Monday 11 August 2014

The Art of War...

...against my dirty, old tile grout!

Last week on my Facebook page you may have seen this picture...

Poppy had to take a day off school as she wasn't feeling well but by 9.30 she was totally bored and looking for things to do.  She came into Col's study area and started searching through his books.  Seeing the word ART and some Chinese writing she naturally thought this was a Chinese art book, a bit like an Asian Mister Maker.  She loves to write and paint using Chinese calligraphy brushes and an ink stone, so when she opened The Art of War up she asked, "where are all the brushes hiding"...LOL...of course within 20 seconds she realised it wasn't quite as it had seemed and this book was in fact (to her) as boring as the proverbial and she quickly shoved it back in the shelf.  So this is all very sweet, but where on earth am I going with it???

Well... when I was putting together this post on my secret weapon in the fight agansit dirty floor tile grout I saw this picture as a great segue into what I did and why, read on!  I haven't actually read the Art of War (funnily enough) but Col reads and quotes it often.  I know that he applies the verses to many situations in his life, not just in his past life (21 years in the military) but in business, in finance, in every day life almost (yeah he's weird clever like that).  I also know that the book is applied hugely outside of the military and often the themes of the philosophies are about how to fight wars without actually having to go into battle.  And that is what we were looking at here.  We didn't like the tiles throughout our house as I mentioned here, but we couldn't go the full force and rip them all up.  We didn't have the time, and we didn't have the budget.  So we had to find the weak link and try and make good of a bad situation.

Know the enemy and know yourself.
Your victory will be painless.
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War 10:5.15-16

So let's add this all together and see how I have way too much time on my hands making this stuff up how this all fits together.

Once upon a time, way back when I was choosing the tiles for the bathroom, I had an idea to re-grout or re-colour the grouting throughout the entire house.  I began looking into it and decided re-grouting would be way to much work and I just wouldn't have the time to do it.  So I decided on cleaning and painting the grout instead.  It would give it an instant re-fresh and hopefully wouldn't be too hard or time consuming.
I asked our tile store manager if it would be a good idea, 'No way!  Do Not Do It! Once you start you will have to continue to the end and you will wish you never started.  I guarantee you will want to give up after 10 minutes... it will be an awful job', she said. 
So I asked Col, 'Nope don't bother, it won't make a big difference, and will take forever - just leave them' he said.
I asked at Bunnings if they sold floor tile grout paint, 'No, never heard of it' they said. what did I do?  I ignored them all! 
I researched online, looking into ways to achieve what I wanted to do and about the effectiveness of grout painting (Know the enemy) and found out that Bunnings DO actually stock grout paint and it was only $13 a bottle, (I could possibly apply Know the enemy here as well haha).  So for a whole lot of elbow grease (and know yourself) and a couple of $13 bottles of paint I was willing to give it a go.  And boy am I glad I did. (Your victory will be painless)

 I scrubbed the grout with a grout brush and some disinfectant/mold cleaning solution, (I waited a full day after cleaning them to be sure the grout lines were fully dry) then grabbed the Tile Colourant and threw out the little sponge that it came with - it's rubbish.
 Using a small paint brush and a little pot of the colourant I brushed away to my hearts content, don't worry about going over the lines it all rubs off.
 Then I left it a while to dry, (I waited about 30 minutes).  Once dry I used a clean, damp chux (dish cloth) to gently wipe the surface of the tiles.  Being careful not to rub the grout itself.
((*note - don't buy cheap Chux, the blue dye poured out of a packet I bought recently, buy the real thing, it may have been a bad batch but I've never had that with Chux))

Ta-Da!!  It really is too darn easy!!
((ps - my shoes used to be the same shape, but the one on the right fell apart whilst painting the lounge room that day and is stuck together with gaffer tape in this picture - I had no other shoes with me, so had to improvise.  Yes that's true, and no Col will not be happy that I just disclosed that I wore shoes that were taped together))
I wont lie, it took me ages to do.  But I was just doing 3 or 4m2 at a time between other jobs, prepping/cleaning/waiting for paint to dry (literally) so in the grand scheme of things it's a not that big a job and to me it was a no brainer.
My tiler couldn't believe the difference, he loved it so much he wants me to go and do his house...hahaha!
I have no idea how long this will last, but so far it is resisting any mess that may be dropped on it, i.e I can easily clean the grout if I drop food or liquid in the kitchen.  And for the sake of carrying an extra pot of paint at home for any touch up's that may be required, none needed yet, it's a perfect solution for us right now and makes the whole area look like new. 
So there you have it, I guess anyone can apply The Art of War to daily life, you just have to look at things in a different way!

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