Thursday, October 20, 2011

Installing the Shower Glass Enclosure

The shower base we bought came with a glass enclosure with a sliding shower glass door.  We purchased the DreamLine Sparkle glass enclosure for the DreamLine shower base.  We purchased these items online, so we never saw them in real life prior to purchasing them.  It seemed a little risky to buy such a large purchase online; however, we were pleased with the quality.

We were concerned that we may have some problems installing the glass enclosure because our walls are not plumb.  The glass does not bend and is perfectly square and straight, but our walls are definitely not. 

The shower glass enclosure was very well designed.  The metal frame which held the glass in place was adjustable and allowed for the walls to be up to 1 inch out of plumb.  The glass enclosure was fairly easy to install and worked very well.

We then caulked inside of the shower and installed the shower head and handle. 

Overall, we are very pleased with the results.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Should we install another ceiling beam in the kitchen?

The house is composed of two houses joined together.  In the kitchen, there is one ceiling beam that was used to join the two houses together.  There are three windows in the kitchen, and the beam is in between two of them.  The beam is a rustic solid wood beam, and we are interested in keeping it exposed. 

However, we are wondering if we should add a second fake beam between the other two windows to make it look symmetric.  If we don't add the second beam, we can install the kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling. 

Does the kitchen look fine with just one beam off center?  Or should we add a second fake ceiling beam between the other two windows?

Ceiling wood beam in between the two windows - off center in the room.

The kitchen cabinets would go here. The gray cement board is for the tile back splash above the counter top.

Kitchen wall cabinets could go to the ceiling if we don't add the second fake beam.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Grout Failure and Installing New Grout

Once the grout dried, we noticed that it seemed very chalky. It had been a whole week. so we knew that was plenty of time to allow the grout to dry.  But it wasn't just chalky on top, it was chalky all through it.  We could take our finger nail and actually scratch the grout; that did not seem correct.  The grout should be hard and not soft and chalky when it dries.  There was no way this grout would not crack and fail in the near future; we knew we had to redo it.

The unfortunate part was that we had to remove all of the grout before we could replace it.  This was quite a job.  We used manual tile saws, small nails, and razor blades to pick the grout out in between the tiles.  Our grout joints were small, so we could not use power tools.  We had to be very careful not to damage the tile, as we picked out the grout.

Removing the grout in between the glass tiles was a slow and very tedious job.

It took two entire weekends to completely remove the old grout.  It was such an unpleasant and tedious job that we wanted to make sure that we don't have to do this ever again. So we researched online to find out why this may have happened.  Apparently, its not that uncommon.  The most common reason for this type of grout failure is that the grout was too old.  We learned that grout expires in about one year after it is manufactured, and it turned out our grout was about one year old.  We also wondered if the additive could have caused the grout to fail.

We then did lots of research to find the best type of grout and to reduce our chances of grout failure.  We simply did not have the energy or will to remove the grout again.  We learned of epoxy grout which was more expensive than unsanded grout, but never needed sealing and did not stain.  We decided to use epoxy grout this time.  Epoxy grout is sanded grout, but the particles are much smaller, so it can be used with smaller grout lines.

The epoxy grout worked really well.  It was runnier and a little harder to work with due to its runny consistency.  However, once we got used to it, it was easy enough to use.  It required special scrubbing pads and sponges to scrub the grout off the tiles once the grout had a chance to dry.  This was a little more difficult than using unsanded grout, but it was not too bad.

The epoxy grout dried much faster than the unsanded grout.  By the next day, it dried and felt very hard and solid.  It was not possible to scratch it, and it was not chalky at all.  Finally, success with the grout.  What a relief!

New epoxy grout installed.  It even brought out the color in the natural stone tiles.