New Construction Techniques will Prevent Mold
By Torin Dixon
For existing stone installations, there isn’t much more you can do about Mold and Mildew other than Cleaning and Treating your stone with a Mold and Mildew Cleaner like HMK R60.
If you are building or remodeling, you can greatly reduce the incidence of Mold and Mildew by using newer technology in the underlayment systems. The premier installation system for stone and tile professionals is the Bonded Waterproofing products developed by Schluter Systems.
The primary advantage that Schluter Shower Systems offer is that it prevents the substrate under the tile and stone from getting saturated, which provides the breeding grounds for mold. The old Mortar Bed methods have worked for decades, but they are considered a moisture containment system, thus the mortar is often saturated while it directs fluid moisture to the weep holes in a drain. This is considered a ‘Wet in – Wet out’ system.
With the Schluter System bonded waterproof method, any moisture that may seep into grout (grout is NOT waterproof) is not saturating into a cement backer unit or mortar bed. Also note that tile Backer Board (WonderBoard, FiberBoard, etc) is not waterproof. Moisture can, and does saturate these backer units. Hopefully, if the tile/stone installer is competent, the backer board has a moisture barrier membrane behind it, and the shower pan is installed correctly with a ‘Pre-Sloped’ mortar bed, UNDER the shower floor setting bed. For more information about how these Bonded Waterproof systems work, click HERE
As a 36 year tile and stone veteran, and a working contractor for more than 28 years, I was a die-hard ‘Mud-Set’ guy. If installed properly, it does work, but it does stay moist, thus allowing mold to develop. After attending several training sessions developed by Schluter Systems, I am convinced that these modern materials are superior to 1940’s methods. To learn more about Schluter products, they offer many Technical Training classes around the country.
To learn more about Cleaning Natural Stone, see our articles HERE