The brown silicone caulk I applied to the rim of the tub 2 years ago
worked as I had hoped, in that during these last 2 years, no signs of mildew appeared on it. The brown color was truly unattractive, but it was better than seeing mildew.
Recently, however, a section of the brown caulk came loose from the tub. So I replaced the section with (not-so) new brown caulk. Unfortunately, that caulk was too old and never hardened. So it had to be replaced again...
At the hardware store, this time I found silicone caulk in a metallic grey color. Surely gray would look better than brown and would hopefully still be dark enough to mask any mildew that might appear over time.
So I decided to remove all the old brown caulk and replace it with the new gray one. I also removed the older light-colored caulk in the other sections, as it had gotten visibly mildewy in the meantime too.
The light-colored caulk had been the "Polyseamseal" brand. It was so well stuck to the surfaces that it was a right pain to remove. I had to use a razor-blade scraper with a lot of force. The razor blade ended up breaking.
I began to worry whether I was doing the right thing, using a silicone caulk again this time, as there had been other previous occasions where silicone caulk had come loose. Silicone caulk never seems to stick very well for me. The Polyseamseal one seems to stick much better. Yet I'd had other problems with the Polyseamseal one (like cracks in the middle, and it being a right pain to remove!!!)... Yet everything I read says that silicone caulk is the best kind for tubs.
As I had already bought the metallic gray silicone caulk, I went ahead and used it. The metallic gray color truly DOES look much better than the brown color did.
This time, I even caulked around the ends of the 2 handrails, which never had been caulked before. I had to first clean out a bunch of rust that had accumulated around the screws under the end cover-plates.
I know it is in vain, but I hope NEVER to have to caulk that tub again.
I had a mini-breakdown/tantrum while laying down the caulk. All this work! And it might all come loose again anyway! I went through all this work already in the past; why am I having to do it again and again?! Why do I have to do this kind of work during my vacations?! I hate this! It hurts my hands having to press down the trigger on the caulk gun! And no matter how much effort I put into it, and in spite of having more experience each time I do it, it still always ends up looking like sh*t! The bead never comes out nice and even. Even after I smooth the bead, some sections end up being a total mess. And then I have to spend time with toothpicks and q-tips trying to make it look better, but that only helps somewhat. Is there really any purpose to this caulking? Does it really even matter if water gets into the seams? The old silicone caulk that I removed seemed damp underneath, even in the sections where it hadn't been loose... maybe water gets underneath it anyhow. Maybe I'm going through all this effort for no good reason! Other people don't do this! What am I going to do when I get older and am no longer capable of putting so much effort into these tedious tasks?!
Sigh. I managed to get past the break-down with only a few tears, and without hitting anything, though I was tempted. What is it about rage that makes one want to hit things?
I also finally replaced the toilet fill-valve which had been malfunctioning for over a year, but still technically working. Then I also had to replace the flapper which suddenly wasn't sealing well anymore. Then water starting dripping/leaking from the supply line! But it seems it may simply not have been tightened enough - hopefully I've fixed that now.
Before (with part of the old brown caulk already removed):
After (nice and silvery):Update (2014/01/12):
I'm really pleased with the new caulk color. Its silveriness, and the contrast between the color of the tub and caulk, looks very fancy. It looks just as good, if not better, than white caulk would have.