Finally! After 18+ hours of work, the hall bathroom tiled shower walls are re-grouted and re-caulked! Now that my hands and my sanity have had time to recover from that project, lets take a look at some great before, during and after shots.
As you may recall, my minty green hall bathroom has a history of moisture issues. When the second owners of our house replaced the original vent fan, they installed it incorrectly which basically made the fan make a lot of noise but not really suck any moisture out of the space. After about 15 years of this, the bathroom had suffered some icky side effects, the worst of which was the deteriorating grout and caulk in the shower.
Since we’ve already replaced the fan with a quieter model that actually works correctly, the next step was to fix all of the missing and perma-moldy grout in order to avoid further water related issues from moisture getting behind the wall tiles.
If I was going to do this tedious job, I only wanted to do it once, so I decided to remove all the grout from the entire shower surround area and re-grout using the same anti-microbial, waterproof SpectraLOCK Epoxy grout that I installed in my pink bathroom remodel to make sure I wouldn’t have to worry about the condition of the grout in the shower for a very very very long time.
Before I removed any grout, I made sure to give the shower walls a good scrubbing to clean off any gunk or scuz on them. This way I could be sure that nothing icky would be hanging around for when it was time to re-grout the tiles. The next step was to remove the grout. The SpectraLOCK website suggests removing half of the depth of the old grout before re-grouting for maximum adhesion. I started working with a hand grout saw like this one from Menards, which worked fine but after a while the blade started to dull and my hand started to ache. Surely there had to be a better tool for removing a lot of grout at once. Enter this grout removal attachment for my Dremel tool. Using a high speed mechanical tool on my thin grout lines made me nervous. Some grout lines were too thin for the Dremel bit, but it did blast the old grout out of the normal to wider sized grout lines much more quickly and easily than using the hand saw. It also makes a lot bigger mess (make sure to wear proper safety equipment during the grout removal process!) For the super thin grout lines I used a utility knife with a sharp blade to scratch out the grout. Removing all of the grout from every square inch of a shower surround is not a job that you’ll want to do all in one sitting. I broke it up over three weekends and worked for about 5 or 6 hours at a time until the job was done. Midway through the grout removal task I was wondering why I chose to torture myself with mind numbing, torturous, hand killing boredom like this, but then I reminded myself that I also hated the look of moldy and missing grout and so I soldiered on.
In addition to removing all of the grout, I also scraped off all of the old caulk and some yellowy stain splashes that ran the entire length of the trim around the door. Apparently someone was careless with the stain when they replaced the likely rotten original trim for the new trim that we have now. Yellowy stains are not a good look for a white tile bathroom. These three skinny pieces of tile at the bottom corner of the tub must have suffered some water damage because they were all unglued from the wall and held in place with a massive amount of caulk. I pried each tile out one at a time and then scraped all of the caulk off each one before breaking out some leftover mortar from my pink bathroom project to re-adhere them to the wall. In my haste to clean up this part of the tile, I didn’t take a before picture, though you all would have gagged at the sight of it, so in hindsight it is probably a good thing that I didn’t.
With all of the grout, stain and globby caulk removed and dusty mess cleaned up, I gave the tile a good wipe down with a wet rag and then got to work taping off the tub to prepare for the epoxy grout. Since epoxy grout will bond with whatever it touches, it is very important not to allow any to dry on the tub or anywhere else except in the grout lines or it may not ever come off.
The shower looks as good as it probably did when the house was built in 1962. Now the shower feels clean, for the first time since we owned the house. No longer will I be ashamed at the state of our hall bathroom shower or have to explain to our guests that yes, I really did clean it before they arrived.
I was careful not to use too much caulk on this skinny strip of tile between the trim and tub. It is amazing how much cleaner this part of the tile looks now! The whole project cost me less than $100 — though it took quite a bit of time to get the job done. In the end, I’m happy I did it this way, but for anyone that only has a small amount of missing or moldy grout and doesn’t want to take on a project of this magnitude, using a hand grout saw or utility knife to scrape out the problem areas, re-grout them and then seal the grout is a very doable solution.
Several of the floor tiles are missing grout as well or are broken or loose. While I’m not ready to start Phase 2 of the hall bathroom remodel yet, I do need to start thinking about what I’ll use to replace the floor tile in here. Until then, I think I’ll tackle a few outdoor projects, and enjoy some of the warmer months outside this year instead of stuck inside in a bathroom.