July 16, 2009

When a Regrout Just Doesn’t Cut The Mustard

Sometimes showers are just WAY to far gone to be able to repair or regrout them to an acceptable level.

This shower was in really rough shape.

Notice how in the first picture the floor looks very very rough. It actually felt very rough/sand papery to the touch and it held dirt like crazy.

I’ve seen this in a few shower where the customer had used extremely strong cleaners, over and over again and they wore down the glaze.

Possibly it could have been defective tile but given the right type of chemical over time it is possible to wear away at the glaze.

This particular shower, even if I could get it reasonably clean, the dirt just sticks to it so fast it’s not worth it.

bad shower

Also, notice how thick and uneven the grout lines are in this second picture?

This shower had been regrouted before and would have made the process even more difficult.

bad shower 2

The customer did not even ask me to look at this shower (thank god) but I DID ask if I could take a picture of it =)

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Grout Cleaning & Sealing, Regrouting & Repair, Showers & Bathtubs, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 14, 2009

How To Repair Cracked Grout

Here is a little guide I made on repairing SMALL areas of cracked grout…

Sanded Caulking: a type of caulking (caulking is a rubbery sealant used to seal all the corners and joints in a shower) which has sand added to match the appearance of sanded grout (the grout usually used on tile floors).

This is especially useful when the grout cracked as a result of slight movement or a settling crack when the grout is likely to crack again.

This is not a good solution for large areas but it is a helpful trick around door thresholds and also if you have a very small hole to fill after you do a cleaning job.

The area in question:

grout missing

Close up:

close grout missing

Sanded caulking and sponge being used:

far sanded caulking

Available at Lowes and Home Depot:

sanded caulking

After sanded caulking:

sanded caulking after

After floor has been color sealed to match:

color seal after

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Color Sealing & Staining, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 12, 2009

Tile Removal | Replacement Made Easy (sort of…)

Here are pictures I took from a few different tile replacement jobs.

Here is the basic process:

1. Remove the grout surrounding the tiles to be replaced (this helps reduce/eliminate the transfer of impact vibrations when breaking the tile up)

Dremel tool beind used here:

Dremel Tool Being Used

2. Using an angle grinder and a diamond blade cut and “X” into the tile.


cut tile x

3. Use a hammer and chisel to break out the remaining pieces of tile.


After the tile is removed and pieces have been cleaned up you need to remove the thinset (the cement like adhesive that was used to stick the tile down in the first place) and make the surface flat so the new tile lays flat on the surface.

I’ll make a video about the installing the new tile but I figure this will point you in the right direction.

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 12, 2009

Bathtubs: Be Sure To Clean Under The Soap Dish!

When doing a shower cleaning/restoration be sure to get all the “funk” underneath the soap dish that always tends to accumulate there.

Bathtub before

bath tub after

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Regrouting & Repair, Showers & Bathtubs, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 11, 2009

Ancient Grout Removal Technique

I found this on the web as a “secret” way to remove grout…

Hhhmmm…. doesn’t look to secretive to me… it’s a piece of wood with a nail through it!

Actually, this is how my ancestors in the old days use to remove grout:

old school tool

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Regrouting Before and After

Here is a job a did a while back. They had some stuff in their water that was really causing the grout to turn this orangish-brown color over time.

They didn’t even realize how bad it had gotten until I showed them the end result.

A job like this you could do in 6-8 hours and make between $400 – $600 with about $10 in materials (grout is pretty cheap). Just the right tools and the right know how (along with some sweat =)

Regrout Before

Regrout Before

Regrout After

Regrout After

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Regrouting & Repair, Showers & Bathtubs, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Another Way to Remove Grout – Grout Grabber!

This little shows the “Grout Grabber” in action.

It looks deceptively simple…doesn’t it?

That’s EXACTLY what they want you to think!

What they don’t tell you is you have to hold it very very still to avoid scratching the lines and the blades don’t last very long.

