I couldn’t believe the state of the mastic sealant that had been applied to this bathtub at a house in the North Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate. As you can see from the pictures, it was a mess. There were at least three layers of white silicon mastic sealant then a layer of clear silicone had been applied with a spatula then some grout on top of that! I feared the worst.
It was the result of a succession of bodge jobs that didn’t work and continued to let water leak down to the room below where it had left brown stains on the ceiling. The client had unfortunately tried to get it patched up but had just made the problem worse. The problem needed to be resolved properly so the ceiling below could dry out, be repaired and then re-painted.
Had the problem been dealt with immediately the damage would not have been so bad. By the time the water shows itself on the ceiling the leak has probably already been there for some time. The bathroom itself was in good condition but the mastic sealant was really letting it down. I discussed with the client what needed to be done and we agreed a price for the work and returned the following week.
Cleaning/Repairing Bathroom Tiles
I first washed the Ceramic wall tile and grout surrounding the bath with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to remove staining from the usual combination of dirt, grime, body oil, and soap scum. Being in gel form, this product sticks well to vertical surfaces where its best left for five to ten minutes before scrubbing in so it can get to work breaking down the dirt. I then rinsed the wall tiles with water and re-treated any stubborn stains with a repeat of the process until all the tile and grout was clean.
Once happy with the tile and grout I began to strip off the layers of silicone mastic. This is a slow process by hand, with care not the damage the tiles or the bath. After 4 hours it was all off. The final layer of white silicon was jet black, so had come away from the bath a long time ago. It is essential to have a nice clean surface to apply new silicon to ensure the best result. Adding layer upon layer will not solve the underlying problem.
Once l completely removed all traces of silicone l ran a heat gun over gap for about half an hour to remove the moisture. If any moisture had been left the new sealant wouldn’t adhere to the bath and tile properly causing it to peel off later and we would be back to square one.
The last step of the renovation was to fill the bath with water before applying a fresh thin bead of white silicone sealant. Applying mastic well takes a lot of practice to get a nice smooth finish but having carried out numerous bathroom and kitchen refurbs over the years it’s a skill I’ve manage to acquire. Once the fresh mastic was dry the water was emptied from the bath, this technique ensures the silicone is positioned correctly.
As you can see from the pictures there was quite a remarkable transformation. The client was speechless, the difference to the overall look of the bathroom was astounding. It would no longer be a chore for them to use the bathroom. Now they just need to allow the downstairs ceiling to dry out so they can redecorate.
Glazed Ceramic tiles are easy to clean however Grout can be a problem due to its cementous nature which traps dirt therefore I recommend protecting the grout with grout sealer which forms an invisible barrier over the grout and makes it easier to wash clean. For aftercare you can’t go wrong with Tile Doctor Aqua Pro which is designed for cleaning shower tile where the grout has been sealed.