replacement sealant.

Once the tile surface has been cleaned, dry the area completely using a clean cloth to avoid any moisture leaking into the areas covered by the sealant.

Step-by-Step Removal Guide

  • When attempting to remove silicone sealant from a tiled area, you should begin by applying a sealant remover gel, to the full length of the silicone. Allow the gel to sit on the surface for the recommended time specified in the manufacturers guidelines. 

The remover gel should begin to soften and loose the sealant, allowing it to be peeled away more easily. The longer the gel is left to sit on the sealant, the easier it should be to remove.

  • Using the utility knife, make a small incision near the corner of the sealant. Then, very carefully, holding the knife parallel to the sealant, slice along the silicone, lifting a section that can then be peeled away from the tile.
  • Gradually peel the sealant away from the tile, if it is not easily removable then you should use a sealant remover tool or putty knife, to scrape the silicone away.

Tips for Stubborn Sealant

If the sealant is proving difficult to remove, you may want to try using some heat to further soften the silicone.

  • Using a hair dryer or heat gun, apply heat towards the sealant in 30 second intervals, making sure to check if the sealant is soft enough for removal, after each application of heat.

Continue this until the silicone begins to loosen.

Cleaning Up After Removal

After the sealant has been removed, it is important that any remaining residue is cleaned away.

Take some rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits on a clean cloth and wipe over where the sealant was to clean away any remnants. 

Once all traces of silicone sealant have been removed, wash the area with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Preventing Future Sealant Issues

To preserve the life span of your silicone sealant, it is important to maintain the condition of the surrounding areas and ensure the sealant surface is well cared for.

  • Regularly inspect the sealant surface to determine any issues or degradation early on, so that it can be easily and effectively dealt with.
  • Clean the sealant surface regularly, to reduce any build up of dirt and debris and to prevent the growth of mould and mildew.
  • Tiled areas are typically areas prone to high levels of moisture, and so it is important to make sure there is proper ventilation in place. Placing a dehumidifier in these spaces, and regularly opening windows can help to promote sufficient ventilation.
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