I would prefer to use the “Fein Multimaster” over this thing… but to each his own…

Fein Multi Master:
Using 10k "oscillations" to sand the grout out

Grout Grabber:

Attaches to a sawzall type of tool

Attaches to a sawzall type of tool

Posted in Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

An Old School Way To Remove Grout

Here is a really old way to remove grout… apparently this little document recommends “kitchen utensils” hey… whatever works for ya but I have a few better ways up my sleeve.

Old School Way To Remove Grout

Posted in Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Full Shower Restoration

Here is a pretty nasty shower we did a while back – we actually had a LOT of caulking to remove and even took the whole door off in this case.

Here is a pretty bad shower

Here is a pretty bad shower



Imagine what the home owner had to say to this!
You can expect to make anywhere from $500-$700 for a full size shower like this… all done in a single day!
Even though showers aren’t my favorite they definitely pay some bills.

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

February 11, 2008

Shower Restoration – Grout Removal – Replacement – Recualking

Here is a real garden variety type of job that we do in showers. Typical shower is a few years old (about 4 years old to be exact). The water does not drain properly causing build up of hard water near the drain. Caulking is beginning to mildew and the shower door starts getting a little hard to see through.


before regrout shower stall mildew door

The shower is cleaned using an acid and a special cleaning process to remove all the hard water, soap scum and mineral deposits that have built up on the shower.

Next the caulking is removed. You can clean the mildew out of the caulking to a certain degree but I find that I can get perfect results by removing the caulking and replacing it. Next we remove the grout on the floor and minimally the first rows of grout on the bottom and do our best to blend it in to the existing tile and grout.

This applies mainly to newer showers where the problem is isolated mainly to the caulking and the lower part of the shower. From about half way on up – the shower looked nearly perfect.

It should also be noted that many people call us to “clean” their showers but in my experience it’s very difficult to clean shower grout perfectly. So in most cases the grout is completely removed and replaced in a shower like this.
shower regrout ryobi before

Takes a few hours but you can’t beat the results of that “oh so clean” shower look.

Posted in Regrouting & Repair | No Comments »

February 09, 2008

When to say “no” – Regrouts and Repair + Real Estate Agents and House Flippers

Here is a job I was sent to estimate from a real estate investor. He wanted me to “clean it up”.

This also reminds why I stopped chasing real estate investors and flippers. Early on I figured these guys might have a lot of work available because of all the renovations they were doing.
What I found is that there are exceptions but generally land lords and people trying to flip houses for a profit are happy if it looks good but obviously aren’t in it for the long term and really attempt to hammer you on price. Perhaps this is an obvious statement but it’s worth mentioning.
shower pan leaking through wall
This shower pan was way too far gone. The smell was terrible, the water had completely rotted away the baseboards and was leaking though the other side of the wall where the closet was. The carpet was actually totally wet in the closet.

shower leaking
I told the guy the truth – there was an obvious concern for mildew and mold growth behind the wall and it was way behind any sort of “patch job” he was looking for and that he should call a mold remediation company to take a look at.

leaking water throught he shower walls
I have found house “flippers” to be the worst and real estate agents to be just slightly better. I’ve gotten decent jobs from realtors, have solicited them in the past but they are certainly not the low hanging fruit type of customers.

Here is an interesting read over at Contractor Talk about a contractor dealing with a house “flipper”:

Title: Is this typical for dealing with “Flippers”

Posted in Business & Marketing, Regrouting & Repair | No Comments »

February 05, 2008

When Good Regrouts Go Bad!

What’s a couple of loose tile, right?

grout removal tool

This was a job a while back where I should have know better. I had sent a crew out there to regrout this shower but I hadn’t done a thorough inspection and there were loose tiles. In some places it was just grout holding the tiles in place.

They just kept peeling off and dropping like flies. 70% of the main wall was totally wet.

We ended up charging him for removing the tile and trashing it so it wasn’t a complete waste…
best way to remove grout

This is why I love hate doing regrouts. There are alot more variables, it’s a dirty/dusty job, you make less money than floors BUT there are no shortage of homes out there with nasty, dirty, mildewed showers that love to respond to all my ads…. the saga continues.

Posted in Regrouting & Repair | No Comments »