Here's the surround tiled and ready to go:
We decided to use sanded grout because it was recommended based on the size of the spaces between tiles- we used 1/8" spacers when tiling. Non-sanded grout is recommended for smaller grout lines. We also considered epoxy grout because it's supposed to be more watertight and stain resistant than traditional grout, but the fact that it's WAY more expensive than sanded grout, it's not available in our local hardware and box stores, and is considered stickier than regular grout (and therefore more difficult to apply) made us decide that plain ol' sanded grout was the way to go for this project. We wanted to use grey grout, and were aiming for something very light grey, almost silvery. What we ended up with was a color called "Delorean Gray"- a lightish grey with no brown tones whatsoever that's available at pretty much every Home Depot on the planet.
Here's what I learned about grouting by doing this project.
1- It's really really REALLY easy. Smoosh grout into lines. Wipe lines with damp sponge. Ta-da!
2- It's really really REALLY messy. Even with putting liner in the tub, I still spent a significant amount of time scraping dried-up grout bits that fell off my float and onto the tub.
3- It requires a lot of visual concentration and hand/arm stamina but no brain power. Hence sore muscles.
4- It goes a million times slower than you think it will. I think by the time all was said and done I had spent about 14 cumulative hours standing in that tub, grouting.
And here's what it looked like after those 14 cumulative hours.
|That's looking more finished!|
One problem. We chose the grey grout to do two things- break up the giant swath of white that wraps around our bathroom (between the tub/shower, toilet, vanity, and beadboard, it's a lot of white in there), and keep the grout from looking dingy. We didn't consider that using grey grout would leave a very noticeable haze on our white subway tile.
From what I understand, grout haze is a pretty common thing. Ours might more accurately be called grout haze plus schmutz.
To quote Jimmy Fallon and Channing Tatum, "EW!"
So to remove said grout haze plus schmutz, I had a party and invited a gallon of water, a clean sponge, an old rag, a nylon brush, and this stuff, which essentially etches the junk to the point where you can wipe or scrub it off of ceramic tiles:
Worst party ever. Sure, the schmutz and haze came off the subway tile, but only with extensive scrubbing and wiping and scraping. And to keep from damaging the grout that was where we wanted it, each tile had to be scrubbed and wiped and scraped individually. This part took approximately another 12 cumulative hours to complete.
But oh, the results were worth it. Excuse me while I go pet the pretty tiles.
|Clean lines. (Poor photo editing)|
|Finished bullnose edge.|
|Interior corner, lookin' sharp.|
|Lookin' mighty fine. Ignore the nasty drywall, if you please.|
|Look at that shine!! So pretty.|
Overall, I think the grey ended up a little darker than I had envisioned, but I'm still plenty happy with the effect of grey on white, and would've gone the same route if I had it to do over again. We are getting so close now! I can finally see the light at the end of the five-month-long bathroom-reno tunnel!!