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Unread 11-13-2011, 10:13 AM   #1
Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD
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OK to steam clean spectralock (and stone)?

I've built a shower using kerdi. I tiled it with pebble tiles and used spectralock grout (and lots of it). That experience is described in this thread (the last posting on the thread has a decent picture):
http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=79843

The shower tends to get some pink "mold" (which is actually not mold---it's a bacteria, but everybody seems to call it mold). I've tried a few cleaning agents that worked OK, but I could never seem to get it 100% clean. So, I bought a steam cleaner and that worked fantastically well (and it's easier than scrubbing too). I cleaned it about 3 weeks ago and it remains spotless. Other things I tried would never get it as clean, and the result would never last much more than a week.

So, my question is, is there any longterm problem with using steam to clean spectralock? Also, is the steam going to be a problem for the stone, which is sealed with a StoneTech product (Impregnator Pro, as I recall). Thanks.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 10:21 AM   #2
ceramictec
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Quote:
The shower tends to get some pink "mold" (which is actually not mold---it's a bacteria, but everybody seems to call it mold).
its the type of shampoo you use and the bacteria is eating the fatty acid in it.
you could change your shampoo to change that from happening.


I don't see Laticrete mentioning Steam cleaning so I'm thinking the long term will be bad.
In my gyms bathroom they have an epoxy (dont know what brand) and the cleaning crew
has steam cleaned and scrubbed it out of a lot of the joints.


http://www.laticrete.com/portals/0/tds/TDS400%20PRO.pdf


but when in doubt call Laticrete tech dept and ask.
and post here once you find out please.
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Last edited by ceramictec; 11-14-2011 at 11:18 AM.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 02:28 PM   #3
Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD
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Below is an excerpt from the SpectraLock data sheet found here:
http://www.spectralock.com/Portals/0...ts/lds6380.pdf

"Not for use in areas subjected to harsh chemicals, and/or no rinse or areas exposed to aggressive cleaning regimens (e.g. steam cleaning)."

Given this quote, it seems the answer is that it's not recommend. However, a home steam cleaning system (like the one I use) is a completely different beast than a professional steam cleaning system. The latter uses much much higher temperatures and pressures. So, my question really is whether anybody has experienced any problems when using similar steam cleaning equipment on SpectraLock or sealed stone. Even if you have no experience, I'd appreciate any thoughts on possible problems. Thanks.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 05:32 PM   #4
dhagin
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Mr Boob.

Call Laticrete tech department and describe what equipment you'll use, how & how often you'll use it. HD commercial steam cleaners are a no no.
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Unread 11-14-2011, 10:24 AM   #5
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epoxy & heat

Most epoxies start to soften at about 140°F. I would hope any kind of steam cleaner puts out higher than that. If you kept the wand moving fast enough then the surface temperature of the grout could be kept below 140°F, I suppose, but then how effectively would it clean?

The good news is that the epoxy will harden back up after the heat is removed. That bad news is that you may "set" a stain that could have otherwise been removed by other means.

Spectralock uses an epoxy emulsion which means that it contains water that is not consumed in a reaction. It eventually migrates out of the grout as vapor leaving behind tiny voids. Also, since it uses clear epoxy and colored sand, the surface tends to be very resin rich. So high heat can actually seal in certain stains.
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Unread 11-14-2011, 09:55 PM   #6
dhagin
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Hi Mike.

So Spectra Lock starts to soften at 140 F?
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Unread 11-15-2011, 09:28 AM   #7
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Dana,

That would be my guess. I haven't tested it but since most epoxies start to soften around 140 F and Spectralock is an epoxy, it is a pretty safe bet.

It is certainly not going to melt like candle wax, it is a thermoset polymer not a thermoplastic. And I am not knocking the product. I have used it in the past and I may use it again, it certainly has some attractive features. I was just addressing the question of exposing it to steam cleaning.
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Unread 11-16-2011, 07:42 PM   #8
justin savage
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We used a heat gun recently to remove some excess epoxy grout. It only takes a couple seconds with the heat gun and its ready to remove. I would be carefull with the steam cleaner - it sounds like Mike knows what he is talking about.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 03:14 PM   #9
chefwong
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Excellent thread. I have 2 commercial grade steam cleaners .....most people walk into it following those commercials on how they use it on tv. One has to use caution on what medium you are working with when using a steam cleaner ---- like cleaning your leather sofas !
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:11 PM   #10
dhagin
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Thanks all. I've had customers ask about using their non-commercial steam cleaners on Spectra Lock and deferred to Laticretes maintenance info.
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