News & Information

Ten years ago, in the height of the real estate boom, flipping houses turned a hefty profit. Many flippers knew about the basics of construction and design. What they didn’t know was how important some of the details would be. Kitchen and bathrooms sell homes! That means, your biggest investment should be in the details found in your kitchen and bathrooms and tile typically claims a lot of real estate in these rooms. Let me share some tips on getting the most out of your tile:

1. Seal it.

You already know that tile needs grout. Grout is easy to find and comes in multiple colors to blend or contrast with your tile. Grout fills in the gaps between the tile to produce your pattern. It’s important to note that the grout is exposed to water, moisture and anything else that the tile is exposed to in your bathroom and kitchen (shampoo, dish soap, splashes, you get the idea). Most grout is not waterproof or stain, mold or mildew proof and therefore, it needs to be sealed. The one exception to this is epoxy grout. If you used epoxy grout, skip this tutorial! Home run! It’s more expensive than other types of grout but may save you time in the long run.

2. Sealing is relatively simple.

It may take some time, but you should be able to do it. There are several ways to apply the seal, but most are basic processes that you are probably already familiar with. You can brush or roll on the sealer, choose the one you are more comfortable with. The brush applicator may require a little more finesse and a second coat but is generally easy to apply and even easier to stay within the grout lines. Rollers tend to apply a more even coat and may be more precise in their application without going past the grout line. You can also spray on the sealer. I do not recommend this application for non-professionals because it is too easy to get overspray on your tiles. It takes a lot of time to clean up overspray, even if the spraying takes less time than brushing or rolling.

3. Know when to seal.

If you have finished your tiling and grouting, make sure you wait a minimum of two days, three is even better, to make sure the grout is dry, dry, dry. You cannot seal wet or damp grout. Be sure the grout is completely dry and smooth. Before you seal the grout, make sure you picked the right kind. Penetrating group sealers are water based and penetrate the grout. These types of sealers absorb into the porous grout and are great for bathrooms. Membrane-forming grout sealers do what they say – they create a membrane over the grout. These sealers are great for kitchens. Grout sealers keep the grout stain free and provide a great moisture barrier that can last several years.  

Castles Home Service, family owned and operated, protecting stone and tile since 1982.  Call 831-444-0991 or visit us online at

For most of us, cleaning a counter-top requires little to no thinking. We simply apply our chosen cleaning agent and wipe! However, you may be unknowingly damaging expensive, beautiful countertops or even putting your own health at risk! Here are several things to consider when choosing a chemical cleaner to use and what surface you’re going to clean with it.

Health Safety

First and foremost, you need to ensure that the cleaning agent you’re using is not going to be toxic to your health, either immediately after cleaning or even long after you’ve wiped down the countertops.  Most cleaners meant for regular human contact or food are nor going to be particularly harmful (not dangerously corrosive like drain-cleaners or oven cleaners), but it’s still a good idea that you know what ingredients they have. For example, were you just cleaning with bleach and for some reason need to clean the area or an area very close with ammonia? You may accidentally end up creating a toxic gas by mixing the two. Be aware!

What ingredients are usually safe to use? Look for simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice or another citrus, and even baking soda. These are extremely unlikely to cause you physical harm or cause adverse chemical reactions that may endanger your health.

Safe for YOUR Surfaces

However, just because a cleaning agent is safe for your health doesn’t mean it’s safe for your countertops! You need to be absolutely sure that any cleaning agent you use, regardless of how safe or non-toxic the ingredients are, won’t cause permanent damage to the surface you’re cleaning, especially if those surfaces happen to be made from premium materials.

For example, what cleaning agents can be safely used on granite? Granite has the reputation of being durable and long-lasting so there may be an impulse to assume that any standard cleaning agent would be fine. However, such an assumption may cost you your granite countertops! Granite should never be cleaned with anything acidic for many reasons.

First, acidic cleaners that contain citrus or vinegar are absolutely off limits for granite countertops or any countertops with a sealant. Why? The acid eats away at the sealant, leaving your shiny, beautiful countertops looking bland and dull. However, it’s not just the sealant at stake. Acidic cleaners can harm the actual granite (or any other kind of stone surface) itself.

