LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Jill who’s dealing with some issues in the shower. What’s going on in your bath?
JILL: Well, there are two things: mold on tile around the tub that I cannot get rid of; and before, I’ve had someone clean out the grout, regrout and caulk and it’s all returned.
TOM: OK, and what’s the second thing?
JILL: The other thing is there is a leak in the spout, the tub spout; on the knobs, too – on and off knobs.
TOM: OK. Well, the leak in the tub spout is stemming from the valve and you’re probably going to need to replace the valve seat, which is a minor plumbing project.
Let’s talk about the tile. The tile issue is because you have too much humidity and too much moisture in the bathroom and that’s why you had this mold problem with the grout and then you got rid of all of the grout and it came back. That’s because if you have water; soap scum; I hate to tell you but skin cells – there’s a lot of debris that gets stuck on the tile lines and it feeds mold.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and that’s all mold feed.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re not managing the moisture and the humidity in the bath that you generate with the shower, it’s just going to consistently feed that mold and you’re going to keep getting it back. Now, what you need to do is, obviously, clean with a bleach solution to get rid of the mold but also manage that moisture with a vent fan. Do you have one?
JILL: Yes, I do.
TOM: And the vent fan should be hooked up so that it runs for about 20 minutes after you leave the bathroom. Most people run it while they’re in the bathroom and then turn it off.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And then turn it off.
TOM: It ought to be on a timer.
LESLIE: You know, when it’s really – you jump out of that shower and then you open the door and now you’ve got the mix of the hot and cold and you get condensation and that’s when the moisture really becomes an issue, so you want that vent fan to stay on to help remove it.
TOM: Exactly. And in terms of the actual material that you use for the grouting – it might be too late for this now but let me mention to you that if you ever decide to saw away the old grout with a grout saw and regrout it again, you want to use a product that’s got a mildicide in it. LATICRETE is a big grout manufacturer and they have a product that’s got Microban in it, which is one of those mildicides that kills mold. And you also find it in certain types of caulk; like DAP has a caulk that’s got Microban in it. And those Microban-additive products are very, very mold resistant and it’s a lot less likely for it to grow back.
LESLIE: What about at this point, if she’s able to clean off all that mold from the existing grout; can you seal it at this point with a sealer that’s got …?
TOM: No. Well, I mean you could but you almost never get it that clean. If you got it really super-clean, then you could seal it with a silicone sealer and that makes it a little bit easier to care for in the future.
JILL: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jill. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
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