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Old 12-28-2011, 04:41 PM   #1
KHowe
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Tile Shower Maintenance...?

I'm writing to find people's experiences with tile shower maintenance. I've done some Google searches on the matter, and get sporadic answers. Many seem overly paranoid. Some say "thoroughly wipe down shower after every use". Is this actually the case??

I'm sorry for asking a question that can be answered in many different ways, depending on the homeowner's level of patience, but I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel and I need to go out and buy a tub so I can start tiling my floors. Thus, I need to decide if I'll be going with a tiled wall shower, or a surround kit.

I'd like to add resale, and beauty, in the bath with the tile. However, I admit I'd like to avoid something that's going to give me a constant headache!

I've asked this from other people, and I've been told to just rinse the shower walls with a detachable shower head after each use. Then once every week or two spray some cleaner on, then rinse the cleaner off. Also, get a bathroom vent fan. Is this about the jest of it? Or will I need to actually wipe the shower down completely after each use? How often would I need to scrub the grout with a toothbrush, etc?

Again, I'm sorry for asking something that can be answered so many ways, just seeing what peoples actual experience are. I'd really like to tile my shower, but want to know what I'm getting into!
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:23 PM   #2
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Kevin please add some information to your user profile just so we can see your level of expertise.

Thank you for choosing a tile product. That's how I put shoes on the grandkids big feet. What type of material were you planning on installing in your tub surround - ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass, something else? Porcelain would be the easiest to maintain with some natural stones being the hardest.

If you go with a natural stone or some very porous, absorbant ceramic tiles then cleaning and sealing on a regular basis is a must.

If you are concerned about grout then you can choose an epoxy or urethane grout over the traditional portland based grouts which will reduce maintence to hardly nothing. Just regular cleaning will suffice.

I suppose the least maintence would be porcelain with epoxy or urethane grout. Also to cut down on mildew - a big problem in my area - leave your shower door open after use so the return air can circulate to dry out your shower.

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:09 PM   #3
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Hi Kevin, Welcome!

Donnie gave you the gist of it. I'll add as I have my own points of view. A properly installed ventilation fan is always a good thing to have and use in a bathroom (especially to rid the room of excess humidity).

Solid surface enclosures also need maintenance. They can portray the same issues as any tile surface over time. The only issue, is they're not as durable to abuse (intentional or not).

Personally I love stone, but find porcelain and glass much more practical.

I recommend using a squeegee after use, but it's not required. It will increase the time interval between deep cleans.

Years ago I was unknowingly referred to a client who's house was built and tiled by my dad 20+ years earlier. I was called in to replace the 3 x 3 Japanese mosaic (4 tile pattern) white grout, with marble. The shower enclosure was immaculate. Not one spec of grout discoloration. Looked like the day it was installed. I asked how she kept it looking so good after all those years. She replied that she toweled it down every day. To me, that speaks volumes.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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Donnie/John,

Thank you both very much for the helpful replies. As for my exerpience in tiling, I'm certainly not as experienced as members of this board, that is for certain. I did however just finish tiling my kitchen. The site won't let me post pictures or links though, I assume this is because of my low post count?

It was a success thanks to the advice of people on this forum. My father and I did the work ourselves, thanks to all the information from this forum. I attempted to post the link to the thread from these forums that my father bounced ideas back and forth from members here, but the forum says I'm not allowed to have links in my posts.

It was our second kitchen tiling job we've done.

As far as shower tiling, this would be my first attempt.

I do not have anything picked out that is "set in stone" (no pun intended), so it sounds like I should start looking for porcelain tile. I had no idea about the differences in the grout, that is great information! It sounds like I should look for epoxy or urethane grout. Can this be found at the general Home Depot or Lowes? I assume I should go with a black grout, I'm guessing this will be even less maintenance than a lighter color.

John, that's fantastic on the shower still looking as good as new 20 years later. I must admit, I do not believe I will be having the patience to wipe down the shower after each use, though, which is why I want to be certain I've done my homework before venturing down the tile shower road.

Perhaps you can tell me if this is correct, but I asked a friend who is strongly recommending the tile shower, and his email response to my question on cleaning is:

Quote:
I just spray on the lysol and wipe clean with a cloth of some sort, then rinse with hot water. Ive never scrubbed the grout lines. I mean if you keep up with the minor maintenance, there shouldnt be need for major scrubbing - and by the time the grout is old enough to need that hardcore cleaning, the place will probably need to be demo'd and renovated anyway! The sealer stops things getting in in the 1st place so there are no issues.

