Posted by Steven Sawyer on 7/5/2020

Photo by Brett Hondow via Pixabay

You love your tiles. But they don't seem to do your bathroom justice anymore. Ask yourself, is it the tiles themselves, or what's in between that makes you cringe? Is the grout cracked, faded, yellowish or gray? 

Breathe new life into a dirty-looking bathroom tile floor, kitchen backsplash or tile shower by simply re-grouting the tiles and polishing them. Here's how to do it.

What you'll need

  • Margin float
  • Earplugs (if you're using a rotary. It's loud!)
  • Two sponges
  • Safety glasses
  • Two buckets
  • Manual grout removal tool with a carbide blade 
  • Rotary tool or reciprocating saw (not needed for small jobs)
  • Grout
  • One cup vinegar (for polishing)

Step 1: choose the right tool for the job

A rotary tool or reciprocating saw is faster. But you'll have to be extra careful not to damage a tile. And if you don't have a rotary tool, you'll need to buy or borrow. For these reasons, generally, you'll only want to go to this option if you have a larger space to re-grout like a master bathroom. 

On the other hand, removing grout manually can be tedious and slow at times. *Pro tip* For smaller jobs, start with a manual tool. You can always switch to a power tool if you find you don't have the patience.

Step 2: remove the existing grout

Start by putting on your safety glasses and ear protection if using a power tool. Whether using a manual tool or electric, slowly guide your instrument through the in-between, cutting out the grout. *Pro tip* Start in a less seen area of the room like behind the door or toilet. That way, if you do make a mistake (break a tile) when learning how to use the tool, it's less of a deal-breaker, and you won't feel you must replace the tile.

Step 3: mix & apply the grout




Tags: DIY   tile   grout  
Categories: DIY  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 12/15/2019

Photo by Rudy and Peter Skitterians via Pixabay

When you’re prepping your home to sell, your “to do” list can get quite long, quite quickly. Which projects do you really need to tackle before listing, and which are best left undone? Talking to your real estate agent is a good first step, but this guide will also give you the lowdown on what to do, and what to ignore.

Fix Windows and Doors

People do notice if doors aren’t opening properly or windows look a little drafty, and it can be enough to turn them away from the property. These issues are also highly visible. If you ignore them, they can make buyers wonder what other maintenance you’ve put off.

Paint the Walls

A fresh coat of neutral paint does much to freshen and clean the look of your home. It helps buyers picture themselves in the property, and doesn’t cost a lot to do. While painting, repair any drywall problems you see to give the home a ready-to-move-in look.

Electrical Panel Repairs

Your electrical panel and circuit breakers need to meet current building codes. Electrical problems will show up on inspection and can delay the sale of your home, so you might as well fix them before listing instead of after. If you have an older home, call an electrician to see if you need any updates.

Fix Damaged Flooring

Floors in poor condition are a major turn-off to buyers. Install new flooring, even if it’s a cheap type, and your home will look much more inviting. If you are lucky enough to have hardwoods, have them refinished so the home will shine.

Address Water Stains

Water stains are a huge red flag, because buyers will assume you have a water problem or mold is hiding behind the stains. Even if you addressed the water problem successfully, be sure to clear the stains, too.

Skip These Repairs

You may have heard that remodeling the kitchen or bath is an important thing to do before selling, but it is less important than you might think. Research has found that the return on a bathroom remodel in an average home is only 67.2 percent. Kitchens return only 62.1 percent. Make your kitchen and bath look as good as you can, repair anything that is actually broken, but don’t tackle a major remodel.

Another project to skip is adding a sunroom. Sunrooms are difficult to maintain, and many buyers don’t want one.

Prepping your home to sell takes time, effort, and thought. With these tips, you can spend that energy where it will make the most difference, and skip those tasks that will take up too much money or have minimal impact on your home’s value.




Categories: Home improvement  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 2/10/2019

Doing a home improvement or renovation is a great way to add value to your home while learning something new. If you decide to DIY, you can enlist the help of your family and learn together.

But, when youíre taking on a task youíve never done before, thereís a lot that can go wrong. You might go over budget, or the project might take significantly longer than expected. Sometimes we start jobs that we donít have the expertise (or permits) to finish and have to call in a professional sinking more time and money into what was supposed to be an inexpensive renovation.

To help you avoid some of these common pitfalls, weíve provided these tips for running a successful home improvement project so you can focus on your renovation and not on the headaches that come with it.

1. Know when to call the experts

Undertaking a do-it-yourself project can be fun and rewarding. However, some tasks are better left to the professionals. Plumbing and electrical mistakes, in particular, can be dangerous and costly if you get it wrong. You donít want to disregard the safety of you, your family, and your belongings just to save money on hiring a professional.

2. Call the best expert for the job

Call multiple professionals for a quote before accepting an offer.

If you received what seems a very low quote for a job, make sure to call other experts in the industry to see how much they would charge for the job. Getting an unusually low offer could be a sign that the contractor will rush the project or use cheap materials.

Alternatively, if you receive a quote that seems too high, the contractor may have a busy schedule or might not really want the job, so theyíve offered you a price they donít expect you to take.

Regardless of who you choose, see if you can find reviews and testimonials to make sure youíve selected a contractor who is professional and has good customer feedback.

3. Aim high with your budget

When homeowners take on a renovation, they tend to underestimate the costs. To avoid being shocked by going over budget, estimate what you think the total costs would be and then at another twenty percent. That twenty percent could account for damaged building materials, mistakes, or last-minute changes and customizations--all are frequent on DIY projects.

4. Donít work without a design or blueprint

Even for simple home improvement projects, itís best to start out with a plan. Having detailed measurements and drawings to refer to will help you avoid costly mistakes. Weíve all felt the temptation to ďeyeball itĒ when working on a project--taking the extra few minutes to measure and refer to your plan will save you time in the long run.

5. Relax and focus on the results

Home improvement projects can be a source of frustration for many families. If you arenít an expert, itís easy to get angry when things arenít going as you planned. If you find yourself frequently hitting a wall-literally or figuratively--step back from the project and refocus on the end goal, improving your home for years to come.




Categories: Home improvement   renovation   DIY