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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What's in my Tool Box Wednesday & a Story About Our Shower

Today I would like to discuss the Dremel. This rotory tool has various attachments that when attached spin at a high speed. So quickly in fact, that yes, I am wearing safety glasses to protect my eyes from the flying grout. 

Can you keep a secret? We bought my brother an off-name dremel. It was on sale! He needed one over the summer to make some neat concrete Frisbees that he is using for planters. He is on an Ultimate Frisbee team called "Concrete Jungle"  and he needs the dremel to drill the name of his team into the concrete. I hope he likes it! (I don't think he reads my blog but if you do: Mack- we miss you!)

Back to the project: I didn't start out using the Dremel. I started with a scrapper and a utility knife but realized rather quickly that it was going to take forever to cut out the calk and the grout. The grout was applied too thick (and very sloppy) in our shower. Typically when you grout you use a putty knife to spread the  grout between the tiles (in the same manner as putting peanut butter on bread) and then use a wet sponge to wipe away any of the grout that ended up on the face of the tile (the shinny part). Someone forgot that step leaving lots of little spaces for mold to grow and quite frankly it looked like a hot mess. Soooooo I jump in determined to pull it all down and start fresh.  Too bad someone already used a Dremel in this shower (and very poorly I may add!). So poorly that a number of the tiles we nicked on the corners. Ugh! I was feeling pretty sick at this point. 

Safety stop: wear goggles and a mask if you have one (oops!) and keep your bathroom ventilated. Put on the exhaust (we don't have one) and place a fan (we don't have one) in the door way to pull the fumes and dust out.

I took breaks in between drilling out the grout to pull up the caulk with a utility knife and screw driver. Silicon Caulk is a waterproof squishy glue like substance and is typically used to form a barrier between tiles, flooring, molding, etc. in kitchens and bathrooms.  I used the knife to cut around the borders and then used the screw driver to give me some leverage. Then you just pull the squishy stuff out. Make sure you get it ALL! The more I pulled up the more mold I found. And eventually I was sure that the wall behind our shower was completely rotted out. 

I felt a little overwhelmed. I called our land lords, holding back tears, to let them know that I would like them to give me a new shower. I suggested an all in one type shower unit that typically cost between $150 and $240 on the low end (usually less expensive than tile). At first they told me no. He told me that while he appreciates that I was "doing the right thing" it just wasn't in his budget. I asked politely that they re-prioritize the apartment projects and place the shower at number 1. They had originally planned on replacing the kitchen counters and cabinets for aesthetic purposes but I let them know the shower was a health hazard. He said that it just was not something they could do. I said thanks for hearing me out got off the phone politely and cried. I cried very hard. But, a couple minutes later they called back and said they would honor my request and would be able to re-title the bathroom in the next couple of weeks. In the mean time we have some plastic shower curtains up to keep the water in the shower and away from the wall. 

What experiences do you have with a dremel or tiling? 

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