Yes, shower panels should be caulked. Shower panels are available as pre-cut units ready to install either as a tub surround or a shower addition. The panels are plastic with interlocking seams.
The seams fit securely and tightly together when installed appropriately. However, the finishing touch is waterproofing them by caulking.
Usually, shower panels come with a tube of latex adhesive caulk, which is suitable for application where the tub and the panels meet.
However, silicone caulk is best suited to waterproof the seams. Water is one thing that can damage your shower panels thus he need to protect them.
What is the Difference between Caulk and Grout?
Caulk is a sealant used to fill seams or gaps in pipe joints to guarantee watertight integrity of the joints.
Due to their nature of use, shower panels need waterproof seams.
There are different types of caulk; silicone, latex, and acrylic. All caulk types possess sealing abilities; however, they cannot be used interchangeably as they are not created equal.
The best type of caulk to use on shower panels is 100% silicone caulk, designed for plumbing use. Silicone caulk contains excellent adhesive properties; it seals cracks and holds trim pieces to walls.
While purchasing caulk, consider getting one with a mildewcide because it prevents discolouration from mold, which is common in bathrooms. This will serve you for long in terms of outside look and durability it is the best.
Grout is a sealant used to fill spaces between tiles and secure them in place. It is normally made of a mixture of cement, water, and sand, but there is another epoxy-based type.
The epoxy-based grout is made of resins that allow it to be flexible and waterproof.
When using grout, consider its maintenance as cement grout is vulnerable to high-traffic stains and porous. Y
ou will need to regularly maintain it and seal it properly to keep it clean, stain-resistant and ensure its durability.
When you pick your grout the epoxy- based one will be ideal than the latter as it needs less maintenance and its durable.
What Comes First: Grout or Caulk?
Grout comes first because it does not adhere to caulking. So, applying grout after caulking will produce unsound areas or areas where grout does not bond to the walls.
The reason for caulking shower panels is to protect them against expansion and moisture.
As a DIY project, caulking before grouting will only make the job difficult. It is more practical to grout first and leaves grout lines clean and open for caulking 24 hours after applying grout.
The two have to be there as they are make the shower panel durable.
They have to be applied with a professional. A professional has experience and will make sure they are applied systematically to avoid minor mistakes that make damage your shower panel in future. For durability they have to be applied with a lot of keenness on the shower panel.
Types of Caulk
- Silicone is the best caulk for gaps that contract and expand and nonporous surfaces. It is also suitable for the outdoors because of its ability to endure extreme temperatures. But, you cannot paint over this caulk type.
- Latex caulk is the easiest to apply, making it suitable for DIY projects. Its other advantage is that you can paint it to match surrounding areas. It is also easy to clean, and you can remove it with water and soap before it dries.
- Acrylic is easier to apply in comparison to silicone caulk. You can have it for outdoor and indoor use and materials such as brick, stone, and wood. It is also used to weatherproof doors and windows.
Why is Caulk Essential in Shower Corners?
You should apply caulk, not grout, in your shower corners. This is because grout does not adhere well to shower corners and is susceptible to falling out and cracking.
The reason is that tiles on two perpendicular walls contract and expands with temperature changes.
Grout does not flex or adjust to suit these changes, which leads to cracked grout in shower corners. Silicone caulk offers a malleable waterproof seal and warrants crack-free shower corners.
So, Do You Caulk Shower Panels?
Caulking inside shower enclosures is important as it prevents water damage to your bathroom walls and floor.
Water damage and the mould brought about by water damage can cost you a lot more in repairs and medical bills.
Thus it’s better to go an extra mile to do what is required. It will be expensive when installing but it will cost zero maintenance in the long run which will eventually be a plus in future