Bathrooms

Gazette: Trade plumbing header

 

Three Ways to Refresh Bathroom Tiles

More than any other room in the house, a bathroom needs to be kept clean and presentable. But even the most fastidious housekeeper might find that after a good cleaning the bathroom still looks dull and dingy. Over time, bathroom surfaces lose their protective sealants and become porous. This is especially noticeable on the grout and tiles where dirt, water and oils from bare feet leave unsightly grime. But don't worry. Try these techniques to get your bathroom clean and looking like new.

The Natural Way

If the dirt hasn't penetrated too deeply, then a mild abrasive scrub might be all that it takes to restore your grout. Make a paste out of baking soda and peroxide. Use gloved hands to spread the paste onto your grout and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush. The peroxide will whiten while the baking soda acts to cut through grime. When you're done, rinse well with a terrycloth rag.

Heavy Cleaners

There are many cleaners on the market that can be used on tile. The hardware store has shelves full of heavy duty chemical cleaners that are made specifically for tile and grout. The drawback is that these cleaners usually contain bleach or other harsh chemicals, so you must wear old clothes and work in a well-ventilated area. This is particularly true in small bathrooms and a fan should be used to bring in fresh air. Wear gloves and take care to keep the product off your skin.

Grout Pens

Grout pens are available at hardware stores and are a quick way to get instant results. The pens contain a solution that covers over the old grout like paint. It is best used around glazed tiles with narrow grout lines. It's not meant for porous tile as the colour can bleed into the tile work.

Regrout

If your grout is chipped or cracked, or just too old to be brightened with a cleaning, then it's time to regrout. First, the surface of the old grout must be removed. A grout saw is an inexpensive tool that removes the top layer of material so that new grout can be applied. After filing away as much grout as possible, use a vacuum to remove the debris. Then use a rag to clean the tile, rinsing as often as needed to remove residue.

Purchase a grout mix that matches the colour of your old grout. Mix the grout according to package instructions. Use a grout spreader, held at a forty-five degree angle, to pull the grout into the space where the old grout was removed. Let this dry and then wipe off any residue with a damp rag.

Whatever method you choose to refresh your tile, be sure to follow it up with a coat of grout sealant. That way dirt can be easily washed off the surface and won't leave stains.

 

Choosing and Hanging a Bathroom Mirror

If you’ve already spent a lot of time and money on your bathroom, or even if you haven’t, the task of hanging a new mirror might not seem like one that requires much thought. The truth is, however, that selecting the right mirror is just as important as choosing a bathroom suite or tiling the walls. An attractive mirror can provide the perfect finishing touch to your bathroom and even add value to your home, as it’s a well known fact that potential buyers are often swayed by great kitchens and bathrooms.

Choosing the right mirror

There are several factors to consider when choosing a bathroom mirror. While you will probably want it to be decorative in some way, it must also serve a functional purpose, for shaving or applying makeup, etc. This means that it needs to be of an adequate size and positioned so that everyone who uses it can see what they are doing. If you’re going to hang the mirror over a sink or vanity unit, the proportions of that unit should also be taken into account. A mirror wider than the unit below it, for example, will usually look wrong. Last but not least, you will want a style of mirror – traditional or modern, simple or ornate – that compliments the rest of your bathroom.

Hanging the mirror

When you are satisfied that you have chosen the perfect mirror, you can turn your attention to the business of hanging it. It’s important to get this right, as humid conditions can take their toll on insecure fittings, putting a badly-installed mirror in danger of crashing to the floor. The method you use will differ very slightly depending on the type of mirror you have selected, but all methods involve fixing screws in the wall to hang the mirror. Some mirrors have holes drilled in the corners, through which you can insert special decorative screws. Others use brackets or perhaps a wire if the mirror is framed like a picture. Brackets are usually supplied with the mirror, but can be bought from a hardware store if not. The size and weight of the mirror will determine how many brackets should be used.

Step 1 - Finding the right position

Begin by marking the wall with a pencil where you want your screws to go. For this, you will need someone to help you judge the right position for the mirror and a spirit level to check your accuracy.

Step 2 - Drilling the holes

If your wall is tiled, place masking tape over the pencil marks before you drill, and use a masonry drill bit or a drill bit designed specifically for use with ceramic tiles. Taking these measures should prevent breaking or splitting of the tile. When you’re happy with the position of your pencil marks, you can drill your holes.

Step 3 - Securing the mirror

Insert rawl plugs into the holes, fit the screws in place, and hook your brackets or wire onto the screws. If you wish, you can add a special mirror adhesive, available in most good DIY stores, for extra hold.

Once your mirror is on the wall, stand back and admire your handiwork! By taking the time to consider your choice and hang your mirror correctly, you will have enhanced your bathroom and your home for a very small outlay.