Unless you live like a pig (sorry for the cliche) and never clean the bathroom i doubt there will be that much crud to get in there in the 1st place.
Another person suggested this:

Quote:
I have a three pronged approach to keeping my shower clean.

1) I keep the tub draining properly.

2) We switched to liquid soap with the poofs. Bar soap leaves scum.

3) I have a hand held shower head and every day I take literally two or three seconds and rinse the walls before I step out of the shower.

This, along with making sure you have a properly sized vent fan to keep mold from developing, and sealing the grout as directed, should make keeping tile clean a breeze.
What do you guys think? If I go with a porcelain tile and an epoxy grout, can I expect to be able to spray the shower down once a week, and just make sure to wash the walls before I get out during each use (and of course run a vent fan).
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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Hi Kevin

All good advice. I recommend against black grout. Anything in between that will compliment the tile will be a good choice.

Instead of Lysol, I've always recommended regular cleaning with a tile and stone specific neutral pH cleaner. My clients have been using products that I sell them from STT (Surface Treatment Technologies). I also use these products on my restoration projects. Good stuff!
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:22 PM   #6
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That's some good advice from John. A regular cleaning will keep the tile and grout looking good for years to come.

In my area the Lowe's sells laticrete Spectralock grout which is an epoxy grout. I don't know of any retail outlet for urethane. Agree with John, don't use black, especially black epoxy, unless you want be covered in it - it's quite messy! Epoxy grout takes some practice but I've seen DIY'ers do good work with it.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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Thank you guys for the help and information. I'm starting to become less timid at the thought of keeping this clean.

So it sounds like I won't need to be doing any toothbrush grout cleaning like I envisioned? Is that only for rare cases that would be a necessity?
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:35 PM   #8
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Hi Kevin

Yes, it will be necessary! (If you join the Marines.)
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:03 PM   #9
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i'll take that as a left-handed compliment, john.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:41 PM   #10
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Hi Jeff

Absolutely!

Plus personal experience.

Semper Fi!
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:57 PM   #11
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Back again!

Donnie/John, we had discussed natural stone being the most difficult in regards to maintenance. Now, I can certainly see this being difficult with all of the pits and groves in a natural stone. One of the local stores sells Travertine tiles that are "honed and filled" to give them a pretty smooth surface on the front of them. Would this eliminate the problems of a natural stone, or are the problems not just in regards to an unsmooth surface?

Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:28 PM   #12
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Kevin, yes, a smoother stone product should be a little less maintence issue than a rougher one, however, stone maintence goes way beyond smooth. Marble, travertine, sandstone, etc., although not very absorbent, for the most part, are very porous. This gives stuff plenty of places to attach itself and cause all kinds of cleaning issues. Not only that, these materials are very soft in relation to say, porcelain or granite, chemicals really do a number on their finish no matter how smooth or polished they might be.

For a time we were installing a lot of polished noche travertine vanity tops for a particular decorator. These tops were very smooth and had a pretty high finish to them but were nothing but maintence problems. I believe the bathroom shower and vanites are exposed to more dirt and chemicals (soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shampooing after a perm, after shave and the worst for a vanity - perfume, especially the spray kind) than the kitchen countertops ever see and the kitchen usually has the most resistant of natural stones - granite - especially the darker ones. (A dark granite will still will not approach the resiliency of a very good porcelain.)

So long story short, the smoother and more polished marbles and travertines should require less maintence than their counterparts but you will still have to be very deligent in your maintence to keep them looking decent.

Sorry for going around the world to answer your question.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:56 PM   #13
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Donnie,

Thanks so much for the detailed response. It always makes it easier to remember which are high and low maintenance when you actually learn something about them!! I appreciate the help. Looks like I'll be going with the porcelain or ceramic tiles as you had originally suggested. I'll just try to find one with that travertine "look".

Thanks again!
Kevin
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:51 AM   #14
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Hi Kevin

There are several companies that make porcelain honed travertine look a likes.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:25 PM   #15
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Hi all,

I must admit I don't get in here often, but it was almost as if my ears were itching.

For many years I've been recommending that people towel dry their tile shower each time it's used. Last one out sort of thing. I tell them that if they do that the shower will remain looking new virtually forever. I also tell them there is no other way to do it. If you leave water on things, including tile or stone showers, it will eventually ruin them no matter what grout is used and no matter what tile or stone is used and no matter what sealer is used. The same goes for glass shower enclosures.

Now that is my opinion. I have been in this business nearly forty years. I've never seen anything that works as well as my "system." Please don't hate me.
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