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Tuesday, August 24 2010

Cleaning Brick and Concrete:

Recently I was called on by a potential client to inspect the exterior of their home which was a combination of brick and stucco. This was (50) year old home in downtown Sacramento that was in need of my help. The brick had a faded look, dirty, and had a white powdery substance on it. The client called me because they were interested in restoring and protecting the natural look and heritage of their home.

Bricks are made of either concrete or clay. In order to determine which one you have all you have to do is drop a small amount of swimming pool acid on the surface and if it fizzes it is concrete and if it does nothing then you know you have clay. Clay bricks do not lose their color over time nor do they fade. The appearance of fading is actually EFFLORESCENCE, a french word which means "to flower out".  Efflorescence is a white powdery substance that comes from inside the brick and is a common problem. Because a brick is very porous it will absorb large quantities of water when wet, and because it will dry from the inside out the white powdery substance will be pushed out of the brick onto the surface leaving a white powdery residue. As I mentioned earlier this is a common problem that can be solved.

I explained to my client that simply cleaning the brick would not solve the problem. First we need to remove the efflorescene and clean the brick, second we needed to treat the brick with a special solution to prevent future efflorescence, and third we needed to seal the brick with a solvent based sealer to protect the brick from the elements and increase the longevity of the brick.

Because of the nature of this type of cleaning and restoration the client would not be able to do this on his own. This type of cleaning and restoration requires special tools, chemicals, and experience in order for the solution to work long term. I would caution anyone reading this to NOT use a pressure washer and some sealer as this might make the problem worse. If you really want to clean and restore the brick surface it will require a qualified professional. If you have questions or concerns about this article please contact me at

Have A Great Day!

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 10:08 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 02 2010

BEWARE - Phoney Tile & Grout Cleaners:

Today I met with a husband and wife for the purposes of sealing their travertine floor. Originally I thought they had cleaned the floors themselves only to discover that they had hired a so call 'professional'. This so called professional was a carpet cleaner who occasionally cleaned tile. They chose this particular person because he was the lowest bid. Their travertine floor was approximately 500 square feet and it had been cleaned only (9) days ago. My first impression was that the floor was dirty particularly the grout lines. The grout lines in the kitchen area looked especially dark. In addition their was grout residue still on the floor from where the homeowner had tried to repair some of the travertine that had been recently damaged. The floor did not show off the natural beauty that one is accustomed to when they see travertine.

When questioning the homeowners I discovered that this carpet cleaner had used carpet cleaning tools, carpet cleaning chemicals and carpet cleaning processes to clean this very expensive travertine floor. 

I told the homeowners that I would not seal the floor until after the floor had been properly cleaned. The sealer would have trapped the stains and grout residue in the pores potentially ruining the travertine's natural beauty. Needless to say they were glad for the the free advice. The person who cleaned their travertine floor was phoney in my opinion. He did not have the right equipment, right cleaning chemicals, right cleaning processes or the proper training for such a task.

Can you spot a phoney tile and grout cleaner? Before hiring someone to clean your tile and grout lines here are some things you should look for:

1). Check out their website. If they promote carpet cleaning over tile and grout cleaning then they are carpet cleaners who occasionally clean tile. Tile cleaning requires very expensive and very special equipment, chemicals, processes, and training.

2). Are they the cheapest? Zig Ziglar once said, "Cheap things aren't good and good things aren't cheap".

3). Do they have any certifications? Here at Liberty Floor Solutions were are factory trained and credentialed by The Master's Touch. The people who invented tile and grout cleaning.

4). References. Ask for references.

5). Does their insurance cover tile and grout cleaning? Most carpet cleaners will never tell their insurance companies that they also clean tile and grout because it would raise their premiums. Here are Liberty Floor Solutions it is clearly spelled out on our business license as well as our insurance policy with Safeco. We are insured up to 2,000,000.

6). Ask us. We are willing to help if you give us a call.

If you have questions about this blog please contact me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Hull


Posted by: Michael Hull AT 07:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
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We provide professional tile, grout, carpet cleaning services for home and businesses in the following California cities: Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove, Wilton, Galt, Lodi, Stockton, Laguna West, Rancho Murieta, Mather, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Rescue, Cool, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Antelope, Roseville, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Natomas, Citrus Heights, and Slough House. We will travel to other areas.


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Providing tile, grout, travertine, carpet cleaning professional services to Sacramento and Elk Grove California : carpet cleaning - grout tile cleaning - travertine tile cleaning - carpet steam cleaning services