Friday, July 19, 2013

Drain worms and DIY Re-caulking the shower

I can't even believe I am about to put this on the record, but we have these nasty things in our shower...WORMS! My husband claims he doesn't see this little black wiggly things, but oh, believe me, they are most definitely there.  And they have been now for the better part of a month.

We had a pest control guy come out and he said they must be coming from the drain..hence their name: Drain worms.   I had a hard time believing this since they are along the edge of the shower - where the wall meets the floor.  Anyway, before Mr. Bug Man pours any poisons into our pipes he suggested we clean them out first, as that's where the drain worms live.

In an attempt to clean out the shower drain, I tried removing the drain.  The only problem is it's literally grouted into the tile shower floor.  A friend of ours, who was a plumber, came over to give us some pointers and help remove the drain cover.   He took one look down the drain with a flash light and said it's clean as he's ever seen - almost looks like new PVC pipe.  Perhaps that's due to the gallons and gallons of draino and whatever other types of drain cleaners I've poured down there in an effort to clean out the drain and get rid of the drain worms that just won't D.I.E.

Since they seem to actually be coming from the edge of the shower - where the tile wall meets the tile floor - he actually suggested we re-caulk to fix the cracks in the grout. We've actually heard before that the shower needs to get re-caulked so we figured this was just one more reason.  He showed us exactly how to do it and my husband went out immediately and got the supplies.

About 10 minutes in...what do I hear "OH SH*T" followed by a whole bunch of other four letter words.  I try to bite my tongue and just pretend I didn't hear the fact that he said he just cracked a tile....but that's about the point he threw he hands up and said, "Just hire somebody."

Two days later here we are...I got a few handyman referrals, but then decided to give it a try myself.  I figured I'd keep that part to myself for awhile.  But today when my husband asked if I had found anyone, I proudly said "Yup, and the work's already started." 

The first step is where my well-intentioned hubby got caught up.   It takes time and patience of which he last little of either in times like these.  He's good at lots of things around the house - balancing the check book, mowing the lawn, getting the whirly gigs out of the gutter, painting, sweeping, etc - but DIY is not his forte and that's okay....because he has me.

Anyway, here's how to remove the old grout from a tile floor.
Make sure your shower is completely dry.

Take one of these chisels (or just use a flat head screw driver) place it right on the grout that you want to remove and carefully and slowly use a hammer to hit the end of it.  The old caulk will start to crack so you can remove it.  (If you have a pint-size helper, put him to work too...)


Do this all the way around the entire shower.




It took me close to an hour to do the entire perimeter of our stand-up tile shower. Some places were easier than others because there was already a crack in the grout.  Other places held up better and so it was a little tougher to remove.

  • After I got all the grout out, I used a dust pan and broom to remove it from the shower.  Don't dare use water to flush it down the drain. You want to keep the shower dry. 
  • Soak a wire brush in bleach.  Using a mask to protect yourself from fumes in the confined area, use the wire brush to scrub the area where you just remove the old grout.   Then take a hair dryer and dry the same area.  
  • Wait 24 hours to let it dry. 
  • Use the hair dryer again on the area. 
  • Wait another 24 hours. 
  • Now it's time to caulk.  
Don't use the fast dry caulk - this isn't a project you want to rush.  Get your caulk ready along with a cup of water and an old t-shirt.  Working in small areas at a time, caulk along the edge where you removed the old caulk.  I would put a line of caulk about a foot long and then stop to do the next step.

Then wrap a t-shirt or old sock around your finger, dip it in the cup of water, and carefully use it to smooth over the caulk line.  Continue this process all the way around the shower floor until the entire perimeter is caulked.


Let the caulk dry for 24-48 hours before using the shower.

If you have any tiny bubbles in your caulk...touch up that area with a small bit of caulk and the wet t-shirt method.
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