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Unread 09-20-2009, 11:43 PM   #1
jondon
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White Carrara Polished..... suggestions

Have a couple questions on white cararra marble, polished. Never used this particular color before so looking for suggestions. Project is in progress but looking ahead. Master bath floor and shower. Bout 400 sq. ft. First I want to clean the marble, seal it, then grout, then seal the grout. When I say clean it I don't mean the joints, I clean out the joints as I go. Before I seal the marble what should I use to clean it, just water? Question on this marble, when it gets wet its white, so by sealing it I assume it won't do this once it gets wet in the shower. Will the sealer stop it from absorbing water I assume? I know the homeowner does not know what color grout she wants to use, I am doing two sample boards to show her one in white and one in silver shadow(both laticrete) ,,,can anybody make any suggestions, the white is safe but it is in a bathroom. Silver shadow matches the gray nicely so I am unsure which to push for her to use. Will be using non-sanded, did a test with the SpectraLock on the marble and wasn't happy with the result, did seal the marble beforehand. It looked like it took away some of the polish. I will be sealing the marble and grout with Aqua Mix Gold which I use regularly.

Sorry I have so many questions but wanted to keep this one project under one thread thanks and looking for one a you stone guys or gals who have used this particular marble, thanks!

Pic of this project is in the "Input on the Tuscan Leveling System" thread.
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Unread 09-21-2009, 06:45 AM   #2
Davestone
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I would use a neutral stone cleaner.I like to kep the grout as close to the color of the stone as i can to reduce the problem of pigment migration and the natural pits of the stone collecting grout, which may have happened to your epoxy grouting.The main purpose of sealers is to help prevent the absorption of stains,somewhere along the line people assumed it would waterproof the stone,but it's not the claim of any impregnating sealer.Although it should reduce the absorption of water greatly.
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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:45 AM   #3
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Hi Jon

Personally, I would hold off sealing the polished Carrara until after it is installed. The grout will add moisture to the edges of the stone (and naturally darken) that will need to evaporate. Sometimes this takes over a week depending on the humidity in the house. Sealing will slow this drying process down (even though it does allow vapor transmission.

Either grout color will work. It's possible that the epoxy grout either left a film or lightly scratched the surface.

The purpose of the sealer is not to waterproof a surface. It is designed to impregnate and make the surface stain resistant. It will not prevent marble & limestone from etching.

Presealing your marble may assist in resistance to alkaline burning that sometimes occurs during grouting more sensitive marbles.
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Unread 09-21-2009, 12:01 PM   #4
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Hello Dave and John,

Thank you both for your inputs, I was under the wrong impression with sealer making the marble waterproof but it will help. Yes I am installing all of the marble before I do anything, once it is all installed I will clean it and seal it before I grout it. I ask about cleaning it because I don't want to seal in any water stains. The floor is installed and working on the shower which will take the rest of the week. Dave, you say neutral stone cleaner, I will look for something by Aqua Mix, I use they're products. I still have to do the silver shadow grout sample, so I am thinking this will be closer to the color of the marble, even though they call it white cararra, its more gray. Looks white when its wet. Customer will have to ultimately decide, just like to give her options with a visual.


John are you saying to not preseal the marble before I grout, gonna use non-sanded.

thanks both of you for taking the time to help me!
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Unread 09-22-2009, 12:42 PM   #5
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Question Sealant on the SIDES of 3/8" polished marble tiles?

I'm adding my closely-related question into this Thread.

Bathroom wall (not shower). Most of it is ceramic tile, but I've cut a some marble tiles into 2x12" segments for use as listellos. Segments are already ground/polished and then oxalic-acid rubbed into an amazing, gorgeous shine. Per above, though, I have a sealant question: Should I put sealant on the SIDES of the 3/8" marble "listello" pieces, in order to prevent that "alkaline burning that sometimes occurs during grouting more sensitive marbles" mentioned above? Or will that harm the adhesion of grout to tiles? I'm using Polyblend unsanded. My marble is highly veined, with pink/red/brown tones in an "ivory" substrate.

- - - - -
OT: In case anyone sees "bad choices" in my other product selections, please let me know. Flexbond mortar; Aldon SBS sealant (claims to be purely a sealant on marble, when wiped off properly; NOT leaving a layer of dirt-prone "wet look" gunk on top); and Aldon's "Grout Easy" on the tile faces. I will be testing Grout Easy and SBS on some scraps, but if you already know this to be a bad choice for marble, then please jump in and let me know. I'm going with flexbond because we've had a lot of earthquakes recently, in the 3.0-4.0 range.
Here's my thanks in advance for any replies!
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Unread 09-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #6
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sealant on sides of listellos

Hello Rick,

I see you have some sealant questiosn as well. Here is what I have learned about the sealing aspect on the polished marble like your listellos. Putting the sealant on the sides of the polished marble may slow down the drying process of the grout so I am not using it on the marble. As for your sides, aren't they getting grout in them, between the listellos so you shouldn't see much of the sides at all. When grouting keep the grout in the joints not smearing it all over the whole listello.

As for your choice of products I personally have never used any of them so I can't help you there.
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Unread 09-22-2009, 03:34 PM   #7
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Jon, thank you!

sides == grout joints. (As you figured out, I will have no exposed sides.) My concern would be permanent stains from that alkaline burn issue (as a result of grout) reaching up to the front face, visible, near grout lines. One thing's for sure, though: surrounding the tub platforms, the cement backer-board is waterproofed (via paint-on HydroBan). So, if I seal ahead of time, the only way for moisure to get out is through the 1/8" lines of grout itself.

So I'll seal AFTER I put those Listellos up, if at all. That "drip some water, see if any color change occurs at all" sounds like a great test, and I'll be doing it when I get home.
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Unread 09-22-2009, 06:04 PM   #8
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you got a good plan!

Rick,

Sounds like you got it done right, Hydroban is a great product! Good choice,
and one more thing about the grout. Give the grout about a week to cure, after that you can grout again over the first application of grout, that is if its not high enough towards the top of the tile. Grout always settles, and in some cases it is possible to regrout especially when its your own home, convenient. The grout will bond together. Just make sure to seal the grout after the second application not the first. You may not need a second application, just "grout for thought!" Post some pics when your done, I'd like to see what you did with the listellos!
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Unread 09-23-2009, 05:56 PM   #9
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Jon, I didn't think of that! (re-grout to fill in lost height later)

kewl idea, I'll do it. I'll be grouting via the "pastry bag" method, rather than smearing a big float all over my fancy marble listellos. As you suggest, I'll give it a full week (after the second layer) before sealing. We have a second Bathroom, no need to "rush" this one.
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Unread 09-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #10
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first of all, Carrara is not really a good stone for a shower. It has a high iron content, and once oxidation starts, it usually doesnt stop. Thus turning the white stone brown/orange.

not saying this is what WILL happen, but this is the risk with using this in a shower.

second, Carrara is one of those weird stones that no matter how much you seal it, you will still get some penetration and grey shadowing.

personally, I wouldnt bother sealing, but thats just me. its not going to hurt it if you seal it and it will help repell liquid soaps and such.

third, you want to educate your client, or yourself. a sealer will not really prevent much on this stone. hard water alone can etch it, and it can be diffucult to refinish being on a vertical surface.

just know what to expect, and the difference between staining and etching.

not the things you want to hear, but thats the way it is.
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Unread 09-23-2009, 11:44 PM   #11
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Hi Jon

I found your post of your shower install. I have a couple of concerns. Primarily is the lack of surface waterproofing below the surface of the stone. Second, I like to see the walls overlap the bench.

Carrara stone can be more problematic with rust staining when drywall screws are used instead of CBU screws, excess moisture retention below surface exists, and improperly maintained surface (not squeegeed, improper ventilation, etc.).

Sealing after your installation will help, but regular maintenance with a neutral pH cleaner, and drying the surface will be key to be to a long lasting installation. Occasional restoration may be in order over the years, and if rust staining does occur (as Cameron mentioned), there's not much that will be able to be done (except replacement).
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Unread 09-24-2009, 06:39 AM   #12
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Shower surface is waterproofed

Thank you Cameron and John!

