A Clean Slate

Wendy’s Blog

Contractor orders slate floor cleaning with the kitchen renovation.

Learning about the steam cleaning service that we offer, Nicole, owner of The Coral Hammer, requests some interim cleaning for the floors on a kitchen renovation job. The job she is running is in High Bar Harbor. High Bar Harbor is a back bay peninsula off Barnegat Light, on the northern tip of LBI, or Long Beach Island is it is referred to and loved.

With stunning views, the kitchen upgrade will revitalize the look inside this well appointed summer home. A winter renovation will ease the hassle and interruption of contracting interfering with relaxation and entertaining the next season.

So with the island mostly sleeping through the holiday season from a resident-owner perspective, it’s also ‘contractor season.’ Building and renovations are in full swing. On just about on every block, on every street, it’s a different kind of buzz from summertime fun. With saws, air guns and hammers fired up, contractors race to get projects done before preseason ‘wakeup.’  It’s actually a race to get the shore houses ready for the upcoming season. Another way a client summed it up that I thought was clever and kind of dead on, was they were getting ready for ‘cocktail party critical’ season.

Nicole understood having us steam clean the floor at the beginning of her project would help her manage tasks with regard to the floor repairs.

steam cleaning slate during kitchen renovation
Steam cleaning not only removes soiling it removes weakened grout


One might ask why would a contractor order a cleaning at the beginning of the construction process. With tear out debris, sheetrock dust, contractor bits and pieces, sawing refuse and packaging debris created, why not wait till its done? 

Again, why would she clean the slate first and not wait till it's all done?

Pretty simple when you think about it. Steaming the floor will remove existing dust and debris, but it also will reveal all the flaws in the floor, i.e. the tile and the grout specifically. Getting it clean will give her a baseline and help identify the repairs needed, especially for the grout. This way it will be easier to repair the grout, and have that done before the new cabinetry is set. 

Secondly it will probably confirm what we already know. That is, that the stone can definitely benefit from some deeper restoration to make it look top notch along with the overall renovation and updating.


Nicole's thinking is spot on! We reaffirmed her reasoning was good by summarizing what the steam cleaning would do.

‘Captain obvious!’ Steaming the floor will clean it up, yes, no question there. But our steam extraction process has extremely powerful suction that will dislodge, and pull weakened and compromised grout. To the contractor’s tile guy this means it will suck out all that weakened grout that is failing in the floor. And it will probably reveal more voids in the grout that will need to be re-grouted.

Think about it, the tile guy has to carefully inspect all the tiled areas, especially the grout lines aka the grout joints. If he sees any loose or missing grouted voids he knows he will need to dig them out and fill them with new, matching grout. 

So in essence we are pre-doing his job for him (a bit.)

When done our steam extraction will remove loose grout and 'wipe the slate clean!'

Not only will it pull out all the loose grout it will clean and reveal the sound grout, and better reveal the true original grout color. (Can’t tell you how many times replacement grout color is matched against dirty grout, not the original grout color- which is a ‘oops’ for sure!)

With the job scheduled they prepped the floor for our arrival. And I confirmed the agenda with Nicole.


I reconfirmed our purpose was to just clean the floor. I also mentioned to Nicole that Chris had identified dullness and etch marks that would not be addressed with his initial procedure. He had suggested that a stone restoration procedure would be ideal to address and restore those problems at another time. 

Nicole understood the limited scope. 

 I pointed out to her that she should plan to get approval and schedule the restoration as part of the kitchen renovation at a later date. With all the updating, including new cabinetry and reworking the footprint of the kitchen, it would be a shame to leave the condition of the slate as is.

Nicole understood, and took our advice. She would pass our recommendation to her client and seek to secure their approval for the future restoration. 

In the meantime she was happy we fit her in the for the cleaning. So she delayed the tile guy, and got the room cleared out as much as possible.

With a code to get in and the go ahead, Chris and Mark arrived and got right on it.

Indeed the cleaning did exactly as expected. And there were areas of voids that were obvious and now easier to see. After a couple of hours and attention to detail the preliminary steam cleaning was done! We left and passed the floor back to Nicole to continue with the renovation.

So for now we have completed our tasks as they move forward with their kitchen update project. We will certainly be bringing you pictures when the project is complete, and that ‘wow factor’ will dazzle you! 

PS- while it was a first venture with Nicole, it was refreshing and a pleasure to work with her. She is creative and quite talented. But for her clients, and we concur, she gets the total picture. Not only should it be clean when she is done, it should be pristine. So we look forward to partnering with her on projects in the future! To learn more about her and see her work click here.

If you are a contractor managing tile repairs, our steam cleaning can greatly assist with your work. Inquire and we can explain.  Free estimates Call Us,  or Contact Us on line and we will reach out to you.