My moldy shower and suboptimal DIY ability

posted by Jeff | Sunday, June 23, 2024, 2:41 PM | comments: 0

Our shower was pretty gross. I mean, I give myself a little room, because we were pretty sure it would be demolished anyway. Now that we're questioning our own motivation on that, perhaps we're going to just live with it until we sell the house, let's say six years from now (we don't actually know). There's a part of me that recognizes that it would certainly add value to the house, but as erratic as the markets have been my entire adult life, I'm not sure that I want to go there. Better off putting that money aside. That'll let us prioritize replacing the shitty builder carpet.

One of the problems with the shower is that the grout work isn't great, and that honeycomb tiles on the floor is a nightmare to keep clean. On top of that, the caulk around the edges was cheap stuff, prone to growing things. Also, the guy who once replaced the caulk didn't do so around the glass wall, so water slowly got through and hosed the drywall just outside of the tile. It's all pretty bad.

The remedy starts with stripping off the old caulk, which isn't hard once you let some Goo-Gone caulk remover sit on it for awhile. With a little scraper tool, it comes off pretty easy. The problem is that it wasn't applied particularly cleanly, so there's a thin film of it in places that has to be scraped off. Part of what makes this challenging is the spots under the step on the outside of the shower, and under the edge of the bench. The only way you can really see if you're doing it is to get down there, which is a lot like standing on your head. I think I got 90% of it, but the bottom side of both surfaces is not smooth like the top, and there's a fair amount of black stuff I couldn't get off.

I also noticed that there were spots in the grout that I thought were mold, but were actually small holes. It was particularly bad around the drain, where they did a pretty bad job of cutting the tiles. That said, pre-mixed grout in a tube is really easy to apply, and you just have to wait two days for it to cure. Fortunately we have more than one shower.

My angst though is really toward my inability to cleanly re-caulk everything. You can't do a nice small bead, because the gaps in most corners are pretty large. According to The Internet, the places where the walls and floor meet are the places mostly likely to crack, which is why you need caulk at all. There's a garage door opener literally under the shower, so I guess the potential for problems is real. But on one side in particular, there's a good 3/8" of grout between the floor and the wall. The shorter story is that the caulk is kind of everywhere. I'm gonna need to scrape it off on the wall tile in places, because you can see the same filmy layer I removed in the first place, but worse.

I often find that I'm not good at DIY home improvement. In my own defense, it's not like I do it very often. I've installed some WiFi light switches, and even an in-drawer power strip, but that's about as clever as I get. Well, I did install the glass cleaner in the bar, and the shelves, but that was easy by comparison.


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