Getting a professional finish with silicone sealant
Silicone should not only form a watertight seal, it should also look tidy and appealing. If you want to apply silicone sealant the professional way, here are a few tips to help you raise your game.
Existing silicone should be completely removed before you begin. Cut along the edges with a sharp knife and peel it away. Turpentine, elbow grease and patience will take care of the residue. Use bleach to kill off any spores or mould, then ensure that the application area is both dry and clean.
You need a sealant gun, a sealant cartridge, some decorator’s (masking) tape and a small bowl containing some white spirit. Kitchen roll is also handy to clean any excess off your hands.
Cut the tip of the cartridge nozzle at a slight angle with a sharp knife. This will help the tip to glide in a comfortable and efficient working position.
If you’re applying the sealant around a bath, fill it first. That way the sealant bead won’t be stretched or even pulled loose the first time you actually take a bath. If your floor or bathtub has any play, the weight of the water will allow it to settle. Leave the water in the bath for 24 hours so sealant can fully cure.
Run some decorator’s tape along the length of the area where the silicone will be applied, leaving an 8mm gap between each strip of tape. This will give you a clean edge.
Begin at a corner and pull the silicone gun towards you smoothly and steadily. Too quick and the gap won’t fill properly. Check to see that the area between the strips of tape have been properly filled. You can always add a little more. Remember that any irregularities can be smoothed over at the next stage.
Now comes the fun part, where you really see a transformation take place. Dip your fingertip in white spirit and run it along the silicone bead. Again, do this smoothly, applying an even pressure so that the sealant is pushed into the gap. The white spirit prevents the sealant sticking to your finger, allowing you to get a lovely, smooth finish.
When you’ve completed the smoothing down, peel away the tape. Don’t leave it too long, as the surface of the sealant can begin to go off quite quickly. This will leave a professional looking bead with nicely defined edges that will keep the water out and look great, too.
Give the sealant about 24 hours to fully cure before you allow it to get wet.
You can buy Unibond Shower, Bathroom and Kitchen Speed Seal Sealant (white) from Wilko online (£7.00 for 300ml) – get home delivery, or click and collect instore. Price and availability correct at time of writing.