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Unread 01-20-2020, 07:57 PM   #1
Nice Job!
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Similar "stains"

We have a custom made shower stall — one-inch tiles (floor to ceiling, with dark gray grout) and a floor of small stones embedded in medium gray grout (or maybe mortar??) The grout and/or mortar showed discoloring similar to Dane's. I have taken them as mineral deposits. My wife is concerned that there is mold involved. We had hard water until about a month ago, so now I would like to move forward.
After lackluster results from vinegar and CLR, I successfully cleaned (the hard water deposits?) from the surface & cracks with muriatic acid and screwdriver-scraping.
I wonder about sealing the shower to help prevent the stains from reappearing as well as stopping mold growth.
Another site seems to be recommending a penetrating sealer over the whole floor — stones included? I am wondering if the sealing of the floor might make it too slippery (it may not be critical since the bumpy texture of the stones may keep us safe). I expect that I should also seal the joint of the wall/stone floor pan with silicone caulk before treatment. There are cracks along the wall at the bottom and along the floor, but in six years of us using this shower, there is no sign of leakage anywhere outside or below the shower. I am tempted to use a heavy bead of silicone just to help move water away from the wall. BTW, the floor does not have perfect drainage so there usually are a couple of small puddles after each shower. Might this be a determining factor in product and application choice? How dry do we have to be between steps?

Thank you for your input!
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Unread 01-20-2020, 09:33 PM   #2
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Welcome, Evan.

I've separated you from the other visitor's thread to avoid confusion on both projects.

A photo or two of what you're looking at would almost certainly be helpful. Use the paper-clip icon above the reply dialog box to attach photos from storage on your computer.

A description of the specific tile you have would be helpful and the actual grout you have, very specifically, if known would also be helpful.

Before we go any further I'd like to very, very strongly recommend you cease using that muriatic acid in your shower. Its fumes are not only very harmful to humans and pets, but can also degrade the finish of many metal objects in the room. And the acid has already seriously deteriorated your grout if it is cementitious. Please stop doing that.

In general I'm gonna say that a penetrating sealer will do nothing at all to prevent or even slow the formation of hard water stains on your tile or grout.

Let's see what you've got and perhaps one of our more knowledgeable chemical people will have some insight for you.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-21-2020, 11:22 AM   #3
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Many Thanks

Thanks for the welcome and the input!
The acid: I used vent fan and charcoal respirator while using and rinsed well several times- recognizing that if it is the only thing that works on this build-up then it must be treated with respect and caution. You say that the acid has already damaged the grout, esp if it is cementitious....I thought all grout was cementitious. what damage do you think has been done?
Sealing: I do not know what to expect or hope for in sealing the grout except to make peace with my wife.
Photos: the white stuff I removed from the floor did not get a 'before' photo IIRC but you can see a little of it remaining in a crooked like along some rocks and in the wall grout lines. You can also see some darker parts of the grout that is the suspected mold.
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Unread 01-21-2020, 12:35 PM   #4
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The dark grout lines in the green tile sure looks like mold to me, Evan.

Did you spray any common mold and mildew cleaner on it first? If yes, did it lighten the dark lines at all?

Any idea what is behind the tile - the type of wall board?
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Unread 01-21-2020, 01:45 PM   #5
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some progress

Thanks Dan. My wife said she used "CLR Mold and Mildew" with results as shown. I used it again this morning, letting it soak, and it seems that the mold stains are much improved (not gone, but much better!)

The question remains regarding sealing the floor (and wall) grout. Moderator seemed to discourage it. "FlooringGirl.com" hails grout sealer as required. hmmm. I think another fair concern re: sealing the stones is that it may look foggy at first then peel away. neither are obviously desirable.

regarding wallboard: I used to think (assume) it was durock, but the flexibility of the wall and the way the tile ends outside of the shower, makes me wonder if its just drywall under the tile. Should have looked before I started the repair to the wall on the other side of the shower. no issues yet (six years of our use with a couple years before that with previous owners [and remodlers]) What might be your concerns, Dan?

still thankful for www forums (what did we do years ago?)
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Unread 01-22-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
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Hi Evan,

I'm one of the guys recommending to not seal the shower floor. I am also one of the guys who strongly recommends wiping the entire shower down and drying it with a towel each time it's used. Doing so prevents most of the mold, stains, etc., that can occur in a tiled shower.

As to what's there now, continue scrubbing, and begin drying the shower after using it,
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Unread 01-22-2020, 12:46 PM   #7
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My concern, Evan, is that if the wall board behind the tile is wet it could keep the grout wet and thus encourage mold growth. Your mention of flexibility is troublesome to my mind, as there really shouldn't be any obvious movement.

Are you saying you can push a bit on sections and easily see movement?
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Unread 01-22-2020, 06:50 PM   #8
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A penetrating sealer won't peel off like a sealed piece of wood would do. It's designed to stop food stains and to allow the surface to breathe.

I think damage from the acid depends on how strong it was used. If you used it full strength then you likely did some damage. Used too strong, the acid will eat away the cement in the grout leaving the sand behind. Like others said, I wouldn't use it inside.
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Unread 01-22-2020, 07:33 PM   #9
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I, too, discourage sealing in a shower. Sealer is meant to buy you a little time after the porous grout (sometimes the tile, as well) to clean s potentially staining liquid before it dries and becomes a permanent stain. But what are you going to spill in the shower that could potentially stain? So, that’s a reason not to use sealer.

And sealing does not stop moisture penetration into the tile assembly. Yes, initially, you may see temporary signs of beading water. But that’s not permanent. But it slows down the moisture transfer. While that might seem like a good thing, the bad thing is that it slows down the drying out of the tile assembly. On floors with some natural stones, the moisture that can’t quickly escape manifests itself as a darkened damp spot. Super uggo! Not to mention the harboring of moisture contributing to mold.

Grout sealing in a shower essential? No, definitely not!

Grout sealing in a shower potentially harmful? Yep, sometimes.

The benefits of not sealing outweigh that of sealing.

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Unread 01-25-2020, 03:02 PM   #10
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new floor solution?

Wondering what you all think of me putting a new layer of concrete on top of the floor. We are hoping to have a surface that is better draining and easier to clean. Do you think this is possible, and with what product exactly (something that can be laid with a slope and be thin at the drain and sloped up the wall an inch or so, and not crack?) Should I be concerned about adding a layer that is too thin (at the drain especially) or is that not a real issue because we would be laying it over a pre-existing surface that does not seem to move? We're talking about 8 square feet here.
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