Oh, grouting. I thought you would be so easy. The next weekend after the fireplace tiling fiasco, we hopped on the grout train. The color I chose was Pearl Grey from Lowe's. Things started off well enough.
The grout was mixed according to directions. It actually was a little too dry at first, so we added a little more water right after I got started applying it and found it was a bit crumbly.
I smooshed it all over the wall with a rubber float, then scraped off the excess with diagonal passes over the wall. Cait and I took turns doing all three walls because that business is tiring.
Then Cait got started wiping the walls down with a damp sponge while I moved out to the living room to apply the grout on the fireplace alcove.
This application was much quicker because there were fewer lines and I didn't have to wipe the grout over the entire wall.
Now this is where things got awful. You know how I said we did all three shower walls before wiping? Yeah, that was a mistake. The grout got too dry on the wall and became extremely difficult to remove. While we were all scrubbing away at the walls, we started to get a little overzealous and made the grout lines way too small. Basically, three of us spent like 3 hours scrubbing and scraping at the walls with various tools including a plastic putty knife and a grill cleaner. I had so much grout so far underneath my fingernails that my hands hurt for a week. And the walls still didn't look good. This was instance number 2 where I wanted to murder everyone.
Meanwhile, the fireplace alcove was coming along just fine because I wiped things down in a much more timely manner. The picture above shows the difference between the second and third cleanings.
And so Saturday ended with me in a very bad mood and extremely dissatisfied with how things had turned out. During all the scrubbing I had noticed a couple places that had been missed with the grout and also that the grout was very crumbly in the areas where we had initially applied the too-dry grout. So I knew I would have to do another layer of grout the next day.
This second application went SO. MUCH. SMOOTHER.
Before applying the new grout the next day, I took a thin piece of metal (the scraper part of the grill brush) and knocked out all the loose looking grout. Then, I only did one wall at a time before wiping it down with the sponge. This is also when I realized our mistake about the size of the grout lines. I felt 100 times better about the look of the grout after this.
After a couple of days, I then applied some sanded caulk that matched the grout color to all the seams both in the shower and the fireplace alcove. Doing this was a hot mess as well. That stuff is hard to work with and the dark color made any smears extremely apparent. I used masking tape to try to contain things where I could, which helped a lot, but I still had a lot of clean up to do.
After the caulk had dried for a day, I applied sealer to the shower tile to help protect it from water and dirt.
Then I could finally say I was done with this stupid tile.
As annoying as it was, it did turn out pretty nice looking.
Now let's just hope I never have to tile anything ever again.