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How to Silicone a Shower: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Georgia Nunn 14 May 2024
How to Silicone a Shower: A Step-by-Step Guide

When installing a new shower, it is essential that the seals and joins are fully watertight. This is crucial to ensure that underneath your bathroom tiles, your walls and floor are protected from water damage and helps to prevent black mould growth around the fixtures.

When sealing a shower it is important to take care in both the preparation and application of the sealant. By failing to prepare the shower surface sufficiently, the silicone may not adhere properly, and so water may be able to get into the seal. 

How to Silicone a Shower

Preparing the Shower Surface

The most effective way to remove old silicone sealant is by using a sharp utility knife, to gently cut the sealant away as much as possible. Be careful when doing this as to not scratch or damage the surface below.

Once you have removed the majority of the sealant you may be left with some smaller more stubborn pieces. For this you can take a pair of tweezers, to remove the smaller strands of silicone. If any remnants still remain after this, you can take some white spirit on a cloth, to go over where the old silicone was to remove and dissolve the remains.

Cleaning the Shower Tray

It is important to ensure the shower area is clean and dry before any silicone is applied so as to not affect the adhesion of the sealant.

  • Start by using a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining silicone and to get rid of dust and debris.
  • Take a small amount of methylated spirit on a cloth and go over the joints that are to be sealed. Make sure to dry thoroughly.

Preparing your Materials

Materials You Will Need

Preparing the sealant gun

  • Using a utility knife, cut the end of the sealant cartridge seal and screw on the nozzle.
  • The nozzle should then be cut at a 45° angle.
  • Place the cartridge in the sealant gun and squeeze the trigger, until the silicone comes to the end of the nozzle.

Taping the edges

  • Place a strip of masking tape on either side of where sealant is to go. You should leave a gap of around 3-5mm on both sides.

This will ensure that your sealant is applied in neat, straight lines. 

Applying the Silicone Sealant

Holding the sealant gun at a 45° angle, gently squeeze the trigger and apply the silicone sealant to the back inner corner of the shower tray. In one smooth continuous motion, apply a uniform bead of sealant along the shower tray moving from back to front. 

It is important to maintain a consistent working speed to produce a continuous bead of sealant.

Smoothing and Finishing the Silicone

After applying the sealant it is important to smooth over the joints for both a neater finish and to ensure the sealant has fully filled the join.

  • For this you can either use your fingertip or a sealant smoothing tool.
  • Wet either your finger or smoothing tool with soapy water, and wipe along the silicone seal to remove any excess sealant and to ensure the gap is fully filled.

This will help you to achieve a professional looking finish.

Leave the Sealant to Cure

The sealant should be touch dry within around 30 minutes of application. However, to fully dry and cure it should take around 24-48 hours. It is best to check the specific product guidelines in order to not disrupt the sealant before it is fully dried.

Do not use the shower until the sealant has fully cured as any moisture on the seal before it has dried may affect the adhesion of the sealant.

Cleaning Up and Maintenance Tips

Removing Excess Silicone Sealant

You can use a chemical silicone remover which comes in both liquid and spray foam form. However, this is not the only available option.

  • Firstly, using a utility knife you can carefully cut the unwanted silicone away, making sure to not damage or scratch the surface underneath.
  • If any sealant residue remains, take some white spirit on a cloth to wipe away what is left behind. If this is not proving successful, you may want to use an abrasive scouring pad to remove the stubborn sealant.

Silicone Sealant Maintenance

  • Clean the surface - Apply a non-abrasive cleaner, like soapy water or a mild detergent with a soft-bristled brush to clean the sealant. You should avoid using any harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia, as they may damage and degrade the sealant.
  • Thoroughly dry the seal - After cleaning the sealant, it is crucial that the silicone is thoroughly dried with a clean cloth. Any moisture left on the silicone can contribute to mould growth and compromise the effectiveness of the seal.
  • Regularly inspect the sealant - It is important to regularly examine the sealant for signs of wear, any damage and any signs of black mould growth or mildew. Regular inspections of the sealant ensure that any issues can be easily dealt with before they are able to escalate
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