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Our Caulking Services Turned This Drab, Aged Stone Shower in Manhattan into an Elegant, Modern Space

November 17, 2017


Cleanliness is a serious issue for most homeowners. They love to proudly show off their impeccable homes to friends and family. But we all know how hard it is to preserve the appearance of a house, especially when the owners have busy schedules like this working mom who had seen how her shower had become dingy over the years. Even though the woman had always tried to keep it clean and in good condition, the shower was showing severe signs of deterioration: mold, mineral deposits, soap scum, dirt buildup, and crumbling grout and caulk. The woman felt frustrated because she had tried all sorts of products, but nothing seemed to work. Just when she was running out of hope and started thinking about replacing her shower, she came across Sir Grout New York, a company that offers caulking services in Manhattan.

Before and After Picture of a Caulking Service in Manhattan, NY
Getting to Know the Client
Like most New Yorkers, this woman's schedule was very busy. She lived in Manhattan with her husband and four children. The couple decided to move there a few years ago because they loved the city's lifestyle. They knew they had to look for a house that was both functional and attractive. But their house-hunting expedition was over the moment the woman saw this elegant, reddish stone shower. She knew that stone was a tough material that could withstand years of use with minimal maintenance. They bought the house and moved in, convinced that it was their fairy-tale home. However, the truth is that poorly maintained stone surfaces can become a nightmare.

Stone Surfaces: Characteristics and Common Mistakes
Taking a stone surface's durability for granted is a common mistake among homeowners. Stone is a tough material. It can withstand many years of wear and tear if it is properly maintained. Even the maintenance routine that needs to be followed can vary from one type of stone to another. Therefore, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the stone you have installed is very important for preserving its surface.

The stone in this shower mainly contains calcium carbonate. This type of stone is prone to chipping, cracking, and staining. Plus, it is susceptible to etching when exposed to acid.

Before and After Picture of a Floor Caulking Service in Manhattan, NY
Consequences of Incorrect Maintenance Routines
The homeowner had used several different kinds of products and techniques, including some do-it-yourself solutions that seemed to make the shower worse. She thought the only solution was to replace the entire surface. Fortunately, she came across Sir Grout New York on the internet. They visited our website, did a little bit of research, and then scheduled a free in-home consultation. During the consultation process, our hard surface experts would determine the causes of the damage and come up with a plan to restore the surface.

Our Team's Assessment
On the day of the assessment, our specialists arrived at the client's house. The homeowner showed them the shower right away. The experts asked some questions about her cleaning routine. The woman told them that she had used several products to try to eliminate the grime, but the bathroom had begun to fade, and the grout lines had begun to crumble. The team asked her if she had used any acidic solutions on the shower, and the woman said she had, adding that she also had used a steel wool scrubber and a lot of water.

Main Causes of Damage
The team explained that acids can cause a chemical reaction in the stone's calcium carbonate. These acids dissolve the stone and leave etch marks. The surface's dullness was caused, in part, by the etch marks. Acid-based cleaners can come in handy in some situations, but it is best if they are applied by professionals, as they know the proper concentration, timing, and handling of chemicals. Also, soap-based cleaners leave behind a film that can create a brownish, waxy layer of grime if mixed with dirt. Furthermore, steel wool scrubbers are not recommended as they can harshly scratch the stone. Finally, hard water is rich in minerals, which can migrate to the surface when the water evaporates, causing efflorescence and mineral deposits.

The team also noticed that the grout was chipped, aged, and crumbling, which could lead to water damage. Grout is necessary when installing ceramic and stone tiles. It is used to fill in the spaces between tiles. However, grout is highly porous and allows liquids to permeate its surface. Such seepage can damage grout by penetrating the surface and getting under tiles. It can even lead to tile detachment.

Another important material to keep in mind is caulk. Caulk is thicker than grout, and it seals the seams between tiles and wedge-shaped joints like bathtubs, sinks, backsplashes, and angle joints.

Multistep Procedure
After explaining the causes of the damage, our specialists told the owner that the shower required a multistep procedure. First, they would deeply clean the surface. Then they would repair the grout, remove the old caulk, and apply new caulk. Finally, they would apply a color enhancer. Our homeowner agreed, and they set a new a date to get to work.

  • Thorough Cleaning
  • A few days later, our specialists came back and got started. First, they used a series of appropriate, stone-safe cleaning products and a high-speed, gentle scrubber to remove the dirt from the surface. The team also used vapor steam cleaning on the most difficult areas.

  • Grout Repair
  • Once the stone was clean, our specialists repaired the crumbling grout. They used epoxy grout, which is thicker than regular grout. Epoxy grout does not need any sealant and is ideal for areas that are constantly exposed to water and moisture like showers. Epoxy grout comes in different colors and shades, which allowed the homeowner to choose a shade that matched the stone tiles. This product prevents water from penetrating the surface and causing water damage.

  • Replacing Caulk
  • The third step consisted of removing the old caulk and applying a new layer of caulk. Our technicians used epoxy caulk. This thick sealant closes any gap or crack left in the angle joints. It completely blocks the seepage of water and any other liquid, keeping the surface dry and safe. Epoxy caulk also comes in several colors, enabling the homeowner to match the caulk lines with the grout. This step is key to preserving any tile surface.

  • Stone Sealing
  • Next, our professionals applied a protective layer of impregnating sealant on the stone. Impregnating sealants close the stone's pores from within to prevent the absorption of liquids. This kind of sealant is also called a color enhancer, as it brings back the deep, natural colors of the stone and revives the entire surface.

Another Successful Outcome
When our specialists finished, they showed the homeowner the outcome. The woman couldn't believe how vivid the colors were. She thanked the team and said we had exceeded her expectations—the shower looked even better than when it was installed.

Care and Maintenance Tips
Before leaving, our team gave the client some recommendations on how to maintain the surface. They told her that it was important to keep the surface as dry as possible and use a sponge or squeegee to remove excess water. They also told the owner that it was necessary to ventilate the shower to prevent humidity from damaging the surface again. Our technicians advised her to use a stone-safe, pH-neutral, soapless cleaner to clean the surface on a regular basis.

Contact Us!
If you are looking for caulking services or any other hard surface restoration services in Manhattan or the surrounding area, call us at (718) 514-6016 or fill out the "Request a Quote" form on this page to schedule a free evaluation. If you want to follow our work and keep up to date with our promotions, find us on Facebook at Sir Grout of New York, Twitter @SGNew_York, and Instagram @SirGrout.

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