Truth. Crack is whack. Especially of the shower grout variety. It’s even more whack when you’re sitting on the toilet and an entire line of grout is cracked and at eye level and staring you down screaming “Fix me! Fix me!” So I fixed the grout. Here’s the evil little cracked grout line:
This was extremely difficult to photograph (glossy white tile + flash = frustration) so believe me when I say that this photo does not capture the nastiness of the cracked grout line. What happened, so I’ve been told, is that occasionally when you have tiles on a wall, they’ll settle a little bit and cause a grout line or two to crack. Ours sure did crack, right along one entire row. I’m also wondering if it has something to do with the dura rock seam that’s right behind that grout line. Who knows. Since I went away to my high school reunion this weekend (sheesh…where did ten years go?!) it was the perfect opportunity to fix the grout since we wouldn’t be needing the shower all weekend. I gathered my supplies:
Which included a Milwaukee multi-tool, grout, float, sponge, buckets, and lots of paper towels for those uh-oh moments. Oh, and before I forget, I started this project with a REAL GOOD cleaning and drying. I went all Monica Geller from Friends on the tub and probably spent about 2 hours scrubbing down the shower walls and tub. I know, I know, it’s a little excessive but I LOVE to clean. I mean I REALLY love to clean. Mom, I know you’re thinking “where was this passion when you lived at home for the first 18 years of your life?” Guess it’s just a nasty little habit that I picked up in college. While most kids spend their college years experimenting with alcohol and drugs, mine were spent experimenting with Scrubbing Bubbles and Clorox Wipes. Mmmmm…Clorox Wipes how I love thee! But back to the grout project. After it was completely clean and dry I started to remove the cracked grout with Colby and I’s most favorite, versatile tool ever (which can be bought at NH Bragg at www.nhbragg.com…shameless plug for my day job) the Milwaukee oscillating tool:
It’s like the Fein tool but is part of the whole Milwaukee M12 line so its batteries work with the other tools in the line for a complete system. And it’s cheaper than a Fein tool. Gotta love cheaper without sacrificing quality. The multi-tool worked like a charm and it took me less than ten minutes to remove the entire grout line. After I brushed out any loose grout with a stiff brush, it was time to re-grout. I had plenty of grout left over from this project, which I conveniently saved. This stuff is my favorite:
It’s pre-mixed, water resistant, stain resistant, and perfect for showers. And it’s super easy to use since you don’t have to mix it yourself. I stirred it up and used the float to work the grout into the crack:
I even took the time to touch up one corner of the shower where I didn’t quite fill in deep enough before. Since it’s difficult to work the grout into a corner with the float, I simply used my finger to get perfect results:
After all the grout was filled in, the next step was to wipe down the surfaces removing any extra grout. To do this, fill a bucket with water, take a grout sponge and soak it in the water, ring it out really well (you don’t want water dripping down and washing away all the grout, just the excess), and wipe over your grout:
Hot tip: don’t wipe in the same direction as your grout line if at all possible. Doing that removes too much grout (which is what happened in the corner of our shower). Instead go for an angled wipe approach.
Another hot tip: DON’T dump the buckets of water down your drain or rinse out your sponge in the sink or tub. Do this outside. You DO NOT WANT grout in your pipes. It’s a recipe for disaster and could cause blockages down the road if you do this enough. I even took the bathtub/shower spruce up one step further and fixed the caulking around the tub, where the shower walls meet the tub. Here’s the before:
And here’s the after:
Major difference! When I caulked the tub the first time around, I used a basic paintable caulk that we were using for around windows and doors. Big mistake. It didn’t take long before it started to crack and peel and fall apart. Apparently basic caulk is not meant for shower areas. There are special caulks for that which are not water based and won’t break down. I ran out and picked up a tube at the local hardware store for about $6 and applied it around the tub. This stuff is meant for showers and will not crack or peel from heavy water exposure. It’s even mold/mildew resistant for up to ten years. Anyone else giggling about all the caulk talk?! Just me…ok…I know…I act like a ten year old boy sometimes. So that’s it for my grout story. It was really easy and the touch up had an amazing affect. I heart my shower:
Psst…Did you guys do anything fun and exciting this weekend? Anyone else out there have one of those, oh my gosh I’m getting old and going to my high school reunion moments? Or does anyone share my cleaning obsession and channel Monica Geller? Or am I the only weirdo?!
