Grout Removal

Nothing much exciting to write about on the biking front lately.  I was off work last week, and didn’t do much biking, but this week I’m back at it again.  August has brought some slightly more pleasant weather so far, but still not much in the way of rain, other than the occasional torrential downpour.  In other words, business as usual for mid-summer in Maryland, more or less.

Been doing a little bit of work in our master bathroom lately.  We decided to re-grout the bath tub and shower area, because a lot of the old grout was either in bad shape or gone altogether.  Also, the shower door, likely a 1950s original, was shot (the rollers at the top were corroded to the point where they wouldn’t turn any more).  The first step to re-grouting is to remove the original grout.  According to everything I read, there’s no getting around this step, if you want the new grout to last.  Problem is, grout removal is a slow, boring, dusty job.  Over the course of the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours with my Dremel and my cartridge respirator, grinding away at the stuff, and I’m still only around 75% done (granted, this is a larger than average job, with 3 full walls and ceiling fully tiled – probably around 100 sq. ft. of tile).  The good news is, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This tile was initially challenging to work with.  Dremel sells a specialized grout removal bit and guide, but I couldn’t use their system because my tile was too close together.  I would end up grinding away the edges of the tile along with the grout.  I ended up using the Dremel with a right-angle adapter and a diamond wheel.  It was skinny enough to get into the gaps between the tile, and relatively easy to control, although there have been a few spots where I’ve nicked the tile glazing.  I’ve completely worn through one diamond wheel and am on my second now.  Looks like the entire job is going to cost me two diamond wheels.  Fortunately they’re not all that expensive — around $17.

Once we’ve re-grouted, we’ll replace the faucet handles and trim, the shower head, and the recessed light at the top of the shower, then install the new shower door, which we’ve had since last September.  I think the end result will look pretty nice, but this isn’t a job I would want to do again.  If we ever redo the other bathroom, I’m going to argue in favor of ripping out the (beautiful 1950s retro-pink) tile and re-tiling.

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