severe calcium build up 3 12

This is an incredible picture of the most aggressive calcium build-up I’ve ever seen in a marble shower.  I was called to this residence in San Ramon with the homeowner complaining of “white stuff” on her shower floor.

When I got there I was—can I say it?–floored by the extent of the calcium that had “grown” like a tumor into her tiles.  The homeowner was concerned that this was going to be a structural problem since this is the master bathroom shower and it is on the second floor of the house.

The good news is that she had no water leaking from the shower to the first floor–meaning that the shower pan is water tight.  This shower pan was hot-mopped with tar so water seepage out of the pan and into the floor joists is not a problem.  The bad news is that she waited too long!  I mean, WAY too long, to address the problem.

The reason this happens has to do with the mortar bed below the tiles and water seeping in at the junction of the wall and the floor pan.  Many times, calcium build-up will manifest around the drain collar (the iron part of the drain below the level of the plate) and we will see this as well.  The water gets into the mortar bed and then, as it rises up to evaporate, the water brings salts and calcium with it.  Because the marble is calcium based, it triggers a happy- bonding-calcium-party with the existing tiles–kind of like plaque building up on your teeth.

I gave her two options:

1) She can have the deposits ground down, the floor honed to as even a surface as we can get. After this process the floor can be sealed and caulked.  In most cases of less severe build-up, this is the best, most economic option.

2) She can have the tiles replaced.  This seems to be the best option for this severe case.  This is slightly more expensive, but, because the pan still holds water and is not damaged, is probably her best option.  We also recommend that she seal and caulk after this work is done to prevent this from happening again.

If you see white calcium deposits on your floor, call Appleby immediately to remove them.  We’ll then seal and recaulk the floor pan to stave off the Calcium Beast in your Bathroom.