Tuesday, April 28, 2009

this is how we do it

Tomorrow I put grout sealer on two new items! I'm excited. Sometimes I wish there was a little more instant gratification in tiling. I lay the tiles out and try to see the finished product, but without grout it just looks strange. I get so excited about the piece that I can't stand not seeing the actual end result right away.

It's so not a fast process though. First you have to figure out how to arrange and space the tiles. For me that takes about 4 days. Ok, so not really. But I do rearrange over and over. The tiles slip and slide around till you have them stuck down, so I'm always adjusting a little here and there; knowing the whole time that it's not going to be perfectly straight cause I can't make them stay exactly how I want. Not that the actual sticking part is any better. I twist and turn and nudge the tiles to within an inch of their lives. It's a good thing tile adhesive takes so long to set.

If I get things figured out early enough in the day (rarely...) I can stick them down in time to be able to grout the next day. I got excited once and grouted too early. My neatly arranged tiles were sliding all over the place and I couldn't fix them because I had grout all over my hands. You're supposed to wear gloves, but they get in my way so I just use my fingers. It makes for raw fingers most days.

Ok, off topic. Focus. If I get them glued early enough, I can grout the next day. I always do 2 coats of grout. Call me anal retentive, but I can't stand those little air bubble holes or if the grout isn't the same height in all the cracks. Trial and error have proven that it's a whole lot easier to do one pass and then perfect with the second. But grout has to dry for 24-48 hours, depending on the kind I use. So there goes another day. The actual grouting itself probably takes an hour. Then you have to let it set awhile and clean it off. That takes about another 30-45 minutes.

The next day, the second coat of grout goes on. That's just a repeat of the first coat. The day after that I do a coat of grout sealer. This is important. I use a little paintbrush and I'm all kinds of careful because it's a bitch to clean off places you don't want it. Again, I'm anal and I do two coats of grout sealer. That's another two days.

Then it's done! But man is it a process. The payoff is worth it. I just sometimes get real impatient. Oh, I forgot. If my piece happens to be wood, I have to stain or paint it. Two coats of stain or paint: 2 days. I can usually get my two coats of paint sealer in in one day if I get up really early. Combine all that with the time I spend staring at things in the store, and you've got a heck of a long time for one thing. I guess that's good though because it means that every one of my pieces is my baby. I worked on it and shaped it for days. I watched it grow slowly from parts to a whole.

I try to do things in stages so that I finish something every other day or so. I'll stain a piece or two, glue two pieces, grout a piece (or two if I can), seal a few more and do some admin stuff every day. It makes for a long day, but I always feel like I got a lot done. I have multiple pieces going at one time. Right now I have 6 different things on my work table, all in different stages.

Today was a particularly long day. I was making a custom piece for my sister to give to her boyfriend's parents as a housewarming gift. No pressure...I'm also trying to get back into writing. My blog, obviously, but I'm working on some articles for some different sites too.

Tomorrow is my dog's birthday. She'll be four. I went and picked up her cake and got her birthday presents today. Her cake is done in her colors. Yes, my dog has colors (red & black). It says her name on it too! I don't think she'll wear the party hat I got her, but man would that make a cute picture!

I'm not sure if there was a point to all that. New blog rule: there doesn't have to be a point! I warned you all in the banner that I rambled. You did this to yourself.

1 comment:

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