Friday, February 10, 2017


The other day I was tiling and came across some issues that are worth remembering, so I've decided to stick them right here. 

There is something so clean and timeless about white subway tile.  I love the way it adds a touch of elegance to the most ordinary of kitchen spaces.  However, it would seem that I have forgotten some very important details about grouting this beautiful tile.  Grouting takes a lot longer than I think it's going to take.  I mix up too much and then feel pressured to finish it all so I don't waste it.

Recently, I installed some beautiful white subway tile in my kitchen renovation.  I finished about 4:00 in the afternoon.  Ambitious as I am, I figured I could nail out the grouting in a couple of hours so I began.  About 5:30 I started running out of steam.  I still had a bit of the mixture left so I continued spreading it.  Oh, I forgot to mention I was invited to my friends house for dinner.  So now I am rushing to wipe this stuff, that's already hardening, off.  My sponge was too tiny for the job and it was taking forever.  By 7pm I gave up.  I knew I'd have to come back with some better tools.

You can't procrastinate when it comes to cleaning grout.  The longer you wait the tougher it gets, literally.  I already knew it would be a tough job, because there was a blizzard on the way and it would be 2 days before I got back to this mess.

A couple days later, after we shoveled out, I looked around my house for something to dig the grout out without damaging the tile. My eyes settled on a tough plastic spoon that was my granddaughter's.  Armed with the spoon I went back to the project.  I wet the tile down good and started to dig out.  I'm not going to lie, it was lame and it took me an hour to do about 10 square ft.  I looked around for a better tool and noticed the wooden handled steel brush I use to clean my paint brushes.  I thought, "The end of this wooden handle seems pretty solid and about the right size and shape to do the job", and whoosh, off to the races.  This is working great!
So I am moving along quickly now feeling proud of myself for being so clever, when suddenly I noticed it was time to leave to go take care of my granddaughter, Skylyn.  Unfortunately, I still have one section of the wall left to do,  the whole left side.  The wooden handle isn't working so good anymore, so I look around once more for a solution.  I decided to gently try the 5 in one painter's tool even though it is metal.  I figure, I'll use the pointy end to break up the grout so it will be easier for me to work it tomorrow.  Low and behold both ends of the tool work fabulous without any damage to the tile! I was able to clean out all of the horizontal lines, now tomorrow all I have to do is the vertical ones, and clean it up!  

     The point of all this is:  
  1. Don't start grouting late in the afternoon
  2. Only mix small amounts at a time
  3. Clean up small sections as you go along and before continuing on to the next section
  4. Clean out the grout gently with the 5 in 1 painters tool before it cures
  5. Use a flat green dish scrubbing pad to clean up splotches and edges of tile.
     These few pointers will save you much hard labor.

Be Positive,