When Lucas and I bought our house in 2006 — just a month before our wedding — we knew it would be a fixer-upper. The house itself is great…huge yard, pool, 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, in a great city, etc.
(Google Streetview is both cool and creepy.)
And since the day we signed (literally — we went to the hardware store and got paint just moments after signing the papers), we have been getting the place in shape. First came the powder room, followed by the kitchen, the backyard fence, the bedroom, both bathrooms…well, you get the picture. Or you will after this:
But from the beginning, the thing that SOLD me on the house has also HAUNTED me. The dirty, dingy and scarred saltillo tile. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent on hands and knees, scrubbing, scraping and praying — trying to get the darn thing clean. But saltillo tile is very porous — and anything that falls on it, even water(!), can stain both the grout and the tile itself. The tile runs throughout our main floor, and with two dogs and two cats, it’s impossible to stay ahead of the mess. So, this is what I’ve lived with for five years:
I know. I am brave for putting this on the Internet.
So, today, Lucas and I decided NOW was the time to tackle the stripping and resealing project in a controlled spot — the kitchen. First, the elbow grease — we used a mixture of vinegar and warm water to scrub the heck out of each and every tile, grout line, nook and cranny. Each tile probably took about 5 minutes, so this was a monumental task. Plus, we had to go back and vacuum in between rounds of cleaning to make sure every speck of debris was off the floor.
It’s so beautiful I honestly got a little weepy when we were done. It’s soft, shiny and will be MUCH easier to clean — the sealer is designed to keep dirt and liquid out, so as long as we sweep regularly, we should be good for a while!
The kitchen took us all day, but cost us $0. We used vinegar (already had), scrub brushes (already had) and tile sealer (left in the garage by previous owners). Because the tile runs throughout the first floor, it’s a tremendous difference, and (if we were counting) is a huge factor in the resale value of the house.
Now the only problem is that the kitchen is gorgeous while the rest of the main floor still has the dirty tile. It will take us another few days to get things done, so I think we’ll be tackling it one weekend at a time. I can’t wait to have it all done!
Are you a do-it-yourselfer? What’s the most ambitious project you’ve taken on?