LESLIE: David in New York needs some help in the bathroom. What’s going on?
DAVID: In my stall shower that’s tile floor, tile walls and a – I guess a plaster ceiling …
DAVID: … I have a terrible problem with mold and mildew buildup; especially in the corners, along the grout, even in the joints between the tiles on the floor. I’m not sure what else I can do to get rid of it or, even more importantly, how to prevent it. We do have a ceiling fan in the bathroom. We use …
LESLIE: A venting fan or an actual ceiling fan?
DAVID: Sorry. Actually like a venting fan.
TOM: Well, there’s a couple of things you could try. First of all, when you leave the bath in the morning, after the shower, do you typically turn the fan off behind you?
DAVID: Yes, we do.
TOM: OK. What you might want to do is put this on a timer – and there are different types of circuits and different types of fans that work this way – where it’s basically based on an occupancy sensor, and after you leave the bathroom or turn the lights off, the bath vent fan stays on for another 10 or 15 minutes to vent out any remaining moisture. Because you know most of the time, when we’re done with our showers in the morning, we open the door; all the steam pours out and as soon as the cold air comes in, it starts to condense on all of the surfaces more so –
LESLIE: And then everything gets wet.
TOM: – yeah – even than it did when you were actually doing the showering itself because it chills it down and all the moisture comes out of the air.
The other thing that you could do is we could talk about – you mentioned the tile, where it is meeting the floor, and I suspect that that grout is probably caulked in that area. Is that correct?
DAVID: It had what the tile guy called a cosmetic caulking (Tom and Leslie chuckle) …
DAVID: … and under the cosmetic caulking there is the grout where he – it’s a relatively – it’s a brand new shower.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Cosmetic caulking. I like that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, what I was going to tell you is – yeah, cosmetic caulking. Didn’t know there was any other kind, right? (David chuckles) Cosmetic caulking; that’s a good one.
TOM: Well, what I would suggest is you get the cosmetic caulk that actually has an antimicrobial additive to it. DAP has one that has something called Microban in it that’s very effective and it absolutely will not grow mold. And the other thing is that you can also buy grout that has antimicrobial additives in it as well. LATRICRETE is one of the grout manufacturers that also has Microban in it and if you use the antimicrobial caulks and antimicrobial grouts, you are far less likely to have any type of mold buildup in those areas and it’ll stay a lot cleaner.
LESLIE: Would you then seal that grout even though it still has antimicrobial properties in it or do they sort of cancel each other out?
TOM: I don’t know that I would seal bathroom grout. I would probably seal the floor grout. I may not seal the wall grout.
DAVID: OK, great. Thank you so, so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.