Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bloom's DIY Series Kitchen Redo: Grout Paint Fail.

Ok guys. Major project fail confession time. As you know, I'm currently in the middle of a huge DIY Kitchen Redo project that we've been sharing with you here on the blog. This is the first project in our brand new, first-ever DIY Series. We've already posted the first entry, which involved painting the kitchen cabinet interiors. It was a piece of cake and went as planned. Another project, however, did not.

Have you ever tried painting your tile grout? If you have dirty grout, or are not happy with the current color of your grout, there a few products that will help you refresh and renew tile grout. I've actually used this product before, on a previous DIY project, a cute bathroom renovation I did for Happy Now. That project also went perfectly and was a piece of cake. You can read more about it here. Using the experience I had from that project, I wanted to apply it to a cool idea I had for the grout in my kitchen. I love the look of subway tiles. I find myself constantly scouring Pinterest for beautifully finished kitchen backsplashes and bathroom walls, all covered in what seems to be miles and miles of crisp, clean subway tile. And I've been noticing a few trends that involve a dark grout. I like the contrast between the white tiles and the way the darker grout allows your eyes to notice the shape and pattern that subway provides. I wanted to try to use this inspirational look and apply it to my DIY Kitchen Redo in an affordable and DIY-Friendly manner.

Because my 1950's kitchen already offers a tile backsplash, though it's not a subway pattern and it unfortunately extends to the counters and even down into my cupboard area (whoever thought a tile lip was attractive back then, I can't imagine their reasoning behind it...) I figured I could still get that crisp, modern look by using grout paint to darken my grout. I admit, this was a huge change and involved a lot of risk. But I did not really feel the brevity of my decision until I was well into the project. Let's take a look at the basics:

Here is my kitchen backsplash and counters and weird, overlapping, tile-lip as they stood before my outrageous grout-paint endeavor:

And here a few inspirational pics from Pinterest, so you can get inside the craziness that was my idea:

Photo credit: Door Sixteen
Photo credit: HomeDit
Photo credit: ElleDecor
Grout paint is a fairly easy to use product, the directions are simple and the process involves little more than a clean toothbrush, damp rag and a reasonable block of time to work. The product I work with is called Polyblend's Grout Renew and can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Again, I've used it before and felt comfortable, so I just started working.

Step One: Pour a small amount of the paint onto a paper plate. 
Using a new, clean toothbrush, gently apply a small amount of the paint to the bristles, and remove excess using a circular motion on a clean area of the plate.
Apply the grout paint to the grout using a soft, back-and-forth movement, much like brushing your teeth!
Work in small areas. Wipe away excess paint using a soft, damp cloth. Follow up with a quick paper towel buff.
Here you can see the area where excess paint has been wiped and also where it hasn't. 
All excess paint wiped away.
Danielle was actually painting the cabinet interiors while I was grout painting, so I had another person with me who could offer an honest opinion. At first, we both agreed it was working. But as I continued to work along the backsplash, I just wasn't getting that "Oh my gosh, YES I LOVE THIS" feeling... In fact, I started to silently panic. Danielle encouraged me to continue painting until the entire backsplash was finished so that we would be able to see how everything looked and make a better decision.

So I continued on until all of the grout in the backsplash was completed.

And then we stepped back to look.

And I wasn't in love.

Here are few shots after everything was painted:

The area behind the sink had not been wiped yet because the paint was not sticking as easily here; most likely due to the higher amount of moisture near the sink.

Major disappointment. I honestly think that the size of the grout lines, and uneven texture, paired with the black tile-border I really didn't notice before the grout was darker, gave a very dated feel to the space. It just wasn't the look I was going for.

This is not where the story ends either. Because now that I was unhappy with the results, I had to fix them. And let me tell you, covering a dark grout, with a lighter grout... not so easy.

I was able to take back the color I had purchased, and exchange it for a lighter color. Easy peasy. But getting the light color to cover up all of that dark grout? Nightmare. Here are some pics as of today, after 2 coats:

Still seeing a lot of dark grout paint. But like any DIY project, you have to put in the work to get the results you want. And with any big change, there is risk.

Stay tuned here on the blog and on our Facebook as I work to complete this project and many others in my Kitchen Redo! And as always, be sure to offer your own input and questions in our Comments section!


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