Cleaning tip

Have I got a cleaning tip for y’all!

First, a bit of background.  I’ve been griping about the mess the flooring people made when they did the tiling.  Not wiping the tile down real well, resulting in swirls on the tile surface, bits of grout stuck to the tile, and blobs of silicone dropped on the tile.  No amount of elbow grease (or household cleaners) could make this stuff budge.  I had resorted to using a plastic putty knife to scrape the stubborn spots.

My husband was talking to his staff accountant one day (because her daughter is building a house too) about how much trouble I was having getting the tile clean.  She told him the secret to getting the gunk off the tile and I’m going to share it with you.

The secret?

This stuff is a miracle worker.

This stuff is a miracle cleaner.

That’s right.  Distilled white vinegar is the key to getting gunk off your tile floors!  Just mix a little vinegar in a spray bottle with hot water.  I mixed one part vinegar with two parts water (about 1/4 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup water).  Once you’ve got it mixed, just spray a problem spot, then wipe down.  You might have to go over a spot a couple of times to get it completely clean, but the vinegar will degunk your tile.

After the vinegar treated spots dried, I went over them with a damp mop, just to make sure there wouldn’t be any lingering vinegar smell.  I am impressed by the results, I must admit.  I was starting to despair of ever getting the tile completely clean, but this little trick works wonders.  The vinegar took off smears of grout and dried on silicone with relative ease.

I am passing this little trick along to all of you because this is too amazing to keep to myself.  So if you’ve recently had tile floors installed, or your tile just has a lot of built up gunk on it, try this vinegar mix and see for yourself how easily it removes the mess.  You’ll thank me.

Construction gripe

As y’all know, we recently finished our house and moved in.  There are still things that need to be done, which is annoying, but nothing major.  Things like swapping out a cabinet door in the kitchen for one that is the correct size, doing the touch up painting, and so forth.  My biggest gripe at this point is the master shower.

About a week after we moved in, the shower door finally came in and was installed.  We had been using a tension rod and shower curtain so that we could at least use the shower in the meantime.

A few days after the shower door was installed, I noticed that the tile floor outside the shower was damp.  A couple more days went by, then I discovered the source of the problem.

The grout is falling out of the tile in big chunks.  (image by me)

The grout is falling out of the tile threshold in big chunks. (image by me)

I called the flooring company that did the installation and asked that someone come out to look at this mess, then I called my builder and let him know as well.

The tile guys came out on Monday and proposed replacing all the grout with grout caulk.  The caulk is flexible, so it shouldn’t peel and crack.  So they came back on Wednesday, chipped out the grout and applied the caulk.  We had to wait 24 hours before we could use the shower again, and when we did, everything seemed fine.  No damp floor outside the shower.

Problem solved, right?

About a week after they put in the caulk, I noticed again that the floor outside the shower was getting wet.  Then the caulk started separating from the tile all along the threshold.

I went through the same steps as I had previously.  This time the tile guys said that the entire threshold will have to be torn out and redone because the wood that forms the threshold is getting wet and swelling, which is causing the grout/caulk to pull apart.

Currently, I’m waiting for the tile guys to get done with a job they had already started so they can come back and tear out the threshold and replace the wood with concrete.  I’d like to know who the genius was who thought putting wood in a shower frame was a good idea!

The whole thing is very frustrating.  I can deal with the rest of the (minor) things that need touching up, but this is ridiculous.  I expect to be able to use my shower without it leaking all over the place!

In the meantime, until they come back to fix it, I have taped plastic wrap over the worst parts in an attempt to keep it from splitting even more.

Anyone else have a home building horror story they’d like to share?  Tell me about it in the comments!

We’re in!

We had the closing of our house on Thursday, April 18 and moved in on Tuesday, April 23.  We spent the rest of the week unpacking boxes and getting things set up so that we had the basics covered.  Now I’m going through the mountain of boxes in our garage, trying to find a home for the things I unpack.

The finished house (image by me)

The finished house (image by me)

It may currently be a mess, but it’s ours.  And nothing like that poorly built rental we were living in.

