Monday, July 20, 2009

How To Grout a Tub Enclosure

Before/DuringAfter
I
Notice that there are cracks and separations in the tile grout while showering. Think, “this should be patched,” but promptly forget about it upon exiting the tub.
Repeat for at least six months.
Determine the time has come to stop slugging around a necessary bit of home maintenance.
Drive five or six miles to hardware store in town. Search fruitlessly in plumbing section for twenty minutes before being directed to opposite end of the store by overly busy store clerk. Find endless array of caulking and grouting material but notice that store clerk is no longer to be found. Buy something that seems suitable.
Return home and read the directions on package--that old grout must be scraped away, a job facilitated by a soak with mineral spirits.
Drive back to the hardware store and find no cans marked “mineral spirits.” Find clerk to enquire about this and learn that “odorless paint thinner” is the same thing. Look skeptical, slightly offending overly busy store clerk, but buy it anyway.
II
Now that necessary materials are in hand, begin the prep work. Soak offending groutless or cracked areas with mineral spirits and scrape with a grout scraping tool.
Notice that some areas of the tub wall are actually somewhat bouncy. After four tiles implode at their intersection, pull them out.
Find soggy and crumbling drywall behind the tiles.
Call for professional help, leaving frantic message since it is the Friday evening starting a holiday weekend.
Enlist husband’s help and continue to pull tiles as dry wall crumbles into tub, leaving view of moldy insulation.
Put tiles in buckets. Add soap and hot water to soak off backing.
Scoop drywall pieces into bins.
Vacuum small dust and debris from tub and bathroom floor.
Vacuum the rest of the house since debris and dust is now tracked throughout.
III
Have professional assessment of job to be done.
Since front and back walls of tub enclosure are intact, decide to reuse existing tiles even though that means removing old adhesive. Also decide to replace bathroom window, something in need of doing for several years now..
Make pile of old tiles and begin scraping adhesive with razor scrapers.
Repeat for several days .
Resist discouragement even though:
“To do” pile and “done” pile balance shift is incredibly slow,
Muscles are sore and wrists are achy,
Husband threatens to put V-chip on home improvement channels.
IV
Continue scraping, now at a more frantic pace since professional is replacing the insulation and putting up special water resistant sheet rock on open wall.
Continue scraping at even more frantic pace as professional is now starting to re-attach tiles.
Watch the grouting process take what seems like no time at all.
After tub is grouted wait another day.
Forgo shower for two days after tub is caulked.
Clean bathroom.
Wait a week for window installation.
Clean bathroom again.
Pay professional $800, an amount worth every penny.




1 comment:

  1. a great find for panda fanatic!
    my roommate and i LOVE this bag
    hkpanda.freetzi.com

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.