I caulked the tub tonight. Me! All by myself! Can you see me doing a happy dance?
So “Big deal”, I can hear you all say. “Caulking a tub is no reason to get so excited.” Well… maybe not for you… but it is MONUMENTAL for me!
I was married to a guy who wouldn’t let me do this kind of stuff. Not that HE was going to do it either… but in his mind it was a ‘man’s job’ and I was told to hire someone to do it. Grrrr. (I used to wait until he was away on a business trip to wallpaper or paint the house… hee, hee.)
Now I’m a homeowner all by myself… and on a tight budget. I could have asked either of my son-in-laws to caulk it for me, or hired a handyman, or asked any one of the nice neighbors around here… but NO, I was going to do it myself! How hard could it be after all?
Thank heavens for the ingenious duo of Pinterest and DIY Big Box stores. I did a little research first… and decided to use the painter’s tape method. With a new-found sense of power… I headed to my local DIY Home Fix-it store where a delightful older gentleman guided me in my purchases. HOWEVER… he mistook my bravado as experience and sold me SILICONE instead of ACRYLIC… AND sold me a caulk gun without any direction or instruction on how to use the blasted thing. I understood the basic workings of it… but the tiny nuances were a mystery to me.
My tub was all clean and dry… with the gap between the tiles and tub taunting me. “What are you thinking? You can’t do this. This is a ‘pants’ job… you’re a ‘skirt’ person.” Funny… the tub sounds very much like my late husband.
After a day or two of reflection and soul-searching, I told that tub to shut its trap and listen up… I was the new handyman around here and I was going to caulk this thing no matter how ugly it got!!
Fully clothed and sitting in a tub is a very funny feeling. Using the blue painter’s tape originally designed to make straight lines on walls when painting… I tape off the upper and lower edges of where my caulking should be… all around the tub.
Next I grabbed my scissors and snipped the very tip off the caulk tube… at an angle just as I was instructed. Taking the caulking gun in my other hand I realized too late I should have twirled the end around, and around, and around, and around until the round plunger disk thing was pulled back far enough for the tube to slip into the gun. Oops. OK… I rectified that little issue.
The tube is in the gun… now the next question is… Which way does the angle on the tip point? Hmmm… not sure. I guess I will have to squirt some out on a plastic bag and see which way works best.
Gently squeezing the trigger, I patiently wait for the silicone to squirt out. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Huh… nothing is coming out. I squeeze a little harder. SQUEEZE… SQUEEZE… still nothing. I unscrew the ‘thingy’ and take the tube out of the gun. Hmmm.. I see the bottom has a little caulk oozing out of it… so SOMETHING is moving. I plop the tube back in and try again. Nothing.
At this point I’m thinking the tube must have had a hole in it some where and the silicone is all dried up. Nah… that can’t be. WAIT!! What’s this wire on the gun for?? A prong? To puncture the inside of the tube? Well I’ll be darned. THAT’s information I would have like to have known earlier. Besides… that’s so stupid. First… there’s a cap on the tube that was so tight I needed a pair of pliers to get it off. Next I had to snip off the hermetically sealed tip… and NOW I have to puncture the inside? What’s in this tube? Krazy glue???
Once again I take the tube out of the gun, pull the wire out from the gun, pierce the tube, and put everything back together… one more time.
I slowly squeeze the trigger, nothing. I squeeze a little harder, still nothing. UGH! Now, so totally frustrated and ready to call a handyman… I make one last effort. I RIP the tube out of the gun, jam it as hard as I can on the wire, slam it back in to place and SQUEEZE. A thin ribbon of caulk begins to flow… Woo! Hoo! Practicing on a plastic bag to ‘get the hang of it’ didn’t really help much.
Pretending I was piping icing on a cake… I slowly guide the gun around the perimeter of the tub, while gently, yet firmly, squeezing the trigger… and concentrating staying within the taped lines. A wobbly line of silicone is the result.
As instructed, I dipped my finger in a cup of water, and lightly smoothed the line. And that’s where my trouble began.
Having used SILICONE instead of ACRYLIC was probably not the smartest choice for a first caulking project. It’s smelly and messy… and difficult to clean up! My finger now had this rubbery, sticky stuff on it… so I wiped it on a wet sponge. The sponge stuck to my finger. I ripped it off.
Fearful of the label AND verbal instructions… I had to work quickly. So I wet another finger and continued the smoothing process… changing fingers as I went. By the time I was finished I had this gooey stuff all over my hands.
Wiping my hands on a rag didn’t work. So I tried washing them with soap… nope. The more I rubbed and wiped, the worse it got. I was beginning to feel like The Cat in the Hat wiping up the pink stuff! The silicone was getting every where and my hands were all sticky. Plus I was wearing a good pair of pants and I couldn’t even try wiping my hands on my clothes. *Note to self… change clothes before beginning a ‘pants’ project in the future.
Reading the tube I realize I was supposed to have some mineral spirits on hand. I didn’t. As a matter of fact I not only didn’t have it on hand… I didn’t have any in the house! So, what’s a girl to do??? Reach for the nail polish remover… AKA, Acetone (AKA Girl’s mineral spirits). It worked like a charm! No more sticky hands.
Removing the tape… I stepped back and admired the job. Very neat and professional if I do say so my self.
See? That wasn’t so hard. After listening to my husband for over 25 years telling me I couldn’t… I found out that I could. ‘Pants job’, ‘Skirt job’… makes no difference to me.
I’m ready to tackle standing on a ladder with a garden house and house cleaner to scrub the mildew off the roof of the house this weekend. Wish me luck! If you don’t hear from me in a few days, send flowers.