All in all, building a house was a good experience.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  So if you’re looking to build, don’t just pick the first builder you come across.  Talk to several.  Talk to the people they’ve built houses for.  Find out what they’re like to work with from people who are in a position to know.

Then when building begins, start making decisions about things like your brick, the paint colors, the interior finishes before the builder needs them.  That way you aren’t the one holding things up while they wait for you to make a decision.  Plus, if things have to be ordered, getting an early start on the decision making process will allow you the time to do so without holding up the construction process.

I reviewed an excellent book about building, written by Amy Johnston, here.  There are other books out there, but this one was one of the better ones I read.

I’m totally unprepared.

I’m nowhere near ready to move before the end of this month.  Usually I’m much more organized about preparing for a move, but I have no idea what’s going on with this move.

For instance, it hit me a few minutes ago that I don’t know who provides the water at our house.  It’s got to be a rural water association, but which one?  Then there’s the question of whether or not AT&T is going to hook up a phone and internet at the new house.  They don’t seem real inclined to help me, which is strange because I’m trying to give them money!

I can at least say that I’ve got a moving company coming to give me an estimate this week.  They’re coming from just outside Jackson and I’ll probably end up using them because the local moving company can’t be bothered to return my call.  What is it with people not wanting my money?

I’m questioning whether or not the house will be ready by next Thursday.  I just don’t see how everything is going to get done between now and then.  There’s still so much that needs to be done.

  • Install the shower door in the master bath. (But first, gotta wait for the shower door to come in!)
  • Finish the wood floors.  (Still have two rooms and a couple of closets left to do.)
  • Finish the tile floors.  (Grout all three bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room.)
  • Trim the floors with shoe molding.  (They’re nearly done with this.)
  • Install the toilets.
  • Tile and grout the kitchen back splash.
  • Tile and grout the master shower.
  • Install the laundry room sink.
  • Hook up all the sinks to the plumbing lines.
  • Install the two water heaters.
  • Install the freestanding vanity in the smallest bathroom.
  • Put the cabinet doors and drawer fronts on.
  • Put the cabinet pulls on.
  • Paint all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.  (They primed them yesterday, so this is at least in process.)
  • Brick the front and back steps.  (Also in process.)
  • Install the dishwasher, vent hood, range and garbage disposal.
  • Install the door locks.  (DONE!)
  • Tile and grout the laundry room counter tops.
  • Tile the fireplace surround.
  • Install the gas log fireplace.
  • Install all the faucets.
  • Hang the mirrors.

This is a lot left to do and there’s only a week left before we close.  I just don’t know how they’re going to get it all done, since this is the detail-oriented stuff that takes the longest to do.

Tomorrow I’m going to call AT&T again and find out what their problem is.  Then I’m going to call DirectTV to set up installation with them.  If I’m feeling the need to be a masochist, I’ll call the local moving company again to try to get an estimate.  The first two I’ll definitely do.  The third?  Maybe.  We’ll see.

Almost there.

The kitchen cabinets have been antiqued. Now the drawers are going in. (photo by me)

The kitchen cabinets have been antiqued. Now the drawers are going in. (photo by me)

The antiquing has made the details really stand out. (photo by me)

The antiquing has made the details really stand out. (photo by me)

The wood floors are going in and the light fixtures are all in too. (photo by me)

The wood floors are going in and the light fixtures are all in too. (photo by me)

The tile still needs to be grouted, but it's all down. (photo by me)

The tile still needs to be grouted, but it’s all down. (photo by me)

The tile for the backsplash and master shower. (photo by me)

The tile for the backsplash and master shower. (photo by me)

We’re only about a week and a half out from our closing date (provided everything goes off without a hitch).

The tile still needs to be grouted and the hardwood installation needs to be finished, then the shoe molding has to be put in.  The toilets have to be installed.  The backsplash in the kitchen and the master shower still need to be tiled.  The sinks have to be hooked up and the vanity for the third bath has to be put in.

The cabinet doors and drawer fronts have to be put on and drawer pulls and knobs added.  The kitchen appliances have to be hooked up.  The storm damaged roof still has to be replaced.  The brick layer has to come back and put in the front and back steps.  Then minor touch ups have to be done and we’ll finally be able to move in!