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Hi guys! I am so excited to share this project with you all. I was completely unprepared for how well this would work and the path it would lead me down, so let's jump right in.
A little over a year ago my sister decided she wanted to update her bathroom floors. Her house is only a few years old and the tile is in good shape but she didn't like the look of the contrasting grout. She found a little pen to coat the grout and went to work. That's when she sent me the progress photos below. It took her a few days to finish but she was really happy with the results.
Our house is 20 years old and most of the tile is original. Considering it's age, the home is in pretty good shape, but the bright white tile and grout in the guest bathroom needed a little help. I bought a grout brush and got out the Soft Scrub Bleach and went to town. Sadly, it really just wasn't enough. The mildew and stains had sat there long enough that it just didn't want to budge. I knew that a bathroom remodel wasn't in the cards for us and was a bit disgruntled. I mentioned it to my sister and she reminded me of her bathroom project. I began searching for a similar option and came across the product below. Polyblend Grout Renew claimed to paint AND seal grout. Could it be true? The Microban technology also claimed that I wouldn't have to do this again anytime soon. That was enough to sell me on it, so I was off to Home Depot.
Tackling the shower tile.
The color selection in store is very minimal compared to online, but it was sufficient for me. I picked up a bottle of "snow white" and crossed my fingers. After reading, rereading, scrubbing, cleaning, and spending far more time prepping than was necessary, I got started. Armed with a roll of paper towels, some cotton swabs and a toothbrush, I went to work. You can see my progress in the photo below. It's subtle, but you can tell I started in the bottom right hand corner.
This was tiresome work. I worked slowly, dabbing it on with the cotton swabs, careful to only get it on the grout. Then I'd gently massage it into the grout with the toothbrush and use the paper towel to wipe up any extra. I soon learned that I could afford to go a bit faster as long as I wiped it up right away, but the "paint" dried and cracked on the paper towels and didn't wipe up easily. I had to move quickly and probably went through a whole roll. The snow white color turned out to have a hint of gray to it. I wasn't expecting that but since my walls are gray it worked out fine. The shower looks brand new now. It was definitely $14 well spent, but I wasn't exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of doing another space.
It's been almost a year since and the grout shows no signs of wear or mildew. Admittedly that shower doesn't get used very often, but I have absolutely no complaints so far.
Take Two: The Fireplace
Fast forward several months down the road and I couldn't help but notice that our fireplace grout was very stained along the top. Years of use had left permanent smoke stains on the grout. It's a small space but a visual focal point, so I decided to give it another go. Once again I was off to Home Depot to find a color more suitable for that tile, and came home with this Antique White.
After testing a bit with a cotton swab, I was delighted to see that the Antique White was almost identical to the tile. I decided to take a slightly different route this time and that's where the magic happened. I ditched the cottons swabs and paper towels for just a toothbrush and an old rag. I dipped the toothbrush directly into the bottle of then slowly ran it along the grout line. Then I immediately wiped it down with the rag. Using the toothbrush to apply the product saved me SO much time. And the rag worked wonders over the paper towel. It wiped it off smoothly, rather than smearing it all around. In the photo below you can see the product settling into the grout before I wiped it off.
When I neared the end of the grout lines I simply slowed down and moved carefully. The good news is, using the rag meant that I could easily wipe it off any surface that it wasn't intended for, like the transition piece seen above.
The fireplace took me less than 30 minutes. That includes excitedly texting my sister photos throughout the process and having to clean the black metal surround where I got a little messy. Holy moly, am I excited about this project!. That before and after makes me ridiculously happy. Not only does it look so fresh and new, but the insanely short time period made this anti-DIYer very happy.
As I stood there admiring the transformation I realized it wasn't even lunch time yet. What else was I supposed to do but take on the entire house? Ha!
Next stop, the foyer.
This space is clearly much larger than the fireplace and I finished in just under an hour. By this time the sun had shifted so the photos aren't as clear, but I wanted to provide true to life transformations, so I tried to avoid moving the camera all together. It's amazing how much brighter this space feels now with the slightest change.
On to the master bathroom.
This tile is a little bit different. It's a bit lighter with more of a gray tone and a smoother finish. I started a bit slow here, testing the color and application process due to the variation in tile, and quickly found there was no need. These floors were always the ones that bothered me the most. Because the discoloration was so uneven it looked less like outdated grout and more dirty *shudders*. I now do a happy dance while getting ready in here.
Our little water closet has no natural light so the coloring looks quite a bit different in here, but the tiles are the same as the rest of the bathroom.
Can we pause and admire that before and after for just a moment? Again, I'm over here doing happy dances.
Last project, the kitchen.
This room took the most time because I had so much furniture to move around. By this time of day the lighting was really weird but I wanted to be sure to capture the way it looked beforehand. You'll notice in the bottom of the "before" photo I had already gotten started. The "after" photo was shot the next morning.
I am so excited that I decided to give this product another shot. By adjusting my strategy a little bit, I was able to transform my foyer, fireplace, kitchen, two linen clothes, landing by the backdoor AND both bathrooms (basically my entire house) in less than six hours. If you have outdated tile or stained grout and want an easy makeover, I highly recommend trying this.
Below are a few tips based on my lessons learned along the way.
- Start with a clean space. I ran my vacuum over each surface before starting. If you have a small crevice tool or dusting attachment I recommend using them. They're great for baseboards and tiny spaces. Don't take shortcuts here or you'll end up fighting pet hair and dirt like I did at first.
- No need to pre-treat the tile. (DISCLAIMER: all of my tile is sealed and fairly smooth. If you have a porous or unsealed tile I would be extra careful and do some additional research.) My tiles were mopped about a week ago so the vacuum was sufficient for my project.
- I highly recommend using a child's toothbrush. They're smaller in size and often have softer bristles which allows for more control and gentler strokes. I switched to an adult one with medium bristles at the very end of my project and it was so much more messy that I dug the original one out of the trash to finish.
- Try pushing the toothbrush away from you, rather than pulling it back towards you. This provides better control of the bristles and tends to allow for smoother application.
- Using more product is easier than less. This may seem a bit counter intuitive, but trust me. The more you load up your toothbrush the less "massaging" you'll have to do to get the grout coated. This translates to more fluid motions with the toothbrush and therefore less mess.
- Definitely use a cloth rag to wipe up the access rather than a paper towel. Just be prepared to throw it away after you're finished.
- If you chose a Grout Renew that is darker than your tile, be sure to clean it up right away. After the "snow white" color dried in my guest shower I could see where I'd made any kind of mess. Fortunately I was able to get it off the tile with a Clorox wipe and a bit of pressure from my finger nails, but it was very tedious.
- Lastly, avoid getting this in your hair. If you think it's hard to get paint out, imagine water resistant, sealing paint. Looks like it's time for a trim...
Let me know if you try this *magic* product or have any questions. I can't wait to see how you use it.