Plumbing repairs and upgrades can be intimidating to the average DIYer and mistakes can be messy and expensive. For example, you might wonder whether it’s necessary to caulk around your bathroom sink and not know where to turn for the right information. Fortunately, we’ve researched this subject extensively and collected the answers for you!
Many faucets come with a rubber or plastic gasket that is designed to prevent water leakage. However, if your fixture does not come with a gasket or if you experience leakage, you should definitely caulk around the faucet to prevent leaks that can cause costly water damage to cabinets, walls, floors, etc. Mold can also be hazardous to your health, so best to stop it before it starts!
There are many different factors that affect how well caulk seals out moisture and keeps your sink safe from leaks, so continue reading to learn more.
Caulking Around A Bathroom Sink Faucet
As we've mentioned, caulking around your bathroom sink faucet has many benefits. While your bathroom sink may come already affixed with a rubber or plastic gasket at its base, caulk can ensure that the area remains leak-free. Water leaks lead to all kinds of issues. Preventing any water leaks from ever occurring will be your best bet.
Use a caulk that is designed for bathroom usage. These types of caulks are suited for the bathroom environment, meaning they're waterproof and help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. So, whether you use the caulk as a preventative, a repair, or as a supplement, it's a great idea to use it around your bathroom sink faucet.
What type of caulk for a bathroom faucet?
You should use silicone caulk for your bathroom faucet. Many brands offer caulk labeled for “kitchen and bath” use, but a general-purpose caulk works provided it is formulated to be mold and mildew resistant.
Caulk is usually white or clear but can be found in a variety of colors if you wish to match it more closely to your fixtures. Caulk even comes in paintable varieties for a fully customizable look. Many types of caulk are designed to be used with a caulk gun. A caulk gun is a metal frame into which you can insert a large tube of caulk. The trigger mechanism allows you to exert enough force to squeeze the tube and push the caulk slowly and steadily out of the nozzle.
However, there are other types of caulk that come in smaller, hand-squeezable tubes. If you are only doing a small project such as a single sink, these squeeze tubes might be more convenient for you.
Make sure the area is completely clean and dry before you apply caulk. You can use painter’s tape around your fixture and on the surrounding materials to get a cleaner caulk line and prevent getting caulk where you don’t want it, but if you have a steady hand this is not necessary.
Once you have applied the caulk you can use your finger, a putty knife, or a caulk applicator to smooth away any excess. Remember to allow the caulk to fully dry - generally for about 24 hours - before you use the fixture.
How long does caulk last?
Bathroom caulk can be expected to last about 5 years between applications. However, this time frame will vary based on factors such as:
- The type and quality of caulk used
- How well the caulk was applied
- Whether the house has settled since the caulk was applied
- Whether the bathroom is kept clean and dry to discourage mold growth
You should obviously replace your caulk if there are cracks, gaps, or peeling sections since this allows moisture to get through. You should also replace your caulk if you begin to see mold or mildew under the caulk, rather than over it. Sometimes old caulk can even develop an odor as moisture seeps through it, so if your bathroom has a persistent unpleasant smell, consider that old caulk might be the culprit!
Old caulk can usually be removed with a utility knife and a little elbow grease. If you want extra help, you can purchase caulk remover, but before you apply it, check to make sure it won’t damage any of the surfaces it comes into contact with.
How do you store caulk after use?
Caulk is designed to cure when exposed to air, which is great in your bathroom but not so great in the tube. To make things even trickier, caulk tubes are designed to be single-use and do not generally include any kind of cap or resealing device.
To extend an opened caulk tube’s shelf life as much as possible, store it spout-up and put a small object such as a nail, golf tee, or piece of wire in the spout. This will help seal the spout and also allow you to pull out any caulk that plugs up the opening. Once you have put your plug in the caulk, wrap the tube tightly in plastic wrap, duct tape, electrical tape, or a combination thereof to prevent as much air as possible from reaching the caulk.
If the makeshift approach doesn’t appeal to you or you don’t have any pointy objects on hand, you can also buy a caulk tube plug, specifically designed for sealing off your caulk tube.
How do you prevent mold on caulking?
Even after you know everything there is to know about caulking, you probably don’t want to have to do it more than once. So here are some steps to making sure that your caulk stays mold-free and beautiful for as long as possible.
- Make sure there are no structural issues in your bathroom. If you experience ongoing mold issues despite cleaning and waterproofing thoroughly, it’s possible that you have mold growing somewhere you can’t see, such as the backer board in your shower. If this is the case, there’s nothing you can do except have the affected area torn out and redone in a properly water-resistant fashion.
- As previously mentioned, be sure to use the correct type of caulk - 100% silicone that is formulated to prevent mold and mildew.
- Make sure your bathroom doesn’t get excessively damp. For example, make sure to run the exhaust fan when you take a shower so lingering steam is eliminated before it can cause problems.
- Regularly wipe down bathroom fixtures to keep them clean and dry. You probably knew that mold thrives in moist conditions, but did you know that it can feed off such unappetizing things as dirt and soap residue? Keeping your bathroom clean helps starve out any mold spores that might creep in.
If you’ve ever dealt with water damage or mold problems in a bathroom, you know how expensive and frustrating they can be. But with the information we’ve provided here, you can feel confident in your ability to handle at least one facet of these issues!
After reading this post, you should know all you need for preventing the growth of mold on your bathroom sink faucet! A bathroom-grade caulk should do just the trick.
Want to know more about bathroom sinks? Check out the following posts: