Stone Showerstall upkeep.

Natural stone such as tumbled Marble or Travertine is a very popular Shower and Bathtub wall covering here in Santa Cruz County  This is somewhat surprising when you consider that it can be one of the most difficult materials to take care of in a Bathroom.  Most natural stone of these types is quite porous and will absorb soap scum and minerals from the water, leaving them discolored and unsightly.  Once the stone absorbs the discoloring substance, it is difficult or impossible to restore the stone to its original beauty.  Sealers are available for natural stone but they do not last long (approx. 6 months) and they can be extremely messy to reapply. Not something the average home owner is prepared for and let alone has the time to do that often

Although Mother Nature has made natural stone beautiful, she has also made it somewhat fragile.  Many types of marble are fairly brittle and are subject to cracking along fissure lines in the stone.  Costs for good quality natural stone tiles are usually near the high end of all the bathtub and shower wall covering materials.

Currently, some general Contractors are trying to decrease costs by importing low quality natural stone tiles from overseas.  Of course, the lower quality stones will tend to have even more problems than the better quality ones.  Although I likes the look of natural stone, I do not recommend a marble shower for a long lasting, easy care shower or bathtub.  The many tile stores in Santa Cruz all have an excellent selection of beautiful man-made tiles which look just like natural stone but do not have all of the maintenance headaches.

Perfect example..

Soft Scrub should never bee used on any stone surface!
Soft Scrub should never be used on any stone surface!

In the above picture, a “Professional” cleaning company used Soft Scrub on this home owner’s Polished Marble shower. The company’s owner was unable to fix the problem but if you look at the top left hand corner you can see where we were able to polish the residue away for good.

Now if you just have to have (or keep) your natural stone shower, please follow these helpful tips to keep them looking new and beautiful.

  • Never ever use an acidic cleaning agent on any stone but Granite. if you don’t know what kind of stone it is give us a call and we’ll help you figure it out. Realize that just about every tub and tile cleaner found at Longs or Safeway will be acidic. You’ll need to visit a tile store or hardware store to find a Neutral pH cleaner. (Or read my article on Trader Joe’s General Purpose Cleaners here on my Blog) that will be safe for the stone and will not deplete the sealer.
  • Squeegee or wipe down the walls and floor after every use.Now I know no one will do this but it is great advice non the less. Doing so will help eliminate the build up of hard water deposits and soap scum.
  • Keep the stone and grout well sealed. Sealing keeps the soil, mold and mineral build up on the very surface of the stone so it can be easily (or not so easily) cleaned off later. Once the seal has failed, mold and stains can get too deep to ever successfully clean out 100%. We offer a unique alcohol based sealer that we have to smuggle out of Australia that is chemical, water and UV proof. It’s the ideal sealer for stone showers as you can expect to get at least 5 years of life out of it.
  • Make sure the grout, silicon or caulking around the walls and floor stays intact. Once these fail and either crack, peel or crumble, water will be able to get behind the tile and mold and mildew will grow rampant.
  • Have Connoisseur come out every two years to professional steam clean and polish or hone your stone shower stall.  What is it your grand mother use to say? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?
  • And most of all enjoy your Natural Stone shower with a friend…