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You’d think that after skipping last week’s Dueling DIY update, I’d be all BAM, look at my fully-grouted kitchen walls. But then you’d be very wrong. Optimistic, of course, and I’d be grateful for that… but still wrong.

No, all it seems I managed to do was this:

Awkwardly lit corner, snapping a pic at night = horrible flash photo.

Which wouldn’t have even happened at all if I hadn’t just forced myself to do it “real quick” under the premise of needing to have something to be updating you about this week (I guess then I can be happy that the whole idea behind this, however minuscule in actual progress this week, seems to be working!). “Real quick” is an argument I often make to myself when I need to dredge up energy and motivation somewhere in my body to just do it already. I promise myself it will be “real quick” and will get to do the thing I’d rather be doing right after.

Funny how “real quick” then often turns into either me procrastinating even more (“I’ll just watch this one episode real quick… or a marathon, that works too…”) or skipping dinner and working on a project all night (“I’ll just put up the first row of tile real quick… or bail on my date & keep working on this…”). I’ve pulled this trick on my psyche so often, I don’t know whether to be proud of myself for being such a brilliant con artist or to be disappointed at myself for being such a gullible fool all the time.

I guess a lot of this lack of motivation can be blamed on my hatred for grouting. I didn’t hate it all that long ago, but after my third tile project in this house, I find myself dreading this step. Especially when it’s the only thing standing between me and a finished backsplash (there’s caulk too, but when I think about it, it’s almost as if that’s not even a thing… I find caulking to be nearly effortless – go ahead and snicker at that). Maybe it’s also just the way projects always go… you make progress in waves. There’s a natural ebb and flow. One week I’m super productive, with tons of energy, and the next I am thrilled that the new season of Archer is now on Netflix and I can binge-watch as my grout still sits in an untouched bucket downstairs.

AND THEN… I am kind of glad that I waited, since I actually ran into a little bit of an issue. I decided that since the whole process of using pre-mixed thinset (which to be clear, is more like mastic than true dry mix thinset and not meant for wet areas, just fyi) was so easy and hassle-free, I would try pre-mixed grout as well. Up until now, I’d always mixed my grout. So being a pre-mix grout first-timer, I ran into a few unanticipated issues:

For one, this grout is sanded, not unsanded, the way I’d prefer for my 1/16″ tiles. The label doesn’t mention this clearly AT ALL (just a small description in tiny print on the back of the bucket), but I should have known better before yanking it off the shelf and leaving the store. It really didn’t seem to make much of a difference as far as ease of install, and a day later seems perfectly fine for the long haul, but something definitely worth noting (for instance, this would NOT be an ideal product if I’d chosen glass tiles, since the sand would scratch and dull the tile surface, but for ceramic, is just fine). Usually for 1/16″ spacing, you want to use unsanded grout, which is what I did in the upstairs guest bath.

For another, the grout isn’t as white as I would have hoped. Even though the fuzzy cell phone pic I took isn’t the best quality, the color of the grout is a little truer here. I wanted the tile and grout to blend a little more seamlessly. I think the texture is part of it (again, sanded grout) but the truth is that the grout appears just slightly grayish, not white. It’s not going to be enough to bother me I think (and I’d even considered going with a gray grout at one point anyway), but there’s always what I wanted versus what I got. So if I did it over again, I wouldn’t really consider the whole don’t-have-to-mix benefit to be the winner over color and texture. Those things are more important.

Upside? I can technically say that one out of three walls in the kitchen is grouted. Only two more to go. Real quick.

See? Con artist.


Alrighty! Time to see what you’ve all been up to. And Carrie has been sending me texts all week of her progress (perhaps to make me feel even less productive in comparison, or it’s just that she’s simply excited she’s so close to templating her countertops). So go check out what she’s up to and let her gloat about winning this week. And last week, come to think of it. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

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  1. Gloat. Gloat gloat gloat gloat. GLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAT!


    Looking good, lady friend.

  2. I am SO GLAD that I am procrastinating and reading your blog right now (“just one quick read” is my “real quick”). As a complete novice, I purchased premixed grout for my stone and glass mosaic. I’m going home after work and reading every line on the back of that bucket. That could have been a HUGE error! Thank you x 1,000,000,000!

  3. AH I hate grout! It is the worst part of tiling, and I hate cleaning the haze off of tiles when your done. The last time we tiled we used grout caulking (not sure if that is what is “officially” called), basically grout in a tube. It was so easy to use, and quick to clean up. I think I will be using it in our master bath when we ever get around to doing that.

  4. Your “real quick” made for a long (yet always interesting) post. I am concerned you are going to continue to tile and not be happy with the grout–the one you really didn’t want. You have put so much time into the kitchen and then to not have what you really want….is there any way to fix the small space? (Dumb question perhaps..I just hate to see you do the big parts then be pissed it is not what you had REALLY wanted.) Just putting it out there “real quick” before you jump on it “real quick”. And I thought maybe Archer was a cousin to Dexter. No such luck—I don’t think I could handle a cartoon. Not since I was 20 something and watched The Simpsons. We are on are last episodes of Dexter (insert sad face here) and then we’ll have to find a new obsession…well follow ups with new seasons…House of Cards, Orange is the New Black…hmmm???

    1. That is “our last episodes” as I hate using the wrong form/spelling of a word! You may see more but I’ll let those go–migraine.

  5. I know you’re slowly getting your kitchen done. Sometimes it’s amazing how one day something is planned, but then something else comes up that’s a little more important. Then you get busy doing that and your last project you had planned still hasn’t been done! It’s all like a puzzle! One piece at a time and it’ll eventually be a completed puzzle!

  6. I like to think as the natural ebb and flow as the universe making sure to keep our egos in check. Because if every week were super productive we would be so full of ourselves!