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Anchor subfloor before adding tiles

Q. I live in a condo and recently had my carpet pulled up, plywood put down, and then tile added on top in my master bath dressing room. After six months, the grout in the upper area began to crumble and came out.

The tile man came back and grouted the area again. He does not know why it is happening; there was no water leakage. Now it is happening again in the same area. The tile man has 25 years experience and came highly recommended. Can you offer some advice?

I’d probably blame the plywood used as the underlayment. If it wasn’t properly anchored to the joists, there might be enough give in it that when you walk on it, the grout gets loosened, even if the tiles are in solid.

I put down exterior plywood once as underlayment for tile, but I used drywall screws to anchor it to the joists and the flooring underneath. I prefer Durock or other kinds of cement board as underlayment – again properly anchored.

Q. A few months ago, you mentioned cleaning shower stalls and referred to a “shower spray,” but I don’t believe you mentioned what exactly it was.

I have tried everything on the market as well as homemade concoctions to get the film off of the fiberglass walls (It is sort of a ripply plastic material on two sides and then tile on the other two sides), with no luck. What did you use?

It is something called Method Daily Shower, and I found it at Target.

The trick to keeping anything clean is to do it every day – something I picked up when I interviewed Don Aslett, the “Don Juan of the John,” back in 1997.

“You know why the restrooms at Santa Anita Racetrack are cleaner than most home bathrooms?” he asked. “Because the cleaning people are at it all the time. They get in there and wipe the toilets and the sinks and disinfect, and they’re out in no time.”

The point is that when you let cleaning the shower glass and tile go for a month, you have to spend a lot of time and energy cleaning it when you get to it.

Spray every day. If you don’t, and the shower stall glass won’t respond to the Windex variety of cleaners, try a lime scale remover.

Q. Could you please tell me what to use to seal my granite? You have mentioned you seal your granite every year but did not mention how to do this or what products to use. We have had our granite for a few years now and never have sealed it since it was installed.

Apparently I’ve been lax about giving you the whole story, so here goes: It’s called Goddard’s Granite and Marble Polish. It costs $3.49 a bottle, which will last for years and is available at the hardware store.

You do it every year. Not only does it polish, but it seals, protects against stains and water spotting, and doesn’t yellow.

I’ve been using it for 11 years, since I bought the house, and the granite looks as good as the day we moved in.

Goddard’s also works on other surfaces.

Remember, I’m not into free advertising nor recommending products, contractors and repair people. Your experiences with them might not be the same as mine.

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