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Old 12-02-2017, 09:58 AM   #1
bbguy27
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Shower Floor Marble Turning Yellow

Hello, I recently sealed my polished carrara marble floors in my bathroom. Prior to sealing, I used a variable speed polisher (lowest setting) and StoneTech Polishing Powder and Shining Powder to remove some water spots in the shower. It was my first time doing this. After polishing, I applied StoneTech Impregnator Pro to seal the tile. A few weeks later I noticed the marble beginning to yellow along the edges of the floor. The yellowing has been spreading. What could be causing this and how do I fix it? Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:18 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Joey.

More info would be helpful, but there’s so many “forks in the road” in the line of questioning that we should start with asking how old this shower build is.

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Old 12-02-2017, 10:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply! The shower was installed in 2015 but I bought the home in January of this year. It did not have yellowing on the floor that I noticed prior to the work I did about a month ago.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:55 PM   #4
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Was the shower in regular use since January?

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Old 12-02-2017, 05:01 PM   #5
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Yes, it's been used daily. And the owners prior to me used it as well.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:31 AM   #6
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Okay, had this been a new install or if usage had been substantially increased, we’d ask about construction of the shower. And especially ask what setting material was used. But I’ll ask anyways: 1) Can you remove the mixer valve trim plate to get a look at the substrate and any of the setting material that’s visible? Ideally, it would be white thinset. We wanna make sure it isn’t mastic.

Alright. What about anything else you’ve worked on in the shower at the same time you polished away those water stains...
2) After applying the sealer, did you polish the tile 100% dry or allow the wet tile to dry on its own?
3) Have you started using any different shower shampoos, gels, etc?
4) Did you remove or add any grout anywhere?
5) Did you see any pinholes in the grout?
6) Did you remove or add to any of that corner caulk?
7) Did you perform any work to the glass walls or shower door?
8) Did you perform any other maintenance that you haven’t already mentioned?

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Old 12-03-2017, 12:40 PM   #7
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I attached some additional photos. The areas in red are where the yellow is showing. The areas in blue are where I recaulked.

1) Can you remove the mixer valve trim plate to get a look at the substrate and any of the setting material that’s visible? Ideally, it would be white thinset. We wanna make sure it isn’t mastic.
I can do this but prior, I just want to discuss some potentials. 1) The marble was not completely dry prior to sealing. When sealing I trapped some moisture inside which has been turning the marble yellow or maybe causing a rust to build up. I tried to make sure the surface was dry but maybe some moisture was already absorbed in the marble. 2) The sealant is somehow trapping moisture inside the marble causing yellowing / rust. 3) Since it's near the edges of the shower only, I'm wondering if I damaged the caulk / grout during the polishing process and water is getting under the tile and causing the yellow to form.

Alright. What about anything else you’ve worked on in the shower at the same time you polished away those water stains...
2) After applying the sealer, did you polish the tile 100% dry or allow the wet tile to dry on its own?
After applying the sealer, I wiped it down with a yellow microfiber cloth until it appeared dry and then let it air dry for 48 hours before use.
3) Have you started using any different shower shampoos, gels, etc? No
4) Did you remove or add any grout anywhere? No
5) Did you see any pinholes in the grout? No, but I'm really sure how to detect a pinhole in grout. I've never dealt with grout before.
6) Did you remove or add to any of that corner caulk? After polishing, I replaced the caulk as shown in blue in the photos. The caulk was starting to peel so I was worried it wasn't effective anymore. I did this prior to sealing. The small blue circle overlapping with the red, I replaced that caulk more recently after the yellow starting showing.
7) Did you perform any work to the glass walls or shower door? Only the area in blue that I caulked.
8) Did you perform any other maintenance that you haven’t already mentioned? Right before sealing, I used a mold and mildew remover to clean the area. I wiped it with a microfiber cloth and then applied the sealer. I didn't wait a significant amount of time before sealing.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:43 PM   #8
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The evidence so far points to ongoing moisture infiltration that is oxidizing iron within the stone that's causing the discoloration. And I'm not referring to any residual moisture that may have been present when you cleaned/sealed. This is ongoing moisture...not a one time thing.

Okay, I'm trying to take everything into account when I ask these questions to narrow down your issue.

1) Do you have any idea of the shower's construction? I'm specifically trying to find out if you've got a traditional liner (looks that way from the drain you've got), or if some sort of surface waterproofing was done to the pan.

2) Do you know if the tile/grout was sealed before you started your work?

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Old 12-03-2017, 08:29 PM   #9
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1) Do you have any idea of the shower's construction? I'm specifically trying to find out if you've got a traditional liner (looks that way from the drain you've got), or if some sort of surface waterproofing was done to the pan.

