LESLIE: Marie in California needs some help cleaning. What’s going on?
MARIE: I have a couple of questions; not major home improvement projects but I have – in my hallway and master bathroom, we have travertine.
MARIE: It’s a natural stone, I guess?
MARIE: And couple of questions. I’m starting to get little pits in it; you know, like little nicks. And I’m wondering what’s causing that and how can we repair that? I know we can go back to the installer but is there anything I can do?
LESLIE: Well, travertine – probably the reason you’re seeing all these little nicks and dings and things happen to it is that, over time, it does need to be resealed and if it’s not resealed, it sort of – whatever sealant has been on there from the beginning is wearing away and now you’re sort of leaving everything that’s vulnerable in the flooring itself, you know, open to damage if you drop something or if you wear high heels. You know, it’s just natural wear and tear because natural stone, even though it’s very strong, when that sealant is gone, it really does have a hard time standing up to it.
There’s a great website called Stonecare International and their website is Stonecare.com. And there’s a whole section on that site for travertine; specifically for flooring. And there’s a product that they have called Bathroom Stone Floor Kit and it’s got a spray-and-seal; it’s got a disinfectant; it’s got a cleanser. So it comes with everything that you need to clean, maintain and then seal that floor.
MARIE: OK, great. It’s only been a year, so it’s not a long time. And this would be from …
TOM: Yeah, but you’ve got to stay on top of it and if you don’t, it definitely can pit and be something that – you know, it’s a natural surface; so it really does need some maintenance.
LESLIE: And even with granite countertops, which we have in our kitchen, every year we have to reseal it and if I skip a year just because I think, “Aw, I did it already,” sure enough I drop a pot or pan on it or something happens and I get a little ding right in one of those places where the granite was sort of shallow and they filled it with epoxy to sort of make everything even. You’ve really got to stay on top of natural stone.
MARIE: OK, great. And the other thing is tile. Do you recommend – you know, just for regular ceramic tile, what kind of cleaner do you recommend?
TOM: Well, with ceramic tile, usually the issue is the grout. And what we like to suggest is something called a grout stripper. It’s basically a heavy-duty cleaner; usually comes in a concentrate available at hardware stores and home centers. Typically, you have to mix it about one part grout stripper to about seven parts water. Then you scrub it with a stiff brush; you let it sit for up to about 45 minutes, keeping it wet. And then the trick of the trade on really getting it super-clean, Marie, is to try not to wipe it off. If you have a wet/dry vacuum, you can actually suck off the dirty water and that avoids it from going back into the grout lines. And then once you have it really, really clean and dry, then you want to apply a grout sealer to keep it that way.
MARIE: OK. OK, well great. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Marie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.