Overbrook Tile shower stall

Considerations

Caulking– Any new construction or renovation is subject to a great deal of movement, due to all the new materials used.  The majority of this movement usually occurs in the first year as the new construction materials settle.  Thereafter, any further movement is largely subject to the effects from changes in humidity.  Wherever two adjacent surfaces come together, you are going to have movement and consequently, cracking.  The common areas where this occurs are the corners of your shower, between your floor and base and between your backsplash and countertops.  These are the areas that get caulked.  We use one of the best acrylic latex caulks on the market.  However, we can’t guarantee caulking for any length of time, because the degree of movement is affected by a number of things, most of which are out of our control. 

Efflorescence– This is a white, calcium deposit that sometimes presents itself on shower floors.  In short, it is a reaction of water to the salts in the cement materials used to do the shower floor.  As moisture passed through the mortar bed under the tile and evaporates up through the grout joints, it sometimes carries the salts from the mortar bed to the surface where it dries to form efflorescence.  It has to be scraped off or removed with an acidic cleaner and then a sealer must be applied to help ward off further growth.  Unfortunately, it is not something that we can predict or control with 100% effectiveness.  We have some control over the moisture aspect of this problem.  We make sure that the sub-floor under the plumber’s pan has positive slope to the drain (if the plumber does not do this), we make sure that we do not impede the weep holes in the strainer to the drain and we make sure we have positive slope to the drain with our mortar bed and tile.  What we do not have control over is the chemical make-up of the cement materials we use. 

Sealers– We are often asked about sealing tile and grout.  Glazed ceramic tile usually does not need to be sealed.  We seal most natural stones and those ceramics that require a sealer, before we grout.  Sealing grout is something that can’t be done until the grout has cured, usually about 3 to 5 days.   Most customers are under the mistaken impression that sealing tile and grout is going to eliminate the need for normal maintenance.  This is not the case.  There are a vast number of sealers on the market.  None of them will preclude you from a normal maintenance routine.  What these sealers will do is help you to get out a stain that might otherwise be permanent. The only place we recommend sealers for your grout are kitchen backsplashes and floors, because they are susceptible to food stains that could damage your grout.  No grout is maintenance free, although epoxy grouts come close.  They are generally impervious to just about anything, but they are much more labor intensive to work with and therefore, more expensive.

Tile Purchases– We believe that there is an impression amongst customers that if we purchase the tile, they will be charged a mark-up above the retail showroom price. While some contractors engage in this practice, Overbrook Tile does not. We have discounted relationships with most of the major tile distributors in the area. When we purchase the tile, you receive the benefit of that discount. You actually pay less! Not only is your price better, we will be responsible for ensuring the correct quantity is ordered, that you have the correct pieces for your job and we will pick-up and deliver the material at no additional cost.

Cleaning– We are often asked about cleaning and care of the materials we install. This is a whole other area of our industry and we suggest going to this site for all you’re cleaning and care issues. You can get both the answers you are looking for an buy the products you will need. http://www.stonecare.com/