Why is grout flaking?


Q: I put a new Carrera marble tile backsplash in my son’s home two years ago. The grout is secure but it flakes like salt. If you touch it it comes off like salt particles and even if you don’t touch it, it is all over the countertops. Can you offer some advice on what to do?


A: From the behavior of that grout, I think you used sanded grout and just plumped it in willy-nilly, so it started to deteriorate from day one. Also, if you used a small trowel, you might have worked the trowel back and forth, pulling water out of the grout and making the mix even more unstable. Take all of that stuff out, buy sandless grout, and pack it in very compactly. Use a small pointing tool, an elongated S-shaped tool that makes compacting grout easier. The joints should be as thin as possible, even 1Ž16 inch.

Q: Our house sits on a hill facing north. Nor’easters with winds gusting drive snow up under the eaves. When the snow melts it stains the bedroom ceilings. The roof is in good condition. Is there any way to keep the snow out? This has happened only a few times but the big Nor’easter earlier this winter means we’ll have to have several ceilings reprimed and painted.


A: It sounds as if the eaves (soffits) are open, allowing snow to swoosh straight up and onto the attic floor. Sturdy screening will stop the snow, either insect screening or 1Ž4-inch steel mesh called hardware cloth. Make it neat and sturdy, so it stops the snow but does not stop venting the attic.

The Boston Globe


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