Saturday, February 19, 2011

Renovations: Grout, ugh!

What is the bane of my existence?  What is the most challenging thing to keep clean in a house?  What should never be used in high-traffic or high-mess areas?  You guessed it - grout.  Those beautiful tiny tiles, they looked so pretty in the tile store.  So delicate.  You pictured them in your bathroom, gleaming underneath your feet when you stepped out of the shower.  The soft white colour setting off your new pedicure.  Your dream bathroom.

You didn't realize that those beautiful tiny tiles were actually evil.  Okay, the tiles themselves are not evil, but all that grout, just sitting in wait to collect gunk and grime and dust, it's evil.  Why is grout so evil?
Primarily it is the texture of grout that makes it evil; it's slightly rough making it a dust and dirt magnet.  When it is in high-traffic areas the dust and dirt combine with moisture (cooking oil, shower water, dish soap, etc.) to firmly settle into the grout.  Goodness I hate grout!

So what is the solution?  Accept all of that gunk and grime?  Resign yourself to a life on your knees with a toothbrush?  Re-renovate and get rid of those tiny tiles to preserve your sanity?  These are all possible solutions, but let me suggest the following thoughts:

If you are pre-renovation:
1) For high-traffic areas choose large tiling if your heart is set on tiles.
2) Use tiny tiles for accent or low-traffic areas.
3) Don't choose white tiling and grout (tan, brown, earth tones "look" much cleaner).

If you are post-renovation:
1) Keep grout sealed and have it resealed regularly so it's easier to clean and doesn't stain.
2) Use washable area rugs in high-traffic areas to prevent dirt from being ground into your grout.

Tiles are wonderful.  I love them.  I just hate cleaning grout and I hope that these tips keep you on a path to a beautiful, low maintenance dream home.