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Marble Problems

Posted by Tamera Jones-Baxter on November 30th, 1997 05:52 PM

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My husband and I just built a custom home with quite a bit of marble and granite. We are pleased to a certain degree. The installer failed to inform us that the stone needed to be sealed. When I brought this to his attention, he sent someone over and, to my surprise, only the granite in the kitchen was done. I found a company that maintains and restores natural stone in the local phone directory.

I called them and asked that they provide a quote for maintenance. Prior to my call, I noticed that our Empress Green had something similar to blisters on them, several tiles in the entry way floor, and powder room walls. When the owner came by to give us a quote, I asked him what happened to our Green. He said that that the darker marble's are highly sensitive and he called it "spalling." He said that it was due to moisture seeping upward from underneath the tiles and that had epoxy been used during installation, it would have blocked the moisture. Does this make any sense? I looked at the extra tiles in our garage to see if any of them had the spalling and they didn't. They didn't have the etched or blistery touch or look, only silver specks throughout the tiles.

The installer said that he had never seen anything like it before and said that he used epoxy during installation. He sent a maintenance company to look at it and he told us that he couldn't determine what caused the etching. When I mentioned spalling, he didn't know what I was talking about. I'm concerned about this because I just received a quote from the installers referral and they want to charge $5,294.25 to clean, seal, recaulk, and polish the marble, granite, and ceramic tile.

My question, after all of this, is are you familiar with "spalling", is this a common occurrence with Empress Green, and is it usual for a house that's 4 month lived in to require re-caulking? The caulk has cracked and chipped away around the exterior of the master shower floor and jacuzzi tub. I've looked for Marble Maintain at the local Home Depot's and Home Base, however, they only carry Tile Lab's Stonewash. The housekeeper knows to use nothing on the stone but the Tile Lab so I cannot imagine what has caused the blistering effect. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

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