Misadventures in Home Improvement: #$*)@!%# grout sealer



Congrats to Tracy, who won Black Hurricane (Boston Boys #3) by Erica Pike!

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I know, I know – you’re here for a new edition of the Misadventures in Stock Photography. Alas, there isn’t one – home “improvement” devoured my weekend, including the Friday I took off.

It all started a few weeks ago, when, flush on the heels of my great tub caulking triumph, I realized that the grout in the shower needed sealing and decided I could certainly do that myself. Since there were multiple grout colors in the shower, I decided I’d use a colored grout sealer. The colored caulk (Pearl Gray) I’d used was a slightly too dark shade of grey, so I went with the lighter shade – Silver.

No one warned me that, like knitting, there’s a tendency to start a home improvement project and, upon realizing it doesn’t quite look as you’d hoped, carry on thinking that of course it will look better when it’s all done. *cue ominous music*

Picture the shower below with very pale grey (erm, silver, whatever) grout. It looked even worse than you’re imagining.

So I spent last weekend and this past Friday removing the silver grout sealer as best I could, using a micro abrasive (to not damage the stone and grout) and plastic grout brushes. I wore six grout brushes to nubs – sanded grout definitely takes its toll. Friday evening I cleaned up and prepped.

Saturday I started sealing grout again. This time I used “Natural Gray” (from a different store – oh, that I’d seen this before ever laying eyes on the accursed Silver) and an actual grout applicator instead of a toothbrush. The directions said to work in small sections and remove excess grout sealer from the tile before it dried. What that turned out to mean was seal one side of a six-inch tile, clean up the edges with little pieces of paper towel, seal another side, etc. Don’t even get me started on the corners – you can’t really tell in that picture, but the corners are made from six vertical rows of one-half inch by two inch tiles. I think each corner took over three hours.

The whole thing took nine hours on Saturday and ten hours on Sunday. Why, yes, my entire body does ache, particularly my wrists and shoulders. Throughout this (and the grout sealer removal and the initial silver grout sealer application…), I had to keep the glass shower doors closed to keep out the cats. Chaos would periodically come sit on the toilet and meow crabbily at me every time I moved. Saturday evening, he sat there for over an hour, meowing his Siamesesque meow nonstop. Oh yeah. That’s what my nerves needed! (Also, it got pretty toasty warm in there for hours with the doors closed. Ugh.)

At least there wasn’t any cleanup to do after finishing, since I had to do it as I went along. And the Natural Gray looks great – great enough that I’ll probably need to seal the non-shower bathroom tile at some point. Not anytime soon, mind you!

Until Wednesday evening, it’s sponge baths and washing my hair in the kitchen sink. *sigh*


“I am still suspicious that there’s a naughty boy hiding somewhere up there. Perhaps behind the bathroom door in that picture.” -Mayhem