Summary: Mike Brady, of Brady Seal Stone and Grout Sealing Service, discusses how to keep your stone, your grout, and your countertops looking the way you got them!
Guest: Mike Brady, President Brady Seal Stone and Grout Sealing Service
Phone: (408) 979-9535
3 Points for Success:
- Find a good tile installer. You need to have a good base start with.
- Get education of what material you should be using in which location. There are specific materials that I would recommend using in a bathroom that I wouldn’t put in the kitchen and vice versa.
- Seal the grout and the sensitive materials. Make sure it’s protected because that’s going to give you the longevity of your kitchen.
Carey Bros Pros Mike Brady Edited.mp3
James [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of CareyBrosPro, I’m James Carey, and today we’re going to talk about something that you as a builder or remodel or can do that will prevent callbacks. Keep your bottom line intact and make your customers happy.
James [00:00:20] How are we going to do that? Well, we’re going to talk to Mike Brady. Mike is the president of Brady Seal Stone and Grout Sealing Service. Mike, welcome to CareyBrosPros.
Mike [00:00:31] Morning, thank you.
James [00:00:33] So in your own words, describe for our pro audience a little bit about Brady SEAL and what you do.
Mike [00:00:42] So we basically seal stone and grout, but that entails, of course, cleaning, deep cleaning, restoration. Anything that has to do with stone surfaces, grout joints we care for maintain and repair.
James [00:00:57] Why is that important to our pro audience? Well, because, I mean, you know, I’ve remodeled this bathroom. I’ve remodeled this kitchen. I’ve built this new home. I’ve sold it. I’m going to walk away, get onto my next job. What is it about my installed product that has to do with what you do?
Mike [00:01:17] Well, the designers, the installers, the tradesmen, they typically what we find is, hey, it’s beautiful. I want that. That looks nice. But they don’t go the next step and think outside the box. Is it durable? Is it a proper product to be putting in my master bathroom? How hard is it to install? They don’t always see those steps. And so when we see installations gone wrong, they don’t quite understand why it went wrong or how to fix it. And that’s where we come in.
James [00:01:46] You work for a lot of high volume homebuilders and they hire you after their product is installed to come in and do what?
Mike [00:02:00] To seal the stone and grout. So they see us as a company that’s going to help do that. Final protection. No different than anybody. You know, you can’t buy carpet. Now, that’s not protected with Scotch Guard. It’s impossible. It’s all included.
James [00:02:15] Stain master, yada, yada, yada.
Mike [00:02:16] And you won’t buy that anymore, right? So we’re doing basically the same thing for stone and grounds. And we come in and we apply sealers to the showers, the countertops, the floor joints to help protect those areas from staining and make it easier for cleaning.
James [00:02:31] Are you sealing tile as well?
Mike [00:02:33] Not so much tile. Tile is a generic term for the piece of material. But inside that, if it’s a porcelain or ceramic tile, those are impervious and they don’t require.
James [00:02:43] They really don’t require sealing. But it’s that grout that most consumers complain about.
Mike [00:02:48] Yes.
James [00:02:49] So what you’re doing is you’re helping the builder or remodel or deliver a high quality installed product that minimizes the amount of maintenance that the homeowner or a home buyer is faced with. And at the same time, what you’re doing, as I understand this, you’re lowering the builders exposure to callback. Correct, by making sure and I’m going to use this term that they’re installed product is bullet proof. Now, I know it’s not bullet. Yeah, it’s a whole heck of a lot better.
Mike [00:03:27] It’s a fun word to say it. Yeah, easy words to say. But you have to be careful of that because it’s not it’s not bulletproof proof. It stains aren’t going to say, hey, I’m going to not stain you because you’re sealed. We’re prescribing the protection. And then we’re also giving as much information to the builder and the buyer for them to maintain it going forward as we can. But what we’re really doing is when that mistake is made, when that glass of red wine at the party is dropped.
James [00:03:51] Oh, boy.
Mike [00:03:52] When the coffeemaker hasn’t been moved in three months. Coffee stains are under there. We can fix it because it was sealed. If you don’t see all these products ahead of time and that glass of wine stains, most likely it’s in that stone.
James [00:04:06] And Mike, all of those things happen in a new home. And the first thing the homeowner does is call the builder and say, hey, you know what? I’ve got this dark blotch on my granite countertop. What’s going on? I’m just washing dishes or I’m cooking or, you know, my vanity top, my master bathroom. I spilled a cup of coffee on it and I can’t get it out.
Mike [00:04:29] Right.
James [00:04:29] And then the builder.
Mike [00:04:30] Has to replace that.
James [00:04:32] You know, has to go out and take valuable time. And it’s embarrassing and it inconveniences the homeowner.
James [00:04:39] And that can be prevented. I’ve got to imagine, Mike, that builders and modelers are beating down your door for your service. Is there a builder that doesn’t see value in doing this? Are there builders that don’t seal their installed product?
Mike [00:04:54] Absolutely.
