Thursday, February 09, 2012

Miss Fix It

Signs it's about time to get back on the bike:

1. You actually start those nagging house projects.
2. You buy power tools to do said house projects.
3. You walk outside, oblivious to the cold, and yearn to be outside longer.
4. Try as you may to NOT eat like you were while riding 15+ hours a week on the bike you still are.... uh oh.
5. You're starting to enjoy the time off.

Yesterday I tackled the grout replacement project in our upstairs bathroom. A few longer showers than normal, a couple of calls to the plumber to pinpoint our leak and I find myself in Bob Villa mode visiting Home Depot to fix it and fix it right. When grout dries out (something that happens to all grout, and it seems to be accelerated in dry Colorado), it needs to be replaced, pronto. Ignore it and that water build up behind the walls will make things worse.

Finding guidance online and confident it was an easy remedy, I headed to the Depot to buy grout and sealant. Two employees were mulling around in the tile section and I got to drill them on what to do and the best way to fix it. Turns out my initial scraping it with a small screwdriver was only going to make it worse. Unless you remove ALL the old grout from between the tiles, it's just going to crack and dry again. Liken the process to tartar build up on your teeth. If you don't remove it all then the new tartar will build up on the old and cause problems: cavities. Or in this cause: water damage.

A couple of hand tools will do the job, but after explaining to fellas the size of the area (which really isn't that big), they recommended a Dremel. And not just any Dremel, the MULTI MAX. With versatility and a grout removing option, it's a homeowners dream tool. And it would cut my workload into less than half. $99 for the tool, $30 for a grout attachment and I was walking out the door confident I could do this myself. I admit, buying a power tool made me feel manly. Tim Allen would be proud. Arf, arf, arf.

I get home, ready to tackle the grout and what do I discover? I need more tools. Like a power cord, mask, gloves and the right adapter. I bought the 1/8 one, and my tiles are much closer together - 1/16". And my premixed grout is off in color. Come on, if I'm going to do this right then it's going to look professional. Ha!

The Dremel is loud. Put it in a ceramic tiled bathroom with acoustics that reflect my next day job singing voice and it is wicked loud. Ear plugs are certainly in order. Makiah and Moonli curious at first by what I was doing have retreated to the back bedroom downstairs, the furthest point from where I'm working.

I get about 30 minutes in and have to head to an appointment. And back to the Depot - turns out I need that grout removing hand tool after all for the right angle seams and caulking. But hey, at least I started! I hope to be regrouting before the weekend.... and before I get back on the bike. We all know once that happens then my spare time is gobbled up by lounging on the couch.

Got any experience with grout and tiles and want to share your tips? Please do!

1 comment:

Camille A. Mather said...

Brian McAllister, in a moment of desperate frustration while on his hands and knees in our bathroom installing our tile and grout, exclaimed, "I would rather be homeless than lay tile for a living!"

Think that sums it up for ya....