Archive for February, 2012
Betcha thought our grouting post was the last time we’d talk about installing our tile, eh? We’ll you’d be incorrect, sir – er, madam? We had a few other less-fun and less-interesting steps once the grout party had wrapped. And since a bunch of folks have asked us to detail the de-hazing and sealing steps… here they are! So stay tuned while I try to make them as interesting as I can. Maybe I should get my laser pointer.
Anyone who has tiled knows that grout often leaves a bit of a hazy film on your tile. We saw it on both the subway tile and the marble floor tile in our old bathroom and this penny tile was no exception. I actually referenced my own post from 2 years ago to see how I had dealt with it then because although we document everything that we do in posts, we usually forget the details – so it’s nice to have them in writing to look back on. In case you don’t feel like reading it again yourself, basically I just used some elbow grease to essentially buff the tiles clean in our bathroom. So once again I broke out a clean rag and rubbed the surface of my tile with a little bit of pressure. You can see it working in this angled shot below. See how the left half of the tile is hazy and the right half of the tile is smooth and shiny? That’s the part I had buffed. We hear cheesecloth is especially amazing, but we had pretty good luck with just a plain white rag.
So yeah, that was a fun task. But it was nice to see the tiles start to get some of their sparkle back. And Sherry followed right behind me and scratched any grout that was around the perimeter of the tile off with her thumb to clean up the circles so they looked like full round tiles instead of hazy half-moons. It actually filed down her nail all the way to the nub (ouch) so her recommendation would be “don’t use your nail, because it hurts – but I don’t know what else to suggest- anyone have ideas?”
Only it didn’t really solve everything. See this close-up below (can you tell this was all going on while we charged ahead on other projects, like hanging the hood?):
Maybe we had gotten a bit lazier with grout sponging towards the end of the task, but we noticed in a bunch of spots that the tiles were looking especially clouded around the dark outer ring. It wasn’t visible when wet, but it dried like the pic above. See how all the dark rings around the circle are irregular instead of all being exposed and looking clean and round? And although Sherry could scrape it off with a fingernail, since we didn’t have 10 billion spare hours to do that to each individual tile (and Sherry had ground both of her thumb nails down) I called The Tile Shop to ask their opinion. They confirmed my guess that I should let Haze Remover do the work. No more buffing and scraping every last tile.
I had been hesitant to use this product previously because (1) why break out another chemical if you don’t need to and (2) it can damage certain types of tiles. But The Tile Shop guys assured me it’d be just fine on our penny tile, so I picked up this bottle for $8 and gave it a shot. Here’s my result:
Is that amazing or what? To save you from scrolling back up I’ll put the before right here for ya again:
There’s still a smidge of that hazy ring in some very very subtle places, but it’s a HUGE improvement. I was also pleasantly surprised by how it brought out more of the tile’s shine. If you look below, you can see my progress line right under the left edge of the hood. See how much shinier it is on the right side of the wall up to that line and how dusty it looks to the left of it?
So yeah, we’re really glad we decided to do the haze remover. Although it was a bit tedious to apply over the whole wall (you basically apply it with a sponge, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and dry it off). But it was actually good practice for the next step: sealing.
The process for applying the sealer is essentially the same (minus the few minutes of wait-time in the middle). The purpose of this step is to seal the grout to protect it from staining (since this isn’t porous tile in our case, so the penny tile can’t be stained), which is definitely an especially important step for a kitchen backsplash that’s sure to see a lot of action over the years. There’s no visible change to the tile/grout after it has been sealed, so sadly I don’t have any before and afters to show you. It all looks exactly the same, but now it’s protected so rogue spaghetti sauce won’t make us shake in our boots. We like that the sealed grout still looks matte, because we like the play of the shiny tile and the matte grout to balance things out. The lack of visible shine on the grout phenomenon also occurred when we sealed our first houses’ bathroom tile and then never had to scrub it once in over a year of use – even before hosting an open house and selling the place! So it’s safe to say they we’re huge believers in sealing tile. Oh but our tip would be to seal it when it’s clean (if you’re sealing an existing kitchen or bathroom) since sealing it when it’s grimy just seals in the grime. Haha.
We also had to caulk all of the edges of the tile. Basically anywhere that the tile met another surface at an angle, we applied some caulk to help keep that seam from cracking. This meant where the tile met the counter, where it met the wall in the corner, where it met the cabinet under the microwave, where it met the door frame and… well, you get the idea. We bought caulk that’s colored to exactly match our grout from The Tile Shop (where we purchased our tile and grout). It’s so nice that they make matching caulk so it all looks seamless.
I probably could’ve snapped more pics of this process, but it was one of those “quick, Clara’s about to wake up and our hands are covered in sticky stuff” tasks. Sherry and I each started on different sides of the counter and worked towards the middle (we met behind the sink) and then Sherry stood on the counter to get the crack up to the ceiling (since she can stand on the counter without crouching like I have to). Meanwhile I worked on the doorway and the side of the pantry. So we don’t have application pics, but at least I remembered to artfully pose the tube next to the finish product when we were done.
So I think we’re now officially done talking about how we installed our tile. Hope this post cleared things up for everyone out there wondering why we didn’t detail the buffing/de-hazing/sealing/caulking steps. We now return to our regularly scheduled, non-tile-related programming.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We’re celebrating with Burger, Clara, each other, and a photography crew in our house for the third straight week. But there’s a twist today: we’re trying not to vomit! Poor Clara got sick the entire evening on Saturday and into the morning on Sunday and now it appears that John and I have the bug… but the show must go on! The good news is that we finished all of our secret projects so we just have to get the last 20 in the can by Friday and we’re done-zo. Oh yeah and we’re supposed to shoot some cover shots tomorrow (ahhhhhhhhhhhh) but we won’t think about that right now. So Happy V-day from our slightly green household to yours! Now let’s horse around a little…
I’ve started to realize that my little self-imposed “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge should probably just be called “So I’ve Been Hoarding Little Animal Friends And Now I Get To Spray Paint Them.” Here’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B. Although, in my defense I’ve apparently been hoarding other things like coat hooks and old light fixtures too, so it’s not like I have a spare room full of ceramic animals. Yet. But I did have these guys that we bought for $2.50 each almost exactly a year ago in Delaware in a whirlwind thrift-store-palooza. And then they sat in our playroom for 12 months. Poor guys.
But I had big plans for these little orange and black sponge painted horse heads from the start. First I gave them a few thin and even coats of primer (slippery ceramic things like this usually do best with some spray primer before any spray paint).
Here they are all primed up and steely gray:
But spring is in the air! So some happy yellow spray paint was just what the doctor ordered.
It took about five thin thin thin coats (more of a mist than a real coat of paint). You really want to just hold the can about 12″ away and keep your arm moving the whole time (there are more spray painting tips for ya right here). After a few days of letting them cure outside in the carport I brought those babies in and put them to work:
Who’s ready for warm weather and cherry blossoms and birds singing? This girl (points to self with yellow spray painted thumbs).
So that’s the story of two $2.50 thrift store book ends that sat in the playroom for a year collecting dust. One more thing off the ol’ list and out of that room. Hurrah! At this rate the room will be empty and ready for a big makeover in about three years. Haha. Kidding. But I still have a ways to go, which is why I love forcing myself to tackle one small thing we week. It’s do-able and not too overwhelming, but it definitely adds up to 4-5 little accomplishments each month along with some other big projects that we’re juggling (like zee book and zee kitchen). Did I just get French for a second? Anyway, the weirdest thing is that sometimes these little projects make me beam the most. How strange is that? It’s the little things.
What have you guys been up to? Are there any other Dude Get On That Already challengers who have tackled things that need to be cleaned/organized/painted/etc? Anyone else trying not to lose their lunch on V-day? Do tell.
***This post is no longer accepting entries – check who won below!***
Just like the auditions on The Voice, random.org had it’s big fancy chair turned around as it blindly chose the winner of this week’s giveaway (I secretly picture random.org like Cee-Lo stroking his cat). Anywho, the lucky winner this week is… Aryn (who thinks she might take Zooey Deschanel wardrobe). Congrats Aryn!
It’s not quite like the moves like Jagger, but this week you can get the jew-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-els like Sherry. Yep, in honor of Valentine’s Day we’re gonna give one of you some of the same bling bling (is that still a saying?) that I’ve bought my Valentine (aka: Sherry) over the past year-ish. First up? LunaCielo, the sweet little shop where I snagged this Cougar-Town-inspired turtle necklace as a “we survived moving” gift. If turtles (or Cougar Town references) aren’t your thing, you can use the $100 credit towards anything in this schoolteacher-who-moonlights-as-a-jewelry-designer’s shop.
The winner’s also gonna get a pair of the Danielle earrings from Kendra Scott that Sherry found under the Christmas tree recently. I bought them for her in turquoise, but you can customize yours in just about any color (and even switch to a silver finish) using the Kendra Scott Color Bar. That even looks kinda fun to me…
Last but not least is a pair of earrings in your choice of color from our long-time friends at Towne & Reese (remember we crashed their studio last summer?). But the exciting thing about these earrings is that they’re named after Clara! Since Towne & Reese bears the names of the founders’ daughters, they name each of their pieces after their friends’ children – and it looks like we’ve made the cut in their latest collection. We’re flattered to have such a beautiful design share the name of our beautiful bean.
- PRIZE: A $100 gift card to lunaCielo, a pair of Danielle earrings from Kendra Scott and a pair of Clara earrings from Towne & Reese
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “I WANT THE JEWELS!” and tell us…
- BONUS QUESTION: … what celebrity’s style do you most crave for your own wardrobe / jewelry collection? Is there one actress, model, singer, or politician (?) that you’d like to raid the closet of?
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, February 15th at 8pm EST or at 10,000 entries (whichever comes first)
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
- PRIZE SHIPS: The United States or Canada (although we do try to wrangle as many international giveaways as possible)
- DISCOUNT: Get 10% off your order from lunaCielo with code YOUNGHOUSELOVE
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday for the announcement of our winner. Good luck…
Note: We aren’t paid or perked for hosting these giveaways, we just do ‘em to thank you awesome folks for stopping in. See our Giveaway FAQ page for more info. Pics courtesy of lunaCielo, Kendra Scott and Towne & Reese