Friday, December 28, 2007

All Will Be Revealed!

Clean Tiles!
Originally uploaded by gimbler
Final update on the the peroxide/tile treatment:

I promise this will be the last post about this subject this year (snicker...).
The peroxide treatments didn't make the tiles "look like new". In fact cleaning all the dark crazed spiderweb looking areas revealed every other little flaw they had. There are some minor edge chips that became more apparent after grouting, a few shallow chips here and there right in the faces of the tiles. There are a few hairline cracks...

After buying a heat gun and coaxing out a crazy amount of old caulk between the tiles and the tub I found that the tiles were pretty roughly cut along their bottoms to make way for the tub.

Our house was built in 1920 and our toilet (a Standard Purimo) is dated 1929. I suspect this tub was added as part of that early remodel. I wonder now if we really should have had a clawfoot tub? Oh well... If wishes were horses beggars would ride...

I still can't get the old pitted fixtures off and I hate to call a plumber for such a small job, but it may come to that.

Overall, I'm very happy with the results. I won't be embarrassed or have to explain that the bathroom isn't really dirty anymore.

So, in closing - here's the breakdown: 30% peroxide cream from a beauty supply store - really cheap. I paid about $15 for a gallon of it. It's wicked stuff and not at all like the 3% peroxide you buy in a brown bottle at the drugstore. If you decide to do this invest in a couple pairs of disposable gloves. It'll turn your skin whiter than my tiles - and a lot quicker! Ventilation is really a must.

Heat is the key - you'll definitely need a heat lamp or space heater pointing right at the area you're cleaning.

Also - I applied a tile sealer designed for porous tiles before and after re-grouting. I'm hoping that this will prevent any more gunk from making it's way behind the glazing. I'll let you know in about six months how that works out.

And one more thing - a couple of people asked me whether I'd tried chlorine bleach. No.

Here's why - chlorine bleach, if not completely neutralized will eat the tiles away from the inside out. It would not have been practical to expect to get every trace of the bleach out from behind the glazing so I didn't want to risk it. I think I would have rather let my husband go at the walls with an 8 pound sledge before trying bleach. If you've ever seen an old piece of pottery leaching out little white "flakes" that come off easily but seem to grow back - that piece of pottery was soaked in bleach at some point.

Quick recap: Bleach bad. Peroxide good, but not for your skin or nose.

I'm off now to eat some Cestone's pizza! Yay!


Sandy said...

I didn't know that about bleach. Thanks for the tip!

jonathan said...

Thanks for the tip on the bleach! We use Tilex on the tile in our second floor bathroom on the walls, but it doesn't need to be cleaned all that often. I'll have to check to see if Tilex and similar products have the same problem.

We are in said...

If the glazing on the tile is in good shape I don't think Tilex will hurt anything. I'm not sure how much bleach is in Tilex, but my grandmother who was a real stickler wouldn't let me near her bathroom with it. She was a "Scrubbing Bubbles" girl!

I'll never be the housekeeper she was and I came to terms with that years ago - but, in my humble opinion, the bleach is only dangerous if it can get behind the glaze into the ceramic body of the tile.

Our tile is so heavily crazed that any chlorine bleach products are a definite no-no.

StuccoHouse said...

You know that crazing actually makes old tiles & fixtures more desirable (i.e. valuable), right? Oxyclean works very well on old tiles & fixtures :-)

I just about had a heart attack when I read that you were considering gutting your tile!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for writing this post. I have the same kind of tile in my 1935 bathroom. I like it a lot, but would like it even better if it looked cleaner and brighter.

beckydoshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beckydoshi said...

Hey- I'm still working up the nerve to tackle the subway tiles in the bathroom.

I was just wondering what order you id things in.

I was thinking this:
1. peroxide the tile walls
2. pick out the old grout
3. regrout

How does the tile look 6 months after this project?