Repairing cracked grout with HomeAdvisor.

This is a sponsored post for HomeAdvisor written by myself.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Being a homeowner has its rewards but its also not for the faint of heart.  You never know when your water heater is going to go out or your furnace will need a tune-up.  You have to be ready for this little catastrophe’s mentally and financially.

This is one of those stories where I thought I had the end-all, fix-all solution to a home improvement problem and blogged about it.  Turns out, I didn’t.
In my own defense, turns out there may not be an end-all, fix-all solution to this problem after having consulted with a few professionals.  The past few months I’ve been noticing the silicone caulk around our main bathroom tub and and kitchen counter crack.  2 1/2 years ago I wrote this post about choosing the right grout.  Fast forward to 2015 and it has cracked again.


Several professional tile people had told us that where ever tile butted up to an angle such as tile to tub, tile to window…then you’re supposed to use a silicone grout in a tube.  In this day and age tubs are commonly manufactured out of materials that aren’t as durable as their old cast-iron counterparts.  This tub is made of fiberglass and has just a little bit of give to it…especially when three boys are beating the heck out it. The theory behind using silicone grout is that it is supposed to have some give and flex when the tub moves.

Bathroom cracked grout

Having lived with silicone grout seams I can tell you it’s not all it claims to be.  Over time, silicone gets old and looses it’s elasticity.  You can see I could stick my fingernail between the tub and the tile where the grout had separated.  In similar fashion the grout was also cracking where the tile meets the window.  It’s so important to repair your grout at first sign of break down because water can get through the cracks and be a potential mold and/or water damage issue down the road.


Instead of DIY’ing it myself this time I decided to call a professional.
Who did I call? (Ghostbusters).
I turned to my trusty site…

HomeAdvisor Logo

my favorite free online source to finding trusted home professionals.  I called four people and settled on the Grout Doctor.

Grout Doctor

He had some good reviews on HomeAdvisor’s site plus gave me quite an education about grout when he made his first visit to inspect.

In a nutshell, he told me neither sanded/un-sanded grout or silicone were wrong answers.  Fiberglass tubs just have a lot of give to them and grout separation is nearly impossible to avoid.  He told me he has used both and neither have a 100% guarantee however he prefers sanded/un-sanded because it lasts longer and holds up better to silicone.  Unfortunately it may be an on-going issue that we need to plan in to our home maintenance routine every so many years.

This is totally a doable DIY project.  However, if you’d rather have a professional tackle it then I would recommend finding a good source on HomeAdvisor.

The first thing the Grout Doctor did was score and cut out all the cracked grout.




After all the old grout was removed not only did he clean up the mess but he deep cleaned all the tile and grout in the shower surround and backsplash.  All the soap scum clad tiles…clean!

Grout Doctor

 Next, he re-grouted all the places where he cut the old grout out.  The couple hundred dollars I paid was WELL worth it after seeing all the quality work and time he spent on the areas.



Read my other reviews with HomeAdvisor:

-Installing a pendant light fixture with HomeAdvisor.

-Installing a wood plank wall with HomeAdvisor. (Part 1, Part 2).

Corner floating shelves with the help of HomeAdvisor.

You also may remember I had the opportunity to fly out to Denver to help HomeAdvisor shoot 20 short DIY videos.

HomeAdvisor Logo

This one will teach you a quick and easy way to clean grout:

  1. How to Paint Around Trim 
  2. 4 Painting Home Hacks
  3. How to Clean Grout
  4. Difference Between Caulking and Weather Stripping
  5. 3 Natural Pesticides 
  6. How to Remove a Scratch from Wood Floors 
  7. How to Remove Stains from Carpet
  8. 3 Carpet Cleaning Tips
  9. Easy Way to Hang a Picture
  10. How to Hang a Gallery Wall 
  11. How to Spackle a Wall 
  12. 5 Projects that Cost Less Than a TV 
  13. How to Paint Chevron Stripes 
  14. 7 Ways to Use WD-40
  15. 3 Ways to Cut Energy Costs
  16. How to Hang a Wreath Without a Nail 
  17. 5 Uses for Baking Soda 
  18. How to Refinish Cabinets 

DIY Window Garden Boxes.

Hello, hello!
Kids are all back in school. Woo hoo, let’s blog!
Remember the post about my plans for our shed makeover in conjunction with my ACE Hardware big summer project?
Well, today I’m sharing our cedar window grow boxes we constructed…and I emphasize “OUR”.
This was the perfect family project (minus the oldest because he was pouting the whole time.  There’s always one).

4men1lady boys

I have to show off my little men,
1). Because they’re darn cute and 2). if these kiddos can help out you know this is a totally doable project.

You may remember we constructed and installed some cedar window boxes on the front of our house earlier this summer.


We did the same thing for our shed but made them slightly smaller.

Quick revisit:


This is our vanilla-boring grade Tuff shed.  (Mini-trampoline on the side not included).
The windows are high (and sort of tacky) so to break up some of that real estate we decided to make and install some small garden boxes to go under the windows.

The wood of choice for this project is cedar.  It’s a little more pricey but cedar is probably the best choice for outdoor projects for a few reasons.  Cedar smells wonderful but pests and insects don’t feel the same way so it’s a natural repellant.  It’s also a sturdy wood and won’t warp like other woods do.

Here is the finished result.


The boxes measure 35″w X 9.5″d X 7″h.  We also painted ours with a coat of Clark + Kensington’s “Silent White” from ACE Hardware.

To get started you’ll need the following pieces:
(Most lumber or hardware stores will cut these down for you for free).

-2 – 7/8″ cedar boards @ 7″ x 7″ (these will be the sides).
-2 – 7/8″ cedar boards @ 35″ x 7″ (these will be the front and back).
-1 – 7/8″ cedar board @ 33 1/4″ x 7″ (this will be the bottom).

Optional trim pieces:
-2 – 1″x2″ cedar boards cut @ 35″ and 2 @ 4.5″.


When putting all sides together you’ll want to pre-drill before sinking screws.
We used #8, 2 inch deck screws because they’re not supposed to corrode or rust…especially important because they’ll be outside in the elements. Screws

The construction of this is really pretty easy.  It’s just a box without a top.  I came up with a diagram to help illustrate the process.

Diagram 1

How to screw boards


Once you’ve done those steps you will have a box.  Adding trim is totally optional.  It doesn’t add or detract to the function, it’s just purely decorative.


Using 1 x 2’s of cedar we trimmed out the front edges of our boxes with a simple rectangle.  If you want to replicate this design you’ll need 2 – 1″x2″ cedar boards cut @ 35″ and 2 @ 4.5″.  You could use smaller screws to attach the trim but we used our Craftsman Nail Gun to secure them.  Because I was planning on painting the boxes I used wood filler to fill the holes then I sanded them down.  If you choose to stain the boxes you may not want to fill the holes because the wood accepts stain differently than wood filler.  Even if you use stainable wood filler it still looks different (and by “different” I mean ugly).  But, since we painted ours…not an issue.

To attach the boxes to the shed you it’s first important to determine what you’re going through.  If you’re going through brick you’ll need to use masonry screws.  It’s also important to know what’s on the other side.  We were fortunate that the studs were visible on the inside of the wall.  If there’s no stud you’ll have to use heavy duty anchors.  The friendly folks at ACE Hardware can help you determine what to use.

We first pre-drilled our holes.  Make sure the drill bit you’re using is smaller than the actual screw.  The purpose of pre-drilling is to make it easier for the screw to go in but more importantly to avoid your wood splitting when using the screw.


We used this baby with a washer.  I really don’t know what size it is because we found them in the nuts and bolts junk drawer.  Long enough to go through the thin wall and sink into the stud.  The washer provide a surface area for the screw head to lay flat against so it doesn’t sag or dig in to the wood over time.


Using a rachet we twisted the screw secure.


One step I forgot to photograph…make sure to drill a few holes for drainage in the bottom of your box.


Once attached I gave them a coat of Silent White by Clark + Kensington from ACE Hardware.


Silent White has become my favorite shade of white as of late.  It’s a good true white that’s not too stark and but not too creamy.

I was a little apprehensive about putting my soil and plants directly in to the boxes so instead, I found these box liners.  They’re perfect because I can take them and replant, weed… I don’t know, whatever gardeners do to keep their plants alive (I’m praