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Leaking tubs and showers…Why?

We often get calls for tubs and shower leaks, most of the time the leak starts slow and is undetected, until some visible damage has occurred. One of the most common spots for damage to occur is outside the tub or shower in the corners. The main reason this happens is the caulk around the tub splits, cracks or separates from the tub and tile allowing water to get behind the caulk. Bathtubs and fiberglass shower pans have a one inch lip that runs all the way around it that the tile hangs over and covers. So the water channels along that lip behind the caulk, behind the tile, and behind the shower door frames, unseen. People often think their damage outside the shower is caused by careless family members not be careful with shower curtains and such, not usually the case.

This is an example of caulk that has split allowing water to penetrate it.

This is an example of caulk that has split allowing water to penetrate it.

Inspecting your showers and tubs on a regular basis will greatly reduce the chance of structural damage. If you see any cracked, loose or missing grout and or caulk, take care of it asap. If left unattended the sub-floor under the tub will rot, becoming soft and allowing the tub to move when someone stands in it. If this happens, it will be difficult to maintain a caulk bead around the tub that won’t crack. At that point, the tub would have to be removed and the sub floor repaired, this can be quite expensive.

The key to getting a good, long lasting seal is the preparation. All the old damaged caulk and grout must be removed, dried and properly cleaned. Making sure the cracks and crevices are dry is super important, the new caulk will not adhere or set up correctly if there is any moisture present. This is the number one reason for failed caulk jobs. We use toilet paper to find, and wick out moisture in hard to reach spots, shop vacs can be used if there is a substantial amount of water trapped.

Once the old, damaged caulk is completely removed, we need to make sure the crevice is completely 100% dry.

Once the old, damaged caulk is completely removed, we need to make sure the crevice is completely 100% dry.

Then a heat gun is carefully used to further dry the area. Some custom shower floors that have a hand made shower pan with tile & grout can take a very long time to dry out enough to re-grout. We have had some that took a month, with a dehumidifier in the shower before we had acceptable numbers on our moisture meter.   Once all the necessary preparation is done we install a mold and mildew resistant silicone caulk.

It is very important to use mild cleaners to gently clean the surfaces, harsh chemicals such as bleach and abrasive cleaning sponges or scrub brushes are a sure fire way to damage your grout and caulk. People that tend to be obsessive about cleaning, can be doing more harm than good. Yes, you can overclean!

After the surfaces are properly prepared, new caulk is installed, making this tub water tight once again.

After the surfaces are properly prepared, new caulk is installed, making this tub water tight once again.

Tile Backsplash

Installing a tile backsplash

Pristine Tile & Grout Restoration specializes in cleaning tile, grout, carpet and concrete however we occasionally stray off the beaten path for some of our regular customers. In this case we installed a tile backsplash to add a nice touch to their kitchen.

Installing a tile backsplash

The first part of the job is removing all the switchplate covers and outlet covers. We then check the wall to make sure there are no high spots that need to be scraped down. The next step to any tile job is the layout, in this case it was pretty easy and straight forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installed tile backsplash

After we installed the tile we let it set up for a day or two before we can grout it. When we came back to grout we found a nice surprise, my favorite customer was happy with our work once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tile & Grout

This photo shows the job completed, the color of the grout is Platinum, which is a light gray. It looks a little dark here because it is still wet, once dry it will look much lighter.

 

 

When the grout and caulk need to be replaced.

 

Many times we get calls for shower tile cleaning, but sometimes the caulk and grout are just too far gone for cleaning alone, as shown in the photos below from this home in Fredericksburg Va.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuck! who would want to get in that shower? (Sorry for the thumb)

It is always a great idea to inspect your showers, tubs, and sinks for signs of a problem, such as missing or cracked grout and/or caulk. Often small problems can be rectified before they turn into big expensive problems. In the case above it actually looked a lot worse than it was. The grout and caulk were in bad shape but miraculously the water had not penetrated to the wall board just yet. Pristine was able to go in and clean the tile, remove and replace all the old grout and caulk and make this shower look new and inviting once again!

Some folks are not quite as lucky and repairing or replacing often are needed.  If the tiles are loose and the walls feel spongy you can bet damage has taken place. Sometimes we can cut out a bad section and make the necessary repairs, if the damage is not too extensive.

The photos below, believe it or not, are the same shower fully restored!

The picture below is of a counter restoration project we did in the city of Fredericksburg Va 22401,

old tile counter top looks new again