I couldn’t help it. I just couldn’t resist testing out the new tile on the old temporary bathroom vanity. Check it out with tile style take numero uno:
In reality the tile has a bit more blue-ish, green-ish tint than in the pics. The camera flash washed the color out a little bit. I love how there’s just an oh so subtle color so it’s still a neutral in our oh so bright bathroom. Here’s take numero dos:
I absolutely cannot wait until we can build the real vanity. Hint hint Colby. Just kidding, we still have PLENTY of other projects going on, like, ummmm, the drywall sanding perhaps. Le sigh! Here’s take number three of the tile, this time a close up:
So pretty! Side note, it looks like Colby’s toothbrush is kissing my toothbrush on the cheek! Such a sweet toothbrush!
While at work today, I got a text message from Colby, “What side do I pee on?” What?! And then I thought about it and then it all clicked. So now, here’s how it all relates to my little grout sealing project in the bathroom.
A couple weeks ago with the potential threat of Colby’s sisters coming to visit us (yay for guests….we never have any guests!) I got the great idea that I was going to steam clean the bathroom floor AND finally seal the grout. I’m absolutely addicted to steam cleaning the floor. It’s so fun. I just need my own steam cleaner so I don’t have to borrow my co-worker’s (hint hint for anyone…Colby…in need of a birthday present idea). Here’s what our floor was looking like:
Ick! When I initially tiled the bathroom last summer, I was told by the trusty sales associate at Lowes that I didn’t need to seal my grout if I used this fancy (twice the price) grout. Sold! Come to find out, my white grout needed to be sealed in order to keep its whiteness. The task was tedious, time consuming, and right up my alley. Armed with my most amazing grout sealer ever:
The stuff is called the impregnator and it makes me giggle every time I read the label. The bottle on the right is a an applicator bottle. Check out the action shot:
You end up painting on the grout sealer along all your grout lines, taking a sponge or white cloth over it to soak up any pooling, and then let it dry for 48 to 72 hours. Since it’s our only bathroom I have to seal the grout in stages. I ended up using painters tape to mark off the areas that I’ve done and where to walk/not walk. Last night, while Colby was away and up in the county, I did a huge section along the shelf and marked it off from the door to the toilet.
So then it dawned on me (we’re coming back to the text message here):
“Which side do I pee on” suddenly made alot of sense. He was referring to the runway that I had created in the bathroom and didn’t know what side was safe to walk on and which side was a NWZ (official term for a no walk zone not to be confused with a NGZ or a no Goose zone). But doesn’t the tile look so much better now all cleaned and sealed? Hopefully the sealant helps keep it cleaner or at least easier/quicker to clean!
432 perfectly laid, level and evenly spaced subway tiles…yeah…I take after my mom! We’re perfectionists and it pays off big time when you tile a bathroom shower.
It was your typical weekend project at the Bohovich-Campbell compound. The old (and by old I mean the four month old sheetrock that we had put up temporarily as shower walls) shower walls came out and the new went up. Friday night we spent taking down the sheetrock, putting up the new durock, and laying the first row of tile. Saturday I spent laying the remaining tiles and Sunday was grout day. In the end, we were left with a perfect shower!
Bathroom Tiling Project Stats:
- 70 tile squares laid
- 132 tiny tiles cut with a deafening tile saw
- 6 major cuts on my hand from using nippers
- 2 tiles cut with nippers before realizing that the use of nippers was dangerous to my health
- 3 breaks taken to run up to Timmy Ho’s for a bathroom break (and more coffee)
- 5 different steps into the adhesive with flip flops
- 7.5 hours to finish laying the tile
And it’s done and it looks so good! I can’t say that was an easy project. Combine my desire to achieve perfection with an un-square and un-level bathroom and you’ve got a recipe for a nervous breakdown. Good thing Colby was at work while I tackled this project! But because of the tile design, I was able to shift tiles enough to mask the un-squareness and give the appearance of an even bathroom. Check it out: