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What is a Bathtub Trim: Everything You Need to Know for Easy Installation

what is a bathtub trim.
by Badeloft | December 29, 2019

Bathtub fixtures looking a little faded and outdated? Looking to update the look of your bathtub without spending a great deal of money and time? A bathtub trim kit might just be the perfect fit for you and with our easy to follow guide, you can replace your bathtub’s trim in no time.  

What is Bathtub Trim?

A bathtub trim refers to the seam between the wall of your bathtub and bathtub. This seam needs to be filled in order to prevent debris and water mainly from leaking in between the cracks, which would lead to deterioration down the road.

Another important note when purchasing a trim kit is that “Bathtub Trim” is also a catch-all phrase for other cosmetic aspects of your bathtub namely the faucet coverings as well as the temperature control valves of your shower.

Why would you need to add a new bathtub trim

  • A new bathtub trim repels dirt and excess water
  • It is visually more appealing to guests to have a new trim
  • Will protect your bathroom in the long run

A new bathtub trim is important to maintain the health of your bathtub and bathroom. The trim is the only barrier between your bathtub and other unwanted elements such as excess water and grout. If your trim is worn away and the area is exposed, mildew and other unwanted solutions will eventually deteriorate and damage your bathtub/bathroom.

What do you need for this project:

  • Liquid bathroom cleaner
  • Clean rags
  • Putty knife
  • Silicone caulk
  • Utility knife

How do you prep your bathtub for a new trim

To prep your bathtub for new trim, you need a clean surface as caulk adheres to a surface best when clean. So first you want to remove the old caulking, then apply a mild bathroom cleaner in combination with water to fully clean the old area, then allow the solution to dry completely before you proceed with the next step. 

prepping the bathtub trim.

How to add the trim:

Step 1: Clean the Tub – Before you begin, it is important to clean your bathtub thoroughly as caulking does not adhere properly if the surface is dirty. So, using a cleaning solution, it is important to vigorously clean the surfaces and let it dry properly before applying caulk. 

Step 2 Prepare the Caulk tube: Another important aspect of making sure your bathtub trim adheres properly is to make sure you do not apply too much caulk. Before beginning, it is important to cut the appropriate size opening, such as a ¼ or ⅜ inch opening for bathroom trim. 

Step 3 Apply Caulk: Place the caulk applicator against the shower or bathtub trim at a 45 degree angle. Now, using this same technique, apply a small bead of caulk all around the trim of your bathtub. Once all of it is fully covered, smooth it out and let the caulk dry. 

Step 4: Final additions: Once the caulk has fully dried and the solution is fully bonded, you can now paint or apply any aesthetic elements you want over the caulk. 

What is the best type of caulk should you use?

There are two primary choices when it comes to choosing caulk-pure silicone and silicone composites. Pure silicone is a highly durable caulk that is waterproof, rot resistant, and will not crack under high temperatures with a longevity of at least 40+ years.

However, pure silicone is more annoying to remove and doesn’t take to paint very well. Silicone composite caulk, on the other hand, is much easier to apply and remove, and is cheaper than pure silicone. It can be painted over with ease, but the trade off is that it is much less durable and will crack with higher temperatures. Silicone composite caulk will usually last anywhere from 10-20 years at most. 

Should you consider using a bathtub trim kit?

If you parts of your bathtub are looking worn-down or fading, you have two options. You can replace your bathtub, which is a wholly expensive and time-consuming ordeal, or alternatively, you can look at bathtub trim kits.

A bathtub trim kit is a perfect way to replace some fading aspects of your bathroom, such as a chipped faucet or discolored temperature control valves. They are very inexpensive, starting at around $30 and capping out around $200 for more expensive fixtures and as such are a cost-effective way to breathe new life into your existing bathroom. 

installing bathtub trim kit.

What comes included in a bathtub trim kit?

  • A faucet or spout covering in the color/style of your choice
  • Faucet handle decorative plates
  • A shower valve decorate plates
  • Bathtub drain overflow plate 

Pros and Cons of kit vs Professional Installation 

A kit comes with several decorative elements at a fairly inexpensive price point. However, in short, you will usually get what you pay for. A trim kit is a great alternative to a new shower head and valves, but it does not replace a more thorough remodel job. A kit is also an inexpensive and straightforward DIY project, which means just about anyone can do it.

Whereas a professional replacement of bathroom fixtures will, of course, be much more time-consuming and wholly more expensive. For the purposes of adding value to your home, a Professional fixture replacement is recommended, but for your everyday bathroom, just buy a trim kit and enjoy your new fixtures. 

Additional Tips: What Should be Considered Before You Start

Before you apply a bathtub trim, it is very important that you understand which caulk is right for your bathtub, as stated previously, some are more sensitive to temperature changes than others. In general, Pure Silicone should be used for projects that you have little desire to replace or touch, where Silicone Composites can be used for projects you look to replace in a few years. So bear that difference in mind before caulking your new trim.

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