Tile floors or other tile surfaces are no exception. Harsh cleaners can attack their luster and eventually damage the material, leaving you with ugly floors at best, or a giant remodeling bill at worst.

How can you avoid damaging your stone and tile from cleaning? Generally, warm water and dish soap are more than enough for granite countertops, and an extremely diluted vinegar solution is generally sufficient for tile floors or other tile surfaces.

You should always take the time to learn about how to take care of your expensive, gorgeous home surfaces, be they granite, tile, or other premium material. The small amount of extra time it takes to research and to know for sure what should be used will almost certainly save you a bundle of time and money down the road.

Castles Home Service based in California is a family owned and operated surface care specialist with over 30 years’ experience in carpet, tile and natural stone care. By staying current with the latest and greatest stone cleaning and stone restoration products, you can rest assured that you will have a professional finish to your surfaces that will last.

Our newest line of products is the MORE™ Surface Care low VOC sealers, which will protect your stone from liquid damage such as staining and salt damage and the MORE™ Surface Care AntiEtch™ coating which will stop harmful acids from causing the surface of your stone to become dull and pitted.

These products are at the leading edge of natural stone care and, when applied by a specialist stone restoration contractor, can increase the longevity of your stonework saving you money on costly repairs or replacements in the future.

To learn even more about the MORE™ Surface Care products we use at Castles Home Service, please visit the information page here.

If you’re a homeowner that has made the investment to install natural stone surfaces in your home, then you understand how important it is to keep that investment clean and in good condition. Upkeep of your natural stone is possible to do on your own, but it is definitely difficult. For minor upkeep, here are some tips and information that can be helpful, but there is a lot to understand. This is why it’s important to have your natural stone surfaces regularly cleaned by a professional. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should have your stone cleaning done by a professional:

1. They Understand the Composition of Your Natural Stone

Believe or not, not all-natural stone surfaces are created equal. It seems like stone cleaning could be really simple, and it definitely can be, but you have to first understand the composition of your natural stone. A stone cleaning professional will know the composition of your natural stone surfaces, and know how best to clean it without causing damage or erosion. They know that sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic stone all needs to be treated differently in order to avoid damage. Having your stone cleaning done regularly by a professional will help your stone look better and last longer.

2. They Can Seal Your Stone

A professional can seal your natural stone surfaces for you to prevent staining and damage. This one extra step in the professional cleaning process can save you a lot of money in the long run, as you will invest in preventing stains from spills, footprints, and general wear and tear to your natural stone. It is important to note that having your stone sealed will not make it invincible to all stains, but will help to prevent stains that could end up being costly to clean or even cause you to have to replace your natural stone.

3. They Know How to Identify and Remove Stains

Just as natural stone surfaces can differ in type, so can types of stains and the manner in which they should best be removed. Stone cleaning can be tricky if the type of stain is incorrectly identified, and it can even cause further damage to the natural stone surface. There are so many types of stains- oil based, acid-based, biological, metallic, the list goes on. This is a lot for someone to learn and remember. A professional natural stone cleaner will know these types of stains like the back of their hand, and know how to remove it.


It is crucial for you to have your natural stone professionally cleaned regularly in order to maintain its beauty. We understand that your home is important to you, and want to help keep your natural stone as clean as possible. For stone cleaning in Santa Cruz CA, stone cleaning in Carmel CA, stone cleaning in Monterey CA, and many other locations in California, our customers trust us to keep their natural stone surfaces beautiful and clean.

Here is a situation that we see all too often – accidental etching of natural stone.

A client contacted us because she had an unfortunate accident on her bath vanity.

One of these photos shows the area where a paper bowl of CLR (an acid-based cleaner) was placed on the marble vanity. This resulted in a large etched area. Perhaps you too have experienced something similar. If so, don’t fret, call Castles Home Service!

We were successful in repairing the damage with excellent results. Take a look at the before and after pictures. If you would like a professional to advise you if your countertops or stone floors can be resurfaced to look beautiful again, please give us a call at Castles Home Service, we would love to hear from you.

Castles Home Service – making the California more beautiful one countertop/floor at a time.