They were bad my friends. Like so bad, these pictures don’t really do their grossness justice.
As you can see, the off-white tile had dark brown grout. Not an attractive combination.
The walls and back-splash were all yellowed out paint that only made said grout / tile look even worse. Everything about the combination of the paint and dark grout made the kitchen feel dirty and dated – very 80’s, and not in a cute Cindy-Lauper-teased-hair-Breakfast-Club kind of way.
Before you can start painting the grout, first you have to clean it, and I’m not talking about wiping it down with a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe. You need to get Sulfamic Acid Cleaner. What is this, you ask? It’s a very smelly, apparently toxic, cleaning agent that will lift YEARS of grime from your grout. I found this out first hand.
As a heads up, this is not a job you can knock out in one night – the cleaning took me several hours at least, and then you have to let the grout dry really well before painting, or the grout paint won’t adhere.
Let’s start by talking about the cleaning process… The container had good instructions on how to mix it up, but not much about what to do after, and I wasn’t able to find much online, so here’s what worked for me:
Wear gloves – don’t try to do this without them. I also wore safety goggles because this stuff seemed pretty toxic and I value my vision. Once you’re all suited up, get your grout wet with water so it will absorb the cleaner evenly. Then mix the Sulfamic Acid per the instructions on the container, and apply to counters with a sponge you will never use again. After applying it to the counters, everything happens pretty quickly. After a few minutes you’ll notice things getting a little gummy. That’s grease. And grime. And unidentifable grossness that has built up over time. This is supposed to happen. Let it. Once it’s really gumming up, start scrubbing. I used a plastic bristle brush and it worked beautifully. Once the gummyness comes up, rinse with clean water. It’s going to take a lot of water, and much more scrubbing, because the grease smears around. It doesn’t just lift off like you think it will. It’s all super fun (insert sarcasm here) but once its clean, you’ll notice a difference. A HUGE difference. Your grout will literally be restored to its original color. Prepare yourself to be shocked. I thought the grout in here was dark brown. It was actually light brown – equally unattractive, and really really gross to think about.
Anyway, once the grout is clean, let it dry out – overnight at least – and then get to painting. Super simple. I used a stiff bristle toothbrush, and you just work the paint into the grout. It will get on the tile. You have two options – wipe it immediately, or let it dry and remove it later.
I started out doing option 1, and it was tedious. Especially since covering brown grout with white paint required two coats for full coverage (3 coats in some places). I found that it was easy enough to get off the tile after it was all dried. I actually let it cure for a few days, then got the counters wet, and the paint on the tiles literally rubbed off with a finger / paper towel. Soooo much easier than wiping as you go, but do what feels right.
Love!! It’s LOVE!! After the counters were looking all clean and new, I decided the walls and back-splash needed some love too. Out came the paint, and a few hours later I was in a bright, clean grey and white haven.
The Polyblend Grout Renew Grout Paint comes in a bunch of different colors (and multiple shades of white), so I bought two and tested them out. I brought home the Antique White and the Snow White colors, because I didnt want the end result to look too white next to our off-white tile. The tiles started out looking really beige but it turned out that they were much more white than I originally thought. After testing both colors of grout paint, I ended up going with the Snow White (which is the whiter one).
As you can see, it’s not jarring, and it looks really natural. In the end, our tile is actually pretty white, and it was just the yellowing walls and disgusting brown grout that made them look so beige. Who knew?!
Anyway, do you want to see a series of before and afters side by side to compare??
That’s the best part of these posts…
Here we go!
And just becuase I knew you wouldn’t be able to get enough of how fresh and lovely our kitchen is looking, I snapped a few more pics “just because”…
Here’s how clean and pretty our sink is looking now…
Like a breath of fresh air I tell you!! I actually enjoy cooking in here now!!
And here we are looking back the other direction from the sink… nothing but clean countertops, all the way down!!
These next two photographs were taken standing behind the stove (in my little desk / office area that I’d posted about here) looking back towards the dishwasher…
And, that’s the update! What do you think?
It’s unfortunately not quite as dramatic in pictures as it is in person, but trust me when I say that a coat of paint on the walls, and grout paint on the counters have transformed this room from a gloomy, dated, grease-fest, to a bright, airy, food sanctuary.
It’s night and day my friends.