James [00:04:55] You got to be kidding.
Mike [00:04:56] Well, yeah, I mean, but I don’t think it’s because. They don’t see the value in it. It’s, you know, they’re always looking at the bottom line. And that’s for the bigger companies. It’s all about the bottom line. Not that they don’t believe that what we do is needed or necessary. I’ve worked for 40 builders and 30 flooring companies. Everything’s a little bit different, whether it’s we seal everything or they sell it as an option. Whatever’s comfortable for them is always been our way of doing business. We don’t want to say, No. You have to do it this way. You have to be. We have to seal everything. We have to do this.
James [00:05:30] Alright. That brings me to the next question. As a builder and remodeling and we’re talking to a pro audience and of course, the cost is is relevant. But I know you’re going to have to give me a range because there’s no way that you can come up with just a finite value because, you know, some homes have more wood flooring or more carpet than stone and so on and so forth. So what would a builder expect for a new home in a price range and understanding that this podcast is, you know, listened to across the country? Right. What would a builder expect to pay?
Mike [00:06:09] So when we average out the number of houses based and then the money build, it averages about 325 a house. Really? It’s not astronomic.
James [00:06:20] What are you saying? Three three hundred twenty five.
Mike [00:06:23] three Hundred twenty five.
James [00:06:24] The number that was in my head was two thousand dollars.
Mike [00:06:26] Yeah I know.
James [00:06:27] Three hundred twenty five dollars. So I can’t imagine that a builder anywhere in this country would not want to make that investment to make sure that the grout, the tile, the stone, the marble. Are well protected!
Mike [00:06:43] Yeah it’s definitely changed. I do say that for the first time in almost 30 years doing this, there’s people are calling me now, whereas I always had to scratch and claw to get the business.
James [00:06:54] By the way, we did meet at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference and Mosconi Center in San Francisco. And you were there networking with your builder clients and demonstrating to. Builders and remodel ers. How they can deliver better product, better installed product up to their home buyers. Right. Okay. Call the show. All right. So what steps should a builder or modeler take before turning over a completed project to a consumer to prevent callbacks and needless customer service calls? Is it just the ceiling or are there and I know ceiling is the primary. Is there anything else that they should do? Should they offer as an example in their warranty handbook or new home handbook? Some maintenance and care steps?
Mike [00:07:49] Yes. So every house that we feel we leave behind little card with care and maintenance. Suggestions, tips. And then a way to access us with any questions. And it has gotten a lot easier over the years. The Steelers have gotten better, more durable. And then just learning the processes of cleaning, the number one thing that I always tell people other than a neutral cleaner. The number one thing you should have in your house is a microfiber mop. Now get rid of the string mops. Get rid of the sore. That’s a great lunch. I love microfiber. A microfiber mops microfiber material has really made a huge difference in my company. They’re much easier to write things up, clean them and they pick the dirt up. So the number one thing is get that mop so that you’re picking the dirt up and not spreading it around.
James [00:08:41] What should they recommend to their home buyers or home owners? When it comes to a cleaning product, I know as an example, a lot of housekeepers use vinegar and they think, well, this is a mild cleaner and we’re going to dilute it with water. But dude, they do that week in and week out and it just etches the ever loving heck out of a stone finish.
Mike [00:09:03] So you want to be careful because you want to use a neutral cleaner, because whether you’re putting natural stone in bran, it’s marbles. You know, you want to make sure you’re not using anything too acidic. Even the new engineered stones, the petrifying as the court’s materials. Yes, yes. Yeah. They can be susceptible to harsh cleaners. So I always say a neutral cleaner. Make sure it says neutral P.H. neutral on it. Do you see all those products, too? Yes and no. There there’s some that require the petrified inner products, anything that’s made out of a marble base. They still need to be sealed. But typically the court’s countertops not so much. But that has actually changed in the last few years.
James [00:09:43] I’ll be darned. Yeah. OK, so who determines whether a product is sealed? Is there a fabricators association or an institute that says this product? The manufacturer says this product should be sealers.
Mike [00:09:57] Ma, I’m sure you have of America that goes outside it. Just EMI a name. You know, there’s tile trades and stuff like that that have their specifications and.
James [00:10:06] Just follow the specifications.
Mike [00:10:07] Right.
James [00:10:07] All right. Mike, in your experience, what are some of the biggest mistakes made by builders, remodels or tile and stone installers that one might consider sabotage, putting a improper material in a wrong place?
Mike [00:10:26] So they look beautiful, but marbles don’t have any place in it in a bathroom. If you’re worried about maintenance.
James [00:10:34] I love you, my love. You know what that sabotage it is because it looks beautiful. Hairspray, everything to her fume deodorant, all of that stuff. It just it’s it wreaks havoc wrecked on marble, which essentially is seashells.
Mike [00:10:50] And of course, I have marble in my bathroom. Right. You know, it’s.
James [00:10:55] And I did in my last home and it etched.
