General Question

Carly's avatar

What would cause caulk not to cure correctly?

Asked by Carly (4550points) February 6th, 2011

My mother has caulked our tub for many years and nothing has ever gone wrong before, but just recently she was redoing it and a certain part of the caulk wasnt curing right. It was only part of it, and we waited 48 hours the first time before taking a shower.. Now we’re redone the whole tub again, waited 72 hours, and that part still isn’t dry. We’ve used two different tubes of caulk, so we know it wasn’t bad, but we just dont know whats happening.

Any ideas or suggestions?

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11 Answers

Judi's avatar

Maybe there is a leak, or mold in that spot? Make shire you scrub that spot with bleach and use a blow dryer to make sure it’s dry before you start next time.

YARNLADY's avatar

The product is defective.

Carly's avatar

@YARNLADY but we used two different tubes, and all the caulking on most of the tub dried perfectly

YARNLADY's avatar

@Carly So, that isn’t it.

Cruiser's avatar

Perhaps using too much? Most caulks are air cured and can skin over and the inside will take a lot longer to cure. Trapped moisture behind the wall will also mess things up. What kind of caulk are you using?

Carly's avatar

@Cruiser I thought we used two different brands but i just found out that they were both “Liquid Nails.” One was a regular drying speed, and the last one we used was the quick drying kind. Thanks for the response. We’ll wait more than 72 hours to see if it works, and keep everyone updated, especially if I need more help

Cruiser's avatar

@Carly Only a personal observation here. Liquid Nails is generally not to be used as a Caulk it is an adhesive, solvent based at that. IMO not a good 1st, second or third choice for tub caulk! I would peel it out and get a good bath/shower caulk or you will have mold issues in no time with the Liquid Nails.

Carly's avatar

ooo, thank you! I had no idea

RocketGuy's avatar

You can contaminate silicone caulk, and make it not cure. I did that by using an old poker to open a tube of caulk. The poker had previously been used on a tube of epoxy.

alamo's avatar

Moisture, temperature, old caulk, wrong product for the material or surface contamination will all or individually make caulk fail to cure. If the caulk failed to cure at the same spot both times, it sound like moisture behind the wall/caulk. I have never seen a Liquid Nail product I would use for bath tubs.
Go to the local big box hardware store, Lowes or Home Depot, and get new caulk. They have enough product turnover that that tube will probably not have sat on the shelf very long. I prefer acrylic latex or silicone based for tubs. Acrylic latex will clean up and smooth with water and is very forgiving. The silicone based is less forgiving to smooth with your finger but is a better option in a tub.
Remove the old caulk from the tub, use alcohol( rubbing or denatured) to wipe down and clean the area and let it dry throughly. The alcohol will rinse out any loose debris and evaporate pretty quickly. Open the door and turn on the fan, the fumes are strong while you’re in the tub next to the wall. Check the area that’s been a problem after it’s cleaned out. It may need a fan blowing air on it overnight to fully dry it out. Check it very closely, it may the early indicator of a problem developing behind the wall. After its real dry, try it again. If you use acrylic latex, water on your finger acts as a lubricant to smooth the caulk out. If you try the silicone, use the alcohol on your finger as a lubricant to smooth. You can use a bare finger on silicone but the alcohol gives you a little more time before it sticks/skins over.
You can try to just remove the problem area, clean and dry it throughly then reapply, but i have had poor results trying this in the past. Might be worth a try though.

appledude's avatar

This just happened to me – using old caulk, after several days the caulk is still “wet” and comes off on your finger if you touch it. I have read that this means the caulk is old, and will never cure properly.

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