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In addition to their unsightly appearance, dirty tile joints can cause sealing problems and encourage the appearance of mold. In summary :
- How to remove dirty seals?
- How to successfully hide its joints?
- How to apply new joints?
- Do you want to redecorate your bathroom? Choose colored seals!
- How to clean and maintain its joints to increase their lifespan?
1. How to remove dirty seals?
© Nicole Crowder
Before anything else, take the time to read the drying time indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging of your silicone gasket. Organize yourself according to this time: as long as your new joint is not completely dry, you will indeed no longer be able to use your bathroom! This time generally varies between 24 and 48 hours depending on the thickness of your joint. It is therefore better to take your precautions. Different techniques can be used to remove a seal.
Start by trying to remove yours using a utility knife and a flat-head screwdriver. In case the cutter is not enough, you can turn to more aggressive solvent-based solutions, such as acetone, which you will find in your usual DIY store. Once the seals have been removed, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the spaces that remain free, otherwise your new seal will not adhere well and leaks will be created. So take the time necessary to properly carry out this step. To do this, use a wire brush or an old toothbrush and remove any residual dust or seals still present. Then wipe with a cloth moistened with 90 degree alcohol or white vinegar, then let sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Wait until the surface is completely dry before continuing.
2. How to successfully hide its joints?
© Melanie Rieders
If, like me, precision and thoroughness are not your best assets, I advise you to take the time to apply masking tape on both sides of the space where you will come to apply your seal. Do you make a shower seal? Do not play the heroes, secure your back: you will indeed have much more difficulty removing silicone from your shower screen than from your tiles. Warning ! Classic scotch tape or brown packaging tape is not suitable for this type of work. They could leave adhesive residue on your tiles when removing them. Prefer therefore a special masking tape, made of paper, which will be removed much more easily. You will then need to carefully remove the tape, immediately after applying and smoothing the seal. In the event that silicone does spill onto your tile or shower screen, wipe it off immediately with a cloth dampened with 90 degree alcohol or white vinegar or, if it is already dry, using a cutter. In this case, watch out for scratches, especially on your shower screen!
3. How to apply new joints?
© Imagen Subliminal / Contemporist
It is essential, for this type of work, to use a silicone sealant or sealant, resistant to humidity, and not an acrylic sealant, more used for frames and woodwork. I also advise you to bring a pistol specially designed for this purpose. 2 in 1 products, allowing application without a gun also exist and cost around 10 €. In this case, take care not to cut the nozzle too high, which would make it more difficult to apply the seal. A 280 ml tube, the standard format, will allow you to cover approximately 15 linear meters of joint. First test in an old cloth to test the product flow and the pressure required. Then arm yourself with patience and apply your joint with application, applying regular and continuous pressure. Go gradually, section by section, immediately wiping away the traces of silicone that may have overflowed on your tiles or your shower screen and smoothing your joint without waiting. To do this, you can use the back of a metal spoon that you have soaked in a little washing-up liquid. The more adventurous (or the least well equipped!) Will simply use their finger. Attention, note that for a natural stone surface, a specific type of joint will be necessary.
4. Do you want to redecorate your bathroom? Choose colored seals!
© Leanne Bertram
Even if you have to redo your joints, you might as well take the opportunity to bring a touch of originality to your bathroom. There is now a wide range of colors on the market for special sealants for bathrooms. Let your imagination run wild!
The procedure is exactly the same as for a conventional joint. Be aware, however, that a colored joint will highlight much more the possible misalignment of your tiles or your earthenware. Also make sure that it is indeed a silicone seal, the only one capable of withstanding the humidity of a pond such as the bathroom. The idea enchants you but you still hesitate on the color? Find your inspiration in the decorative elements already present in your bathroom, or even in your bathroom linen. Match its tile joints with its toothbrush or with its towels ... Isn't that the real class? Keep in mind that mold will be less visible on a dark joint. Advantage or disadvantage? Molds emit harmful spores for our respiratory tract. The fact that I cannot identify them as soon as they appear is a drawback to me. You lose visibility on the state of your joint and create an environment conducive to the development of fungi.
5. How to clean and maintain its joints to increase their lifespan?
The shelves of supermarkets are full of household products of all kinds that promise to find or keep healthy and healthy joints ... And without even having to scrub! The offer is tempting, but how to choose the most suitable for your bathroom, among all these references? Make a cross already on the bleach and on any other chlorinated product. The action of these, particularly aggressive for silicone, would make your seals porous and greatly reduce their lifespan.
Finally, never forget that cleanliness has no smell ... and healthy joints either! Just use white vinegar, also called household vinegar. For those who are uncomfortable with the smell of vinegar, know that it disappears after rinsing. And if you are still not convinced, you can get some citrus peel and / or fresh mint leaves that you will macerate in a jar filled with white vinegar. This is the product I use to clean my whole house, and the joints in my bathroom are no exception! Simply pour your filtered vinegar into a spray bottle and spray on all of your surfaces, rub with a damp sponge or brush and then rinse.
For very dirty joints, mix baking soda with lemon juice and rub. Please note, these solutions are not suitable for natural stone surfaces (granite, marble, etc.) because vinegar and lemon, although natural, have a high acidity which, in the long term, may tarnish your stone. Prefer a mixture of lukewarm water and black soap. You now have all the cards in hand to succeed in your bathroom joints!