Mike [00:10:58] But it’s all repairable. Is all fixable. But, you know, they don’t divulge that information in the design studios for the most part. It looks beautiful. Put this in your shower. I don’t talk about the maintenance.
James [00:11:08] I don’t like the idea of using marble for kitchen counters now from time to time. I will do an island in slab marble and I will do that for baking someone who is a serious baker. Absolutely. But in general, we will. And you say, well, where would you use marble? I would use marble in a location that doesn’t get tremendous as a powder room is an example where people aren’t brushing their teeth, where people aren’t using typically hairspray, a powder room, where you’re entertaining a space that doesn’t get a lot of abuse.
Mike [00:11:44] I wouldn’t ever tell somebody, don’t use marble. Like I said, I have marble in my house. Parents have marble in their kitchen. But as long as you recognize and understand how to maintain it and that it is going to etch, it is going to dull and that you’re going to have to hire a restaurateur to come and polish that back out.
James [00:12:03] It’s not you know that to our architect friends listening to our. Designers are specifies, OK, marble, but get the installed product sealed and maybe seal it.
Mike [00:12:17] More often, more often than not and educate your buyer, let them know, hey, this is going to happen. This is gonna etch. This is be aware.
James [00:12:26] Now, we know that Brady Seal does work in the state of California for high volume builders, remodels and homeowners. And this podcast goes beyond the borders of California. So for those listening who don’t have access to you, what should those builders and remodels look for when hiring a tile and stone restoration professional for their businesses?
Mike [00:12:56] I mean, it’s reputable person would be the first thing I would say is that’s hard to you know, you can sound you can look reputable, but that would be my first thing. Most of my business outside of builders comes from word of mouth. And I think the only way that you would pass on a company or mention somebody is if they’re a reputable person. And I don’t know how you do that other than time.
James [00:13:21] You mentioned that you’ve been in business for 30 years. This is a family owned operation. Is licensing required for what you do? Yes, it is. Now, I know that there you’re in California, right? So you have a license through the contract or state license board. OK. So in many states, there’s the Department of Industrial Relations and so on. So it would suffice to say that if licensing is required in your neck of the woods, wherever that may be, you’ll want to check that out. Insurance is important. You’ve got to be insured. If you’re having someone working on your job, even if they’re just doing sealing and restoration, maybe Yelp is a good resource. I know that you like Yelp and you use it when you’re shopping for something. We use it to when we’re looking for a specialty trade. It’s not the end all.
Mike [00:14:15] No.
James [00:14:15] But it is one of many resources that we use and.
Mike [00:14:18] They provide them with so many companies. I think if you do your your homework and look into them and know what questions to ask and in like the responses you’re getting back, I think you can find a really good company.
James [00:14:31] I’m going to guess that if I were a homebuilder in an area looking for a company that does what you would do, I would reach out to other builders or I would look for references from that company like you. Right. I would say, hey, Mike. Can you give me a list of builders? What are some of the do it? What are some of the names of the builders that you’ve worked for or are working for? Just a few.
Mike [00:14:57] Taylor, Morrison, Leinart, Shea Home. Shea Homes has been our longest contract, but even small builders. Ropes and homes. Anybody?
James [00:15:06] And custom home builders and cars. So that’s the first thing I do. Yelp is OK and somebody that’s been in business a long time. But I want to know from who are you working for? How is that working out? That’s that’s good. Yeah. References. Yeah. OK, so three points for success, Mike, with each of our CareyBrosPros podcasts. We like to leave our pro audience with three points of wisdom that can strengthen their business. And now it’s your turn to share your three points for success.
Mike [00:15:39] So when it comes to natural stones and grouts and installing them in your bathrooms or kitchens and your floors and your new home, find a good installer. It’s hard. I don’t install tile and people are always asking me and it’s I have a difficult time passing anybody on because there’s not always the most reputable person in the area.
James [00:15:58] That’s a good one. We’ve been talking about sealing and, you know, finishing, but the deal is it’s tough to make chicken salad at a chicken. And if you’ve got a terrible installation, there’s nothing that Mike or any restoration company’s going to be able to do. If that’s a good point,.
Mike [00:16:13] I don’t have a good base. My job is moot. So start with that and then education of what material you should be using in which location. There’s specific materials that I would recommend using in a bathroom that I wouldn’t put in the kitchen and vise versa. And then after that seal, it makes sure it’s protected because that’s going to give you the longevity of your kitchen. Looking nice. Your grout looking nice. You’ve got to seal it.
James [00:16:37] There you have it. Three points for success. He is Mike Brady, the president of Brady Seal Stone and Grout Sealing Service. Clean Seal, Color, Restore and Epoxy. You may learn more by visiting Mike’s Web site. It is BradySeal.com.
James [00:17:00] Or give him a call at 4 0 8 9 7 9 9 5 3 5. And as always, we will post the text of our podcast at CareyBrosPros, which, by the way, is a great resource for other information to help you strengthen your business. Mike, thanks for joining us on CareyBrosPros.