Why Your Pebble Shower Floor Is Turning White (Causes & Remedies)

Many homeowners are tired of the boring and basic tile design in shower floors, and that’s why they are switching to pebble floors.

Even though this design comes with many benefits, it’s susceptible to one major problem – the surface eventually turns white.

This is an issue that has affected many homeowners and it’s why I decided to come up with this guide that’ll be exploring what causes pebble shower floors to turn white and the ideal remedies.

Pebble Shower Floor

What Causes Pebble Shower Floor to Turn White?

There are several causes for this problem which include;

1. Efflorescence

This is the biggest culprit behind the white haze on most pebble shower floors. You’re probably wondering, how pebble stone experience efflorescence.

Well, the science is pretty straightforward. Inside the pebbles, you’ll find water-soluble salts which eventually rise to the surface and crystallize to form a white powdery substance.

Efflorescence in pebble shower floors is more difficult to deal with if a sealer was applied after. A sealer creates a protective layer over the pebble floor and it, therefore, covers the white haze that crystalizes on the surface.

The Remedy: Dealing with efflorescence on a pebble shower floor is simple. You only need a mild pebble stone cleaner or some vinegar.

When you pour any of these two over the pebble shower floor, the white substance should disappear immediately.

In case there is a sealant on the floor, it must be stripped off so that you can get direct access to the surface of the pebble stone. You can find a sealant remover at your nearest hardware store.

2. Accumulation of Soap, Shampoo, and Other Bathroom Products

Out of all the rooms in your home, the shower or bathroom is often exposed to many products.

From hair treatments to soaps, these products can dry over your pebble shower floor and create a white residue over the surface. If you don’t clean your bathroom regularly, you’re more likely to run into this problem.

The Remedy: First, you have to figure out if you’re dealing with an accumulation of soap and shampoo. When you pour water over the pebble floor, if it turns oily or smeary then that’s an indication that the white haze is dried-up soap.

To get rid of it, give your bathroom a thorough cleanse. A brush and some warm water should easily remove dried-up soap or shampoo scum from your pebble floor.

It’s also advisable to make a habit of cleaning your bathroom regularly. This should help you avoid this problem in the future.

3. Hard Water Spots

If you live in a hard water area, and your pebble shower floor has turned white, then you could be dealing with hard water spots. Hard water is rich in minerals which often leave white spots when the water evaporates into moisture.

If hard water is the source of your woes, you’ll also notice a powdery buildup on the tip of your faucet or any other aluminum/steel surface in your bathroom.

The Remedy: Though stubborn, it is possible to get rid of hard water spots that are causing your pebble shower floor to turn white.

A vinegar solution and a scrubbing brush should get the job done. Also, regularly cleaning your bathroom can prevent the formation of hard water spots.

4. Mold

Because a pebble shower floor is constantly exposed to water, moisture can penetrate the grout lines and get trapped.

That creates a conducive environment for mold growth. As the mold develops, it turns into a white or gray patch on the surface of your pebble shower floor.

The Remedy: To remove mold from your pebble shower floor, you’ll need some vinegar, bleach, or any other strong cleaning solution.

Pour it over the white patches and scrub it with a brush. Make sure that you’re wearing gloves, a mask, and goggles. Mold is a health hazard that you should never inhale or make direct contact with.

5. Gradual Wear

A pebble shower floor wasn’t meant to last forever. As time goes by, the pebbles will start to lose their color and will turn whiter.

Exposure to foot traffic, soap, and bathroom products also contribute to the weathering of your pebble shower floor.

Unlike the above causes, if your pebble shower floor is turning white as a result of wear, you’ll notice a pattern, especially in high-traffic areas. Also, there won’t be any powdery substance on the surface.

The Remedy: There isn’t much you can do to salvage worn-out pebble shower floors. The best solution is to schedule a replacement.

An expert contractor can remove the old and worn-out pebble shower floor and install a new one. I’d advise you to do this if you plan on selling the house as that will improve its market value.

Can You Use a Strong Cleaner on a Pebble Shower Floor that Has Turned White?

The first thing that comes to the mind of most people when they notice their pebble shower floor has turned white is to use the strongest cleaner they can come across. It’s tempting, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Some pebble stones, especially those that are calcium-based can become etched when exposed to strong cleaners.

So, your efforts to get rid of hard water stains, efflorescence, or mold that’s causing your pebble shower floor to turn white can result in more damage. When listing the above remedies, I was mostly recommending the use of vinegar.

Unlike most commercial cleaners that are packed with strong chemicals, vinegar is a bit gentle on pebble stone or tile. It is effective at getting rid of white substances on your shower floor, but it won’t etch the pebble stones.

Unless it’s very necessary, you should avoid using strong cleaners on your pebble shower floor.

How to Prevent a Pebble Shower Floor from Turning White?

To be honest with you, pebble shower floors are high maintenance. This is why they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. If you want to retain the original color of your pebble shower floor, here are some precautions you should take;

• Thoroughly clean your bathroom at least once a week. Whether it’s efflorescence, soap scum, or hard water stains, there is nothing that a good wash can’t get rid of.

When planning your weekly schedule, allocate time to clean the bathroom. Apart from preventing your floor from turning white, this also helps with destroying germs within your bathroom.

• Squeegee the floor after showering. This applies more to folks living in hard water areas. When you squeegee the floor after showering, that minimizes the amount of water that’s left behind.

As a result, you won’t have to deal with hard water stains which will turn white, later on. This technique also comes in handy in preventing the development of mold in your shower.

• Try and keep the moisture levels low. I understand that a bathroom can’t be moisture free. However, it can pay off if you minimize the amount of moisture in your bathroom.

This can be done by opening the windows or doors to promote airflow. By reducing moisture levels, you’ll be preventing efflorescence and mold growth.

Are There Other Pebble Shower Floor Problems You Should Be Aware Of?

Apart from pebble shower floors turning white, there are a couple of other problems you need to be aware of. They include;

Because of the uneven design of pebble stone or tile, they do not drain easily. Most of the time, some water can get trapped between the grout lines causing poor drainage.

If installed poorly, a pebble shower floor can be painful to walk on. During installation, the tiler must ensure the pebbles are evenly placed.

Pebble shower floors wear out faster than any type of shower floor. It’s not a long-term investment.

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