LESLIE: Christine in Florida finds The Money Pit o WCOA. How can we help you today?
CHRISTINE: Well, we’ve lived in our house now just a short while. And the woman that we bought the home from had remodeled her bathrooms to accommodate a wheelchair. So the bathtub came out and she totally tiled in the area. (inaudible) the floors are tiled with a drain in the center and the tile running about six feet up the wall. What the problem is all of the grouting running from the top to the floor is now cracked open. And I want to know what’s the best thing to use there? Is there anything other than this soft caulking? Because I really – I live in Florida and if I could I’d like to be able to use the hand steamers that really attacks the mold and mildew.
TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, when you say the grout is cracked, are you talking about the seams?
CHRISTINE: At the seams. Correct.
TOM: OK. That’s a normal joint. What we would recommend there is a product called DAP with Microban. It’s a special type of caulk that has an antimicrobial additive.
TOM: And once you use this Microban based caulk, it’s not going to grow mold. Very easy to find and it has this Microban in it. So once you put it on it’s not going to be able to grow mold and therefore it won’t look nasty. It’ll just stay bright white the whole time.
CHRISTINE: Can I use steam cleaner for that? You know, these handheld steamers that …?
TOM: Yeah, you could use that. Sure. I mean it is soft but it has like a durable finish.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the benefit of it being a little bit soft is that it’s flexible so that if there’s any movement …
LESLIE: … again in the wall joint or where the floor is, it’s not going to crack apart. It’s going to stay there.
TOM: You have to have caulk there because you are going to have expansion and contraction in those areas. Now, when you put it on initially, make sure you clean the tile thoroughly; get it real bright and sparkly; then caulk it as the last step and that’ll stay nice for a long, long time.
CHRISTINE: OK. And I can put my steamer to it, too. (chuckling)
TOM: You can steam to your heart’s content. Christine, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.