Maintaining Grout In The Northwest

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 24 April 2018 16:58

Chances are, if you are reading this then you're interested in new tile or natural stone installation or maybe you just had cleaning and/or restoration done?

There are a plethora of reasons for undergoing the job, even though the DIY route can be hard and finding a reputable grout specialist can be a job unto itself. Regardless whether it's new or used, if you want to maintain your tile and grout in the Northwest there are a few things to consider. 

The 5 most common trouble areas are:

1. Pool decks and outdoor patios

2. Around the bathroom sinks

3. Kitchen counters especially around the kitchen sink and stoves

4. Shower or tub surrounds

5. Heavy traffic areas such as entries and halls

One of the biggest challenges in the Northwest is dealing with the humidity. It can ruin a great home and adds many concerns to the list of to-dos for a homeowner.

Humidity means mold and mildew. These factors can significantly lower the value of a home and as more and more homes reach peak age in the market, it's likely that the return on investment is going to decrease. If you're selling then we need to save you from that single element and help you turn some profit. 

Water sources in many places in the Northwest come from well water. We all know this to be great for our health, but what about the health of your home? 

Well water contains microscopic minerals in the water, which adhere to the sides of tile and when water evaporates, leaves behind mineral particles, over time these particles build up and will cloud your glass doors and obscure the shine on your tile. These mineral deposits are actually as hard as a rock. To remove these once they are formed can be very challenging. The goal is to keep them from forming in the first place. 

Soap residue can build up with the aid of humidity especially after showering. Sometimes it feels like it's near impossible to remove with normal cleaning. The residue from soap scum and body oils can provide an ample source for bacteria and mildew to grow. The typical sign is of orange or pinkish discoloration in your shower stall.

Mildew and Bacteria are very common whether your shower is tile or glass. Mildew comes in several different colors; black, orange and red, the orange and red colors are often mistaken for rust stains. So watch out for these culprits!

Grout can incur damage from daily use too. Stains from food, wine, coffee, make-up, toothpaste, and oil are more than possible. Acids can also cause etching and damage to grout. Such culprits are acid-based cleaners and even the mundane: orange or tomato juice. If you are using an over the counter tile cleaning product, be sure to read the label and ensure it does not contain any acids.

Weather in the northwest, as stated before makes mildew and even moss hard on homeowners. Grout can become hard to upkeep outdoors so it's important to enact some regular cleaning to make sure these areas aren't losing their value. Though it can be rare, pools and outdoor patios that use tile must see some maintenance, especially since the sun won't be out often enough to scorch mold spores and other live acting buildups that enjoy the moisture. 

What we often don't realize is that the most obvious solutions are right at our feet. I'm still talking about grout. The stuff your tile is set in your kitchen or bathroom is good stuff. It's among the most sustainable materials in the renovation realm. Thus it's important to keep this stuff in good shape and protect it from the damages and wear and tear that can occur in the Northwest, and across the rest of the country. 

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Ryan T De La Rosa

Ryan De La Rosa is a writer living in rural Pacific Northwest. Hoping to get a feel for the United States' tiniest places and write about it too, he's bought a small RV and is set to travel to a new place every six weeks.

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