Yes education is important, at this point it is too late to make any changes. This is what the customer wanted and I don't have any experience with cararra marble, I have used other marble but never in a wet area. When she ordered it from the tile distributor this may have been a time for them to educated her as well if they had knowledge she was using it in a shower, or maybe they didn't know either or she didn't tell them.

John, as for the lack of waterproofing. This Finpan 1/2" backerboard is waterproof as stated in the specs except for the seams and washer/nail holes. So actually it is overdone. I chose the second method to do all the seams and washer/nail holes with fiberglass mesh tape and hydroban so I actually did more than I had to. So the seams are all taped and waterproofed with two coats of hydroban.

I will recommend for her the neutral pH cleaner and to keep the area as dry as possible. Thank you both for your knowledge, guess I should have asked these questions when she first spoke of using this particular marble for the area but I just didn't think of it. I feel the tile distributor too should be responsible for making recommendations as well since they are selling the product and usually asking the customer where it is gonna be used since they are making money off the customer by selling it to them. in the end I guess it will come back on me, if problems occur I will replace the shower for her and use something else cause thats the way I roll....lol This customer is a really good friend and I gave her really good prices on labor but I will take the responsbility for the installation, thats why we carry liability though once I make a claim they'll drop me.

This is how I have always learned, by making mistakes but at least when we make a mistake and get guidance from people like yourselves we better ourselves by having the proper education, thanks again for your knowledge and expertise!

Yes John, the overlapping on the bench. Here is why I did that. The bench was to accomodate 12" for the marble to go on top of the bench, which would mean it actually should have been 11 1/2" because the piece has to go out over the other piece of marble coming up the vertical surface of the bench so I had to run the marble down like that. I would normally overlap it like you said but here again I got to go with how the contractor did it and do it the best way I could. The bench top will have proper slope if that is any consolation.
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Last edited by jondon; 09-24-2009 at 06:46 AM.
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Unread 09-24-2009, 08:22 AM   #13
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Hi Jon

Neither Cameron nor myself want to come off as critical, but to help educate yourself, as well as other pros and consumers (end users).

With the products you used, it sounds like your headed in a good direction (though I'll have to research the Finpan).

Now it's in the hands of your client to properly maintain.
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Unread 09-24-2009, 04:54 PM   #14
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Yes John I agree, education is always important. You can only take it as that as constructive criticism which I have never minded. When you don't have experience with something you ask people who do like yourself. Yes, the Finpan 1/2" Pro Panels are waterproofed and used galvanized nails with washers, bought from Finpan. No screws were used and I have always used cbu screws, when I do use screws in dry or wet areas. I wanted to follow the instructions given by finpan for the wet area and chose the #2 method of waterproofing as stated in my last post.

The reason I decided to use the Finpan EZ Panels for this installation was because of the height of the shower and these panels are very light. I tried to get info on this site and only one person had used them. He didn't want to share any info, I was looking for tips on do's and don't on using this since I had never used it. Here again I had to learn on my own because some people don't want to share knowledge. The guy at the tile distributor said use the nail/washer combo instead of the washer/screws and so glad someone shared some information.

So yes once I finish it, I will let her know of what she needs to do to keep it clean, dry and maintenance. If those problems occur that you and Cameron stated at least it won't be a mystery to me. I will always appreciate anyone who is willing to take the time to educate, I can't educate others if I don't know myself. Thanks again for your input!
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Unread 09-25-2009, 10:53 PM   #15
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Bare tile tested, sealant not needed.

My wall-mounted Listellos, "Rosa Morado", won't absorb either water or oil into the final "mirror-like" finish I've put on them. Not after 5 minutes, not after 10 minutes, and not after even 15 minutes. (I ground my bevels and faces to P3000 grit, and then polished with oxalic acid chamois cloth for a few moments, in order to reach the "final" luster I wanted.)

So I'll skip the sealing in this case.
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