I do not have any idea of the construction. The builder is David Weekley, not sure if you have heard of them. I can try contacting them and asking them for details. Do you still want me to try removing the mixer valve trim plate. I have not done this before but I can give it a shot.

2) Do you know if the tile/grout was sealed before you started your work?

Again, I'm not sure. I wish I was more help, but I'm not too handy of a person and this is my first home owner experience.

Thank you.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:56 PM   #10
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If the grout is also turning colors, then the problem is related to both the tile and the grout...which would point towards the setting material causing a problem. In that case, I would remove the trim valve to see if the setting material is mastic. But if the grout lines are remaining true, the setting material isn't as likely to be the culprit and I don't think removing the trim valve cover will help much.

I suppose you could ask the builder. But a ton of builders change their tile guys on a routine basis. Getting factual information on your specific shower construction isn't likely.

If this shower has been in existance for awhile and the staining just started, it's logical that something that just happened is responsible. Seems like either there is a problem with the moisture that gets below the tile assembly (mostly from the vast quantity of grout joints) from draining freely away or the process of sealing has slowed down a certain amount of moisture that used to escape freely from evaporation.

There has been a fair amount of talk on this forum among pros as to whether sealing stone on a shower floor is advisable. Trapping moisture is the concern.

Do you have access to a pin-less moisture meter?

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Old 12-04-2017, 08:04 AM   #11
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I do not, but I don't mind purchasing one if it's reasonably priced. I checked on Amazon and found this one: https://www.amazon.com/General-Tools...moisture+meter . Does this work or is there a product you recommend? Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:38 PM   #12
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All my experience with pinless moisture meters has been with a Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus that cost 10 times the one you linked to. It is outrageously sensitive and is meant to accurately measure the moisture content of things like hardwood for woodworking projects. It is too “much” of a tool for the simple detective work that we need it for. So, maybe that Stanley is fine.

The thing about using tools like this for detective work is that we don’t have a specific moisture content that can gauge a pass/fail test. Meters like this are great for telling us where one area is wetter or drier than another. The relative comparison is useful. It, may be that your pan has a perfectly proper and acceptable amount of moisture in it, but the meter senses too much moisture for its “measured range”, pegs the needle to the max, and beeps like crazy. If that were the case, this tool would be useless in your exploration. But if you move the meter around the pan and discover that the stained side of the pan is significantly wetter than the others, it will clue you in to a defective pan that’s holding water.

Are you anywhere close to southeast Wisconsin? I would consider stopping by with my meter in the off chance you are. I’d rather you not spend money, just to have the tool immediately not be helpful.

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Old 12-05-2017, 06:50 AM   #13
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Using white marbles in wet environments is just an issue that I see many times over. I have worked in 100 year old bathrooms w/ white marble that had not shown any signs of oxidation. I have seen 3 month old new installs that have oxidized on the face of the stone and or even the veining. Its just a matter of the composition of the stone and of course the specification of the material.
While in some cases we have been able to remove the rust(most not), as long as there was moisture in the mix the rust returned. I would make sure the change of plane joints are properly caulked and there is some ventilation or just leave the doors open. I think even sealing these installations can inhibit or slow down vapor transmission. Moisture will find its way into the stone and sealers may cause slower drying and more chance of oxidation occurring within the stone.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:57 AM   #14
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@Bubba I wish I were near Wisconsin, but I live a bit farther down the road, in Texas. I will purchase the cheaper meter and see if it provides any clues. If not, then I will consider the more expensive meter. I recently had a window leak that spread through the drywall due to the Harvey storm. I'm curious if the insulation / drywall has dried out or not. The more accurate meter would help with this detection as well.

@Stu Thanks for the reply. What sealer would you recommend for me? I just applied Impregnator Pro by StoneTech / Dupont but I'm doubting it's effectiveness since the yellowing started post application. Maybe I didn't apply it correctly. Bubba also mentioned there is a debate over whether sealers are effective for showers. Also, I already shower with the bathroom door cracked open. I also leave the exhaust fan on for an hour or so after showering. I've started using a squeegee to wipe the moisture off the marble. I am going to start using a towel as well to wipe off additional moisture. Anything else you recommend to expedite the drying process?
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:22 AM   #15
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@Stu I believe I misread your post. You recommend not to seal the marble floor, as it may slow down the water evaporation, correct? Also, in the cases you were able to remove the rust, what method did you use? I did some research and I was considering using a poultice made of Iron Out powder (Rust Remover) and water and applying for 24 hours, similar to the method described here: http://stoneandtilepros.com/kb/artic...cures-200.html
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