Maintain Marble Shower: 5 Professional Steps
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
Who doesn't want to see their home in optimal condition? Our home is a place that requires daily, monthly and yearly maintenance—from landscaping and gutter cleaning, to HVAC and plumbing leaks, the list can be long.
Many are DIY, but some require professional training and equipment to help ensure the tasks are done correctly. And of course we’ve all had occasions when we think something is perfectly fine until, all of a sudden, it’s not!
Areas like these—bathrooms high among them—can be costly to repair when we discover the problem. That’s why, if you have marble, porcelain, or natural stone in your bathroom, we’ve got news you need to hear!
Marble, stone, and porcelain in bathrooms have 2 major vulnerabilities
While they can seem invulnerable, showers constructed of fine marble, natural stone, and porcelain have two key weaknesses you’ll need to defend against:
potential surface damage from using the wrong cleansers;
micro-fissures in all areas of grout.
Most of the stones used today for our bathroom showers (kitchens, and even flooring, too), are sensitive to alkaline and acidic cleaners.
In our experience, while people do basic cleaning, not many perform much in the way of maintenance on their showers. And, if they do, they unknowingly turn to the wrong chemicals and methods, often causing permanent damage in the process. That leads to problem number one, above: surface damage.
Problem number two is even more serious... and unfortunately, it’s all too common. We’ve named it "Waterlogged Shower:"
water finds its way through micro-holes in the stone and grout, creating high levels of humidity under the stone tile.
If you think that sounds dangerous, you’re right!
What are the results of Waterlogged Shower?
The signs that immediate attention is needed include:
Discoloration of the stone
Mold and mildew
Unsightly calcium deposits
and strong odors.
How do you know if your shower is in the cross hairs of this type of problem? Truthfully, it’s more than likely beginning right from day one of your shower’s use. But lack of maintenance in marble, porcelain or natural stone showers is usually the underlying cause.
We’re on a mission to help spread the word about Waterlogged Showers—and help save homeowners from costly damage too, and often the unnecessary demolition of, their luxurious bathrooms!
How? TERSO MR recommends you have professional maintenance performed at least every 1-2 years, following the 5 steps below.
5 top steps to professionally maintain marble shower
PERFORM SOUND TEST SYSTEM and EPOXY TREATMENT
The purpose of a sound test is to identify where grout joints are missing, or where hairline fissures may be. Your professional marble repair specialist will lightly tap all over your grout areas; the readings they receive will make it possible to identify how and where flowing epoxy will need to be introduced.
The epoxy is what will stop and/or neutralize any grout cracks, continuing water intrusion, loose tiles and/or leaks outside the shower protective membrane.
TERSO MR® clients have discovered that this initial investment in prevention—along with taking care of any essential repairs that are identified—sets their showers up for years of far simpler and less costly surface care and maintenance as described in the next 4 steps.
PURIFY SURFACE WITH CUSTOMIZED SOLUTIONS
We recommend relying on custom-mixed, safe solutions that allow the surface to be gently buffed. The particular solution varies depending on the type of materials and surface finish.
If it is smooth, like porcelain or polished finishes, we recommend against any abrasive
If it is honed or textured we use light powder abrasives to lightly exfoliate the surface as it can also refresh the finish and remove surface marks.
It’s very important to use the proper grit of powder abrasive for the finish being purified. All the work must be done by hand or using a small buffer. The process is similar to detailing a fine car surface paint.
Make sure the surface is purified free of surface soap scum, grout, glues, and other contaminants. This is very critical as you do not want to apply an impregnating sealer on top of a contaminated surface as you will impregnate impurities into the materials.
APPLY PREMIUM IMPREGNATING SEALER
The third step is to select and properly apply an impregnating sealer. Be sure to choose one designed for your specific materials. Remember, the sealer is useless if the grout in your showers developed fissures or if water has already infiltrated under the tiles.
Follow the application instructions described on the product label.
Always use a new pristine brush, and be consistent and controlled.
We allow the sealer to fully get absorbed, then re-apply as it is being absorbed.
Re-application time and approach varies based on the type and porosity of the materials.
Note: wipe/buff off all excess sealer that the stone is no longer absorbing, by hand. White towels are best—the sealer pulls dye from color towels and can transfer to the stone. Use them only once and changing often during the process will help avoid sealer marks or haze, and/or residues on the surface.
REPLACE GLASS SEAL AND/OR WIPE
The shower glass enclosure must be watertight with the appropriate seals and wipes. Failing to replace these as they get hard, cut, chipped, or pull away from the shower surfaces will result in leaks.
(We keep plastic seal strips and shower glass for shower doors in stock, because whether a shower is being repaired or getting regular bi-annual maintenance, securing the glass enclosure is a key component for keeping the shower enclosure water-resistant.)
SILICONE AROUND THE GLASS ENCLOSURE
A weak spot for all glass-enclosed showers is where it butts the wall or threshold; this is the point where a leak outside the shower enclosure usually starts. Water will intrude and cause damage to the materials or worse leaks outside the shower! Fresh silicone may be needed to restore the seal.
Conducting periodic checks can help you prevent rapid deterioration.
Here’s how to conduct a quick and easy test: spray water on the corners. Check to see if there is moisture present on the other side, or if you see the slightest hairline crack in this critical area.
We can’t emphasize this enough: if you see the slightest fissure on the grout near the glass or on corners enclosure where it butts marble or porcelain, make sure to get this repaired immediately!
Water will wick outside the glass enclosure—and go mostly unnoticed until it’s too late: after the leaks or damage are done to the base and stone or porcelain materials.
When should inspection and marble shower maintenance begin?
For the best results, have protective treatment done immediately after your shower is installed, and before you use it*. Then do maintenance every other year (more if it gets heavy use).
If it’s too late for that, be sure to have it done before you see (or smell) any of the trouble signs noted above.
Micro-fissures are generally present almost from Day 1 of your new shower installation—through no fault of your installers! And the structural shifting at the joints doesn’t stop. This is what leads to a Waterlogged Shower™—and that’s beyond the power of any skilled artisans to prevent. Showers are made to be water-resistant, not waterproof. But these important steps will help you maintain marble shower, and keep it in pristine condition for a lifetime.