Thursday, October 12, 2006

Grout Sucketh

Removing grout sucks with a suckiness that far exceeds previous records set by all things that sucketh.

Are you getting the point? Removing grout SUCKS!

I have written about this before, but I'm writing about it again. After all, It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, whine if I want to, WHINE if I want would whine too if grout happened to you....whoowhoowhooowhoooo (hey, the lady that sang "It's my party" was named Lesley/ie, so I'll steal her song if I "want to").

I took a personal day Monday to paint. Scratch that. I took a personal day on Monday to paint, but MotH decided I should finish removing grout. Let the record show that the following events are all HIS FAULT.

I approached the shower stall (master bath) with a mixture of dread and anticipation. This would be the day of my deliverance! No longer would the dreaded spectre of old grout hang over my head! I would be a liberated woman! I will run my ventilation mask up a flag pole as they did with bras in the 70's! Freedom was mine! I could smell it.....and it smelled like lots of dust!

At 9am on Oct. 9th, I stuck ear plugs in, put on a shower cap, some pregnancy leggings (no matter WHAT you do, you must always be dressed!!!), an old Cancun t-shirt, my respirator and stepped into the shower to get to work.

It seemed easy enough: use a Dremel and a grout removal bit to devour the grout at about 6000 rpm (which brings me to a side point: exactly how do they know that it rotates 6000 times per minute? Why not say 10,000? Or even 50,000,000? I mean, don't we have to sort of take their word for it? Could anyone actually count the rotations? They're probably yuckin' it up at the ol' Dremel plant that we're buying into the 6000 rpm thing) . And it would have BEEN easy, had the yahoos who built our house bothered to actually SPACE the tiles. Instead, my poor Dremel screamed (I could have recorded it and used it for Halloween) in protest as it fought through the smaller-then-they-should-have-been gaps in the tile. The bit kept getting pulled out, so I had to constantly stop to re-insert it into the Dremel....resulting in a rather sore thumb AND blister. Finally, I reached the bottom on the wall (mind you, I had already invested about four hours in grout removal.....before buying a new Dremel to replace my cordless one, which kept losing it's charge).

This is where things began to get a little dicey. We had caulk.....a LOT of the base of the wall. Dremel grout removal bits don't like caulk. It quickly boa-contrictered itself around my bit and snapped it. Grr.... This means I have to NOW go to Home Depot, dressed like a mid-80's nightmare (the leggings) with dusty hair, no makeup and a bloody spot on my cheek from a zit I lost a battle with.

I get TWO new bits (being proactive) AND some caulk removal gel and head home, grateful I didn't run into anybody I knew. MotH removed the shower door for me and I went back to work. I used the caulk removal gel. Have I mentioned yet that caulk removal gel doesn't actually remove caulk? Rather it turns it into snot-like white goop that is only slightly easier to scrap off then normal caulk.

Finally, a couple of hours later (I sort of lost track of time....I'm blaming it on the enormous quantity of dust I breathed) the caulk was gone. VICTORY WAS MINE!! I had triumphed over the white snot!!! I put my new drill bit in and got back down to business......or I would have, if I hadn't noticed that my bit, which previously spun in a nice, straight line, was now wobbling about as though it had spent a little too much time on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

MotH carried the wounded soldier down into our sterile exam room (a.k.a. The Garage) where he pronounced it a field casualty. I would need to go for a new recruit at Home Depot.

Off I go BACK to Home Depot. I am still as lovely as before, only THIS time I also have the aforementioned white caulk-snot hanging from my rear (a fact I failed to notice until I was leaving the store). This is where my day began to look up. Buried among clearance items was a Dremel kit made for decorating candles. I asked a Home Depot guru (he had the orange vest on, so I was confident this was a schooled professional in all things Dremel) if the Dremel was the same Dremel they had in "Tools". He assured me it was. Snickering quietly to myself at all the fools that purchased a regular Dremel for $59.99, while I scored a VARIABLE SPEED Dremel (VARIABLE SPEED, I TELL YOU!!) for $49.99, I made my way BACK home to finish the job.

Finally, at six p.m. that night.......some NINE hours after I first donned my shower cap, I stood up and admired my grout-free shower. I could practically hear the "Halleluia" chorus coming from the tiles, having been freed from their bondage of old, decaying grout. I had been their liberator. The grout statue had been tipped!. It was exhilarating.

Or it would have been if my back hadn't felt like I'd spent the day moving pianos, my hair hadn't been matted with 17 tons of grout dust and my eyes full of grit. I'm still waiting to cough up a brick, from all the dust I inhaled (and this was WITH the "safety" gear I had to wear). I drug my pathetic body into the shower, made a fast dinner and crashed on the couch.

But I had done it! I fought the grout and came out a victor! Unsanded grout is no match for me and my trusty Dremel.

The final tally is as follows:

THREE Dremel tools (the first cordless version, which was replaced after when it kept running out of charge only a couple of hours into the job, the second version that died when I snapped the bit and the third, my "score" on the clearance rack at Home Depot)
FIVE Dremel grout removal bits
TWO bottles of Caulk-to-Snot gel
ONE back
ONE blistered thumb (have I mentioned how much it hurt??)
COUNTLESS prayers for patience

We've pretty much decided to put a new shower/tub unit in the hall bath. It has the same tile our master bath had, only a lot more of it.......I suspect the same yahoos installed it, so I don't hold out any hope that it would be easier to remove.

Next up: grout REAPPLICATION. I feel certain that nothing can go wrong with that!


Colleen Coble said...

I laughed all the way through this! We only have to replace one little tile. But if you're putting in a whole new shower/tub combo, you don't have to remove the grout the way you did when you're saving tile. This time your husband can wear the blister on his hand with the CROWBAR! All he has to do is pry those babies up. They actually tear out pretty easily when you don't care if you break them. :)

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