(Well, this got hung up in the Draft stage too. It has been done for about two weeks.)
I have learned a bit about grout. Epoxy grout in particular. I learned that the directions in the box aren’t really very helpful. Their first suggestion that the ambient air temperature should be between 70 and 85 degrees is very wrong. Unless, of course, you can apply, float, and clean grout at the speed of Superman. I cannot.
They do say you could put the bucket in the freezer to extend the working time. They did not say that was the only way you are going to get the grout down before it turns into a rock in the bucket.
I opted for a less messy method of grout application than dumping a glop of it over the seam and squooshing it in with a rubber float tool, smearing it over most of the tile in the process. I put the goo into a disposable frosting piping bag, and cut the tip with a pair of scissors so I had about a quarter inch opening. Hubby has a really nice big canvas cone bag for piping the standard grout, but I was worried that the epoxy might be trickier to clean up. Thank goodness I went with the plastic! I piped the grout in between the tiles and then came back and floated it into shallow grooves and wiped up the excess. While I was piping and floating, the epoxy was have a thermo-reactive party in the bucket. When I went back for another bagful, the bucket had super heated and begun to “kick” or cure. I was able to dig some out of the edges of the bucket where it was cooler, but I lost nearly two-thirds of the bucket of grout.
At some point I must have swiped at a stray lock of hair that had fallen across my forehead. I apparently had a glob of grout on my gloves and transferred it to my head and hair. Let’s just say that I have a thinner patch of hair at my temple that is about the size of a quarter. I have also found out that Dove bar soap will indeed wash out epoxy residue from your hair and scalp if applied several times.
I gave up the effort at this point. I did not want to ruin any more grout, as that stuff isn’t cheap, and I was hot and tired.
Once I had a second pair of hands that were much more familiar with the properties of epoxy compounds, the project went much faster. The second attempt found that we still mixed it by hand, and after the initial filling of the disposable bag we stuck the bucket in the freezer. This seemed to slow the thermodynamic process well enough that we could use the entire bucket of grout before the product began to kick over. I piped the grout between the tiles and then Eric followed along and smoothed the joints and did the initial wipe up. This kept the grout usage down and the residue across the tiles to a minimum. I highly recommend this method, especially if you have textured tiles!
We probably would have finished the floor that evening. When the last bucket of grout was opened we found that someone had swapped out the grey colored reacting agent for an earth brown color. It actually looked like someone had completely plundered the container since there were no mixing instructions or gloves that came in the other buckets. Lesson learned there. If there is no safety seal, check the contents before you buy it and drag it home!
This is the finished product! Yea!
The kitchen is on the way back to normal. The safety cleat has been re-installed and the stove is back! The grill and the microwave are nice enough, but I really missed having a stove top and oven!
The cabinet above the fridge needed some serious adjustment. Eric measured it while it was resting on the carpet, and missed the extra bit of the feet or rollers that it sits on. He took off the initial amount of cabinet hoping that this would be enough to make it fit.
Sadly, it didn’t. He had to tear out the supports, take them to work and run them through the table saw to shave off another 3/8″ before the fridge would snug in under the cabinet. Now he has to take the router to the cabinet doors and take off about a half of an inch to make them fit. Nothing is ever as easy as it should be. All we have left are those doors and the base trim.
We even sorted the fridge magnets and have it back to looking normal!