Hey, look—grout! (And tiles!)

May 16, 2009

Took way too long, but we finally have tiles that pretty much match, and grout and caulking to seal the deal. We spent about six weeks looking for tiles that were indistinguishable from the existing tiles—finally found them at Lowe’s after one of the local tile stores guessed that our chunk of sample tile might be a Dal-Tile color. As it turns out, it’s American Olean, which seems to be pretty exclusively available at the big box stores, but that’s made by Dal-Tile, so not a bad guess. Unfortunately the nearest Lowe’s is in Union City, so it took a while to finally make it out there….luckily they had eight tiles left of this color and size buried on the back of a shelf. We bought all the ones that weren’t chipped, just in case we have to do anything else on this in the future. (The new tiles are the four touching the valve; everything else is old.)

When I finished grouting, I also used a whitener that our hardware store recommended on the old grout to try to get a close match. It still needs to be sealed, but it’s looking pretty good overall. The only big issue has been that our original tiling was done pretty terribly, so lots of tiles aren’t lined up or flush. The funny part is that I never noticed this before, but once we started working with the tile, it became pretty evident, and now I see it every time I look at it. Argh. (D.’s decided that he wants to rip this all out—that would be at some future date after we win the lottery—and retile it with a clawfoot bathtub to fix the look. We’ll see. On the upside? or downside? that means I’m not doing the floor anytime soon, since it’s silly to do it for aesthetic reasons if we might realistically replace the tub at some point.)

New valve and tile

New valve and tile

….and speaking of doing something else on this in the future, it turns out that the nice round plastic piece is supposed to be behind the tile, not in front of it. I’m not sure if this is a problem with our plumber or the depth of our wall and valve, but the end result is that the valve trim that finally came in the mail last week doesn’t fit on the valve. Augh. There’s about a half-inch gap between the escutcheon and the wall. So now we have to figure out a solution to this that hopefully doesn’t involve knocking out the tile and reinstalling the valve.




  1. If the tile was recently set, you could probably (and very, verrrrrrrrry carefully) chisel out the grout and remove the tiles intact, then set the plastic piece. It would certainly involve careful removal of the grout off of the tiles, but it’s possible. Isn’t it wonderful being a homeowner? Who knew that the seemingly simple tasks involved heartache and angst.

  2. Thanks—this may be worth a try (though at this point the grout is several weeks old, so it may be a lost cause). I still haven’t made it over to the plumbing store to explain the problem, so I keep hoping they’ll have a magic solution of an extra-deep escutcheon or something of that nature….we’ll see! There’s also the added headache of not being at all sure we even have the space to move the valve further back in the first place, in which case this becomes an even bigger project….ah well, at least I’ll get more practice at setting tile!

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