Friday, September 29, 2006

Grousing and Grouting

I love my house, I really do. The layout is wonderful and the land is divine. There are a few things that don't exactly suit my taste, but those are certainly within the scope of several DIY projects. My current project, which I have spread out over many weeks, is the kitchen floor.

In recent conversations with our neighbor, I discovered that the man from whom we bought this house was a bachelor when he built it, which explains a lot, including (possibly) why the kitchen floor is made of faux brick tiles and cement-colored grout. (I mean this totally in jest! My dad lives alone and his home is immaculate, so I realize that "bachelor" does not equal "slob. ") When I consider why someone would choose faux brick tiles, I imagine that his logic must have gone something like this:

Brick is primarily an outdoor surface.
Outdoor surfaces generally do not need to be cleaned.
If I put brick tile on my kitchen floor I will not have to clean it.

When we moved in the kitchen floor was absolutely filthy. It had recently been mopped so there were no big chunks of food or anything, but the grout was so dirty in some places that it was black. There was only one thing to do: get down on my hands and knees with scalding water, floor cleaner, and a scrub brush. In the several weeks that it's taken me to complete this project, I have emptied at least 20 buckets of black water. I should note that the faux brick is expansive. It is not only in the kitchen and eat-in area, but in the connecting entryway from the garage and the hallway to the master bedroom.

It was amazing how obvious my progress was. You could actually see, just with a quick glance, which sections had been scrubbed and which were still waiting the treatment. And then Jay had to go out and buy grout cleaner, which is essentially just an enormous tube of Wite-Out, and sealer. So just when I finish scrubbing every square inch of floor, another project looms ahead.

Here's a picture of pre-cleaner and post-cleaner, side by side. Keep in mind that the dingy half is sparkling compared to what it was before.
There are other things I'd like to do around my house, but I have a feeling that I'll be bonding with my kitchen floor for at least a few more weeks.


Jennifer said...

Wow! That is really impressive! I'm glad you included photos, because I couldn't imagine what faux brick tile looked like. And I bet your analysis of the motivation behind putting in such a floor is right on the money.

TLS said...

That is truly amazing!! Want to come to my apartment???

anna said...

Ugh....and can you imagine it in your bedroom and half bath as well! That's what was in our house. I'm glad I never started that cleaning project! Oh wait a minute...3/4 of the stuff wasn't even cemented down! I'm not a huge fan of cheap laminate but there were several times I wanted to just get the peel and stick stuff and slap it on top of that ugly floor!

MB, you are one ambitious woman to do such a project. My question though is this...since you will have bonded so well with your floor will you be sad to see it go when the time comes. ? :)

Anonymous said...

At least you can see your progress. I'd go insane with such a big project and no easy way to measure results.

Jenny said...

the only good thing about it is the noticeable progress. I don't like to clean (as you can tell when you visit my house) but I *do* like projects where there is an obvious difference...

Darby said...

Wow! What a big job!

Kat E said...

Impressive, indeed! Wanna come scrape the black stuff off the grout in my shower? (I try to keep up with it...but I think it comes from my husband and that's why it keeps coming back) ;)

Mary Beth said...

TLS--Yes I do, but not to clean your floors.

Anna--I think we'll have this floor long enough that I'll be more than ready to see it go when it's time.

Dave and Jenny--The kicker is that the "noticeable progress" aspect of the project causes my OCD tendencies to show themselves, and it's not pretty.

Ritz--I don't do showers. On the other hand you could cut him off from the shower, but that introduces a whole different set of problems, doesn't it?

Thanks to everyone for your compliments! The project is now finished and, thanks to the OCD, I'm moving on to the laundry room tonight. Fortunately it's a much smaller space.