Marble and stone showers have always been popular luxury amenities, regardless of changing home trends. Both materials are known for their sturdiness, cost-effectiveness, and long-lasting beauty, which makes them perfect for showers. And the wide variety of marble and stone tiles available makes them a designer’s dream!
Yet while marble and stone fixtures around the house require little maintenance, marble or stone showers do need some extra attention. And spotting the signs of some of the more common issues can save you both headaches and money.
Here are four that indicate a prompt need for attention:
Grout Concerns (Black Patches and Fissures)
Dampness and humidity are inevitable in the shower. And this constant dampness can lead to black patches on the grout over time. Structural shifting and settling in the building can also cause tiny fissures to open up, and the grout can chip away as a result of harsh chemicals in hard water or products used in the shower.
A shower’s tendency to remain damp makes it difficult for water in the grout space to be wiped or drained. Mildew and mold often results, showing as up scrub-resistant black patches on the grout — particularly in the corners, joints and around the drain. Issues like this won’t just go away, and covering it up with added caulking is just a band-aid, so jump on these signs as soon as you see them.
Discoloration on the Tiles
Marble is sturdy, but also porous. Different types of marble and stone used in showers have different degrees of density, and while most tiles get sealed at installation, this sealant gradually wears away, allowing water to penetrate.
When water begins to infiltrate the tile, or seeps behind it through grout cracks, you’ll start to see discoloration that appears like a darker, almost wet-looking area area on the surface of the tile that doesn’t go away. This is another sign that your shower needs some maintenance.
Tile & Grout Cracks
Cracks can occur in marble or stone tiles or grout for various reasons. These include a poor foundation in the shower as mentioned above, natural defects in the tiles, the wrong choice of marble or stone tile for the shower, excessive dampness or poor ventilation, or even harsh physical contact with the tiles.
Since the foundation of your shower structure is most likely weaker near the drain and in corners, cracks and splits in tiles often occur in or near these areas. If you see cracks, don’t wait! More urgent shower maintenance is needed, since ignoring it can quickly lead to further deterioration.
Calcium Chloride Build-up
White patches in the shower area are most likely stemming from a build up of calcium chloride—most commonly occurring near the drain. Patches of calcium chloride, however, can be found anywhere on the shower floor.
Where does it come from? It occurs when soluble salts within the tiles rise to the surface; they emerge due to moisture seeping under the tiles through unsealed grout or cracks. Salt deposits on the surface of tiles leads to the surface becoming uneven, leading to poor water drainage and further marble or stone shower damage.
And, you guessed it, this moisture underneath or behind your tiles is bad news for your luxurious shower and bathroom!
Common Reasons for Deterioration of Shower Tiles
It is important to note that these problems aren’t necessarily from any problem with the installation or product selection. They’re often a natural condition that occurs in any building’s life. Our home simply requires regular maintenance to preserve its value.
The wrong cleaning agents can contribute to deterioration. Harsh chemicals can shorten the lifespan of your grout and sealants. Vinegar, for instance is a common DIY cleaning agent for various home surfaces that leads to reactions with deposits of salts within the marble or stone tile. Read this article for our recommendation for a safer solution for cleaning your marble or stone shower.
Moreover, newer marble and stone tiles can also require more frequent shower maintenance as the new grout joints settle, during construction and more on its beginning usage stages. Voids on grout leads to water damage more quickly, shifting, cracking, or chipping tiles.
Every-Other-Year Maintenance for a Lifetime of Enjoyment
Often we’re in a hurry and don’t notice changes in our home until a major problem crops up, but now that you know what to look for, don’t ignore the signs! Since you know how to spot deterioration in marble or stone showers, be sure to fix the causes at the root, before they become a severe problem.
Maintaining your shower can make all the difference when it comes time to sell your home, but even more importantly, preventing deterioration will help you enjoy your beautiful shower for years to come.
If you’re based in the New Jersey or New York City areas, give the experts at TersoMR a call for prompt, cost-efficient marble and stone shower maintenance and repairs.