The maintenance of your shower tile in your house probably is about as interesting as rearranging your sock drawer. However, if you are the person who is tasked with the job of keeping that tile clean, you may find this post as fascinating as the latest Grisham novel.
Rand Soellner Architect is always looking for ways to give his clients more leisure time and less maintenance. If you happen to be one of the lucky people living in one of his custom houses, and you and your contractor followed his specifications for the special tile systems he indicates in the showers of his residences, then you will understand. This is because Soellner specifies a unique tile setting bed and tile grout that makes it impossible for mold to grow on it.
Mold, like all organic living things has to have space in which to live. Mold likes porous surfaces like normal tile grout, which is called Portland cement. Water is a key ingredient in this normal grout. Unfortunately, as with all water-based systems, the water eventually evaporates, leaving millions of microscopic gaps between the cement. The result? Tiny little “caves” into which mold can grow, quite happily, until you come along with a toothbrush and bleach and try to scrub them away.
The problem: you really can’t get down into all of the tiny pores in the normal Portland cement grout, no matter how hard you scrub. The pores are smaller than the bristles on the toothbrush you are using. And hey, isn’t that a load of fun? Bending on hand and knee, scrubbing back and forth along all those tile joints, desperately trying to clean away all that mold?
There is a better way: Rand Soellner Architect specifies an epoxy setting bed and tile grout that uses no water, therefore, there is nothing to evaporate. When the mix hardens, it is what it is: totally inert, totally solid, with no little pores in which mold can grow. Does this tile setting bed and grout cost more than Portland cement? Of course. But not much, when you consider the total cost of your house and the hours and hours of back breaking work it will save you over the decades. This is just one of the ways Soellner strives to create residential designs that give his clients less maintenance than the average house. This is another reason why clients may want to consider engaging Rand Soellner rather than buying someone else’s “normal” house. Lower Maintenance is a great reason to engage a residential architect to design your house.