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November 19, 2009

Mid-Century Bathroom Renovations – Regrouting and Repairing Our Pink Tile

Since my parents are coming to spend Thanksgiving with us, Tom and I decided this past weekend that we had better fix up the pink bathroom.  The state of the floor tile has been getting steadily worse since we moved in, and we really wanted to take care of it before it took any more damage.  As you can see, it wasn’t doing well at all.

Grouting Pink Bathroom 001

Luckily, we had the missing piece from the left corner where you can see the adhesive underneath. It is out for this picture because we had the people at Sherwin Williams mix up some matching paint for it.  I read somewhere that after you fix a crack in tile you can paint it with a matching paint to blend it in.  I am not sure if it is going to work, but since we don’t have the option of replacing tiles, we are going to have to try it.

Grouting Pink Bathroom 004

As you can see here, the ground around the edge of the floor is gone.  Some of the bathroom already looked like this, and Tom and I took the rest out with a utility knife and a Dremel tool loaned to us by a friend. 

Grouting Pink Bathroom 004aHere is a close-up of the grout line.

We were originally going to take out the grout on the entire floor, but it isn’t in that bad of shape so we decided to just do the corners before my parents came to visit and save the bulk of the project for later in the winter. You know, when it is freezing cold and snowing and we don’t have anything to do anyway?  Ah, I love Michigan.

Grouting Pink Bathroom 007

Here is Tom grouting around the edge of the floor. We ultimately decided on gray because is was the original color of the floor grout.  Unfortunately, the gray we chose had a little bit more blue in it than the original, but Tom told me to stop obsessing about it and get to work, so I decided it wasn’t that big of a deal. 🙂

Grouting Pink Bathroom 010

Here it is with the new line of grout around the edge.  I am happy with it, it doesn’t stick out like I thought it would, and hopefully it will protect the tiles against the wall a little better.

Grouting Pink Bathroom 006

After that we gathered up all the pieces of the damaged tile and glued them together as best we could. It was a pain in the butt, and there was quite a bit of swearing involved.  Some of the pieces just wouldn’t go in, or wanted to break into smaller pieces and get Tom in trouble.

“What do you mean, it broke?  I have been nursing and coddling that thing for weeks to keep it together!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it just broke!”

“Here, just get out of the way and let me do it.”

“No way, I don’t want you to go all Gilda Radner on me and get stuck to everything.”

(For those of you who haven’t seen that episode of the Muppet Show, Gilda goes to Muppet Labs and gets stuck to everything sight with Bunson and Beakers experimental adhesive.  It is one of Tom’s favorite episodes.)

In the end, we got it all down and patched up.

Grouting Pink Bathroom 012

Not the greatest, I know, but at least it is all cemented down and stable.  I am hoping the color-matched paint will cover up the glue and the grout well enough that you won’t be able to tell unless you look really close.  We have to wait until the grout cures before painting it, so stay tuned to see the final result. Here’s hoping!!!

Oh, and here is Gilda’s final number from the Muppet Show, when she is all glued up.  God, sometimes I love YouTube!

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15 Responses to Mid-Century Bathroom Renovations – Regrouting and Repairing Our Pink Tile

  1. Barbara Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for the paint idea! I have a broken GREEN tile in my bath, and wondered how I could cover it up. What kind of adhesive did you use?

    If you seal your grout, it will last longer, ‘specially in a bathroom!!

  2. sablemable Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Ooh, I think you guys did a fab job! God I love pink bathrooms!

  3. Annie B. Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I’m tickled pink that your restoration was successful! That’s gotta be the coolest bathroom in the world.

    Looks like you have one of those vintage bathroom wall heaters. Those things are amazing. We have them, too, but they’ve not been used in years; kinda scared that they might electrically fry the entire house if we turned one on. We have no tiled bathrooms in our pseudo-rancho; just those nasty sheetrocked walls covered in about 90 pounds of mildew-resistant paint. I dream of pink tile.

  4. Andrea Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    This is a very timely post for me, as we need to redo the grout on our bathroom tile. Over the summer, I stripped SEVEN layers of paint from it (and I still want to smack the previous owners who thought it was a good idea to paint over tile!).

    We are waiting until winter when it’s really cold and there’s nothing else to do as well (I’m in Alberta, Canada), but it definitely needs to be done this winter!

    How did you find the utility knife/dremel combo was for removing the old grout? We bought a weird grout removal tool, but I am not convinced that it is going to be useful …

  5. Sara in AZ Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Awesome job guys, I think the bathroom looks great! You do have the best bathrooms EVER!!! Please post pics when you paint over the repaired pieces of pink tile.

    PS – The Muppet show is the BEST!!!

  6. RetroRuth Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks, everyone! Hopefully the other bathrooms will be as (relatively) easy as that one.

    Barbara – We just used an adhesive that we found at Lowes. We were originally going to go with an epoxy, but we always end up gluing our fingers together so we went with something by DAP that we found. And we are planning on sealing the grout! 🙂

    Annie – Those wall heaters are crazy, aren’t they? Ours get wickedly hot, even on the lowest setting. Our peach master bath is so small I don’t have to bother with the heater, but guests have said they appreciate the one in the pink bathroom.

    Andrea – We used a super thin disc on the dremel to loosen the grout, and then the blade of a utility knife to scrape it away. We were super careful about the tile, but ended up putting a few dings in it anyway. I am hoping the paint will cover those. The grout saw we bought was competely useless, mostly because it was way to thick. What color are your tiles under all that paint? Pink?

    Sara- I am already planning a post for the painted tile, now I just have to actually paint them. 🙂 I adore the Muppet Show!

  7. Barbara Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for the info! Now, more questions: Was it a “general” adhesive, like “liquid nails” or a tile adhesive? And what kind of paint? Glass paint or regular wall paint?

    You give me WAY too many ideas!! Stop that! 🙂

  8. RetroRuth Reply

    November 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Hey Barbara!

    It was StrongStik Instant Grab Adhesive by DAP, which is just a general adhesive. And then we grouted over the adhesive line with white grout to fill in the spaces and strengthen it. The paint is just regular wall paint, but I am not sure if it is going to work yet! Here’s crossing my fingers….

  9. Andrea Reply

    November 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks Ruth! Good to know – that was my fear with the grout saw, as once i got it home, it did look way too thick, our tiles are spaced quite close together. I’ve got a Dremel and a set of bits, so we’ll give that a go.

    No, I am not lucky enough to have pink tiles! They are blue and white. Not original to the house, I am guessing these to be a late 60s/early 70s tile, but I like them. The funny part is that prior to scraping all of the paint off, we had painted the rest of the bathroom blue – once I got the paint off of the tiles I discovered that they couldn’t have matched the blue that I had painted the walls better if I had actually tried to match!

  10. Kathy Marie Reply

    April 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Hello–Uhm, sorry to say this but your repair may to be redone shortly. Anytime you have a change of plane with a tile field (corners, wall to floor joints) don’t grout it, *caulk* it. The tile acts like a concrete sidewalk, it expands and shrinks with temperature. Using flexible caulk in the joint allows movement without cracking–that’s probably why the grout cracked in the first place. IMHO, the best DIY site on the web is the John Bridge tile forums, they’ve helped me a lot.
    That said, we’re trying to re-do a pink fixture bathroom, we have the tub/toilet, bought a sink and salvaged maybe 100 sq ft of pink tile over 3 1/2 years. We’re going to fill in with biscuit 6x6s, we are finally ready to tile and I’m trying to find some design ideas/motifs.

    So I *adore* your bathroom–enjoy, enjoy!! IMO you have a TREASURE!!
    Kathy Marie

  11. lisa Reply

    April 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    hi Ruth! this is funny – my pink bathroom in my 1960 built wyandotte, mi house looks EXACTLY like this – same tiles, same floor! where in michigan are you from? thankfully we haven’t had to do any tile repairs. we probably had the same house builders!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      April 13, 2010 at 10:15 am

      Hi Lisa!!

      I am from Midland, and it is totally possible we had the same builders! 🙂 Send me some pics of your bathroom and your house, I will feature them on the blog!

  12. Karen Reply

    February 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Just curious how the pink paint for the pink bathroom tile turned out. We have a similar situation and are looking for a fix. Thanks!

  13. Holly Reply

    November 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Love the pink bathroom.

  14. Ann Carrellas Reply

    June 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I bought a 1958 ranch with a pink bathroom and a blue bathroom both mudset in December. I need to regrout both. I think our Pinks match! I love my home and live in Ann Arbor. Looking forward to hearing more about mid century homes.

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