How to Caulk Shower Enclosures

One Methods:Apply the Caulk

Caulking a shower enclosure is one of the least expensive ways to protect a bathroom from moisture damage. Make sure to choose a caulk that is both designed for bathrooms and mildew resistant. Silicone caulk forms a stronger seal than latex caulk, but latex caulk is easier to clean and remove if the seal fails.


Thoroughly cleaning the surface that you are caulking will ensure that your caulk adheres properly and maintains a seal longer. You will also need to remove all traces of the old caulk.

  1. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 1
    Scrub the work area using a bathroom cleaner that will remove soap scum.
  2. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 2
    Remove the old caulk using a utility knife or a razor blade. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the shower enclosure.
    • If the caulk will not scrape off, then blow hot air against the surface using a hair dryer to loosen the seal.
  3. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 3
    When all visible caulk is removed, wipe the areas that you are joining with a towel that has been dipped in denatured alcohol. The alcohol will remove any residual soap scum and will loosen any remaining caulk.
  4. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 4
    Use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment to vacuum the joint. This will remove any residual caulk that you may have missed during the scraping process.
  5. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 5
    Allow the shower to sit overnight without being used. This will ensure that the surface is fully dry, which will help the caulk to adhere.

Apply the Caulk

A caulk gun is an inexpensive tool that will make caulking your shower enclosure faster and easier. You will need to buy specially designed tubes of caulk to fit into your caulk gun.

  1. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 6
    Load the caulk tube into the caulk gun, pulling the pressure rod back and sliding the bottom of the tube into the device.
  2. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 7
    Squeeze the trigger gently until the pressure rod makes contact with the base of the caulk tube.
  3. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 8
    Cut the tip of the tube at a 45-degree angle using a pair of scissors. Keep the opening narrow so that you don’t push too much caulk from the tube as you work, and make sure that the opening is in alignment with the base of the gun for easy application.
  4. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 9
    Rest the opening of the tube against the point where one of the vertical seams of the shower enclosure meets the ceiling or the soffit. Caulk the vertical seams and the corners of the shower enclosure first.
  5. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 10
    Squeeze the trigger gently and pull down slowly on the caulk gun, guiding the nozzle along the joint and squeezing out a steady stream of caulk. Avoid frequent stopping and starting so that you produce a smooth surface.
  6. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 11
    Rest the curved tip of the back of a plastic spoon at the beginning of your caulk line. Push gently on the spoon so that you are pressing the caulk into the seam while smoothing the top of the caulk’s surface. Pull the spoon down the seam slowly until you have smoothed the entire application.
  7. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 12
    Wipe the exterior of your caulk tube and the spoon with a damp sponge. This will keep caulk from drying on the surface and interfering with the smoothness of your application.
  8. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 13
    Move on to the next joint to be caulked and repeat the steps until you have caulked all of the shower joints. Again, caulk the vertical seams and corners first, the horizontal seam along the back of the shower second and the horizontal seams on the sides of the shower third. Caulk between the shower door and the edge of the enclosure last.
  9. Image titled Caulk Shower Enclosures Step 14
    Allow the caulk to cure for 24 to 48 hours before you use the shower again.


  • If you don’t want to purchase a caulk gun, then you can apply caulk using a squeezable tube.
  • Do not try to fill gaps that are more than 1/4” wide with caulk. For larger gaps, stuff the gap with backer material or with specially designed waxed rope. Then, caulk over the top of the backing material.
  • Make sure that you plan to apply the caulk in one single session. Stopping, going to a new activity, and returning can affect the adhesion of the caulk, which will create entry points for water and mildew.


  • Never use exterior caulk in your bathroom. Exterior caulk is designed to endure different environmental pressures and will not provide the same level of protection as a specially designed bathroom caulk.

Things You'll Need

  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Utility knife or razor blade
  • Hair dryer, if needed
  • Towel
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Vacuum with attachment
  • Caulk gun
  • Tube of bathroom caulk
  • Scissors
  • Plastic spoon
  • Damp sponge

Article Info

Categories: Home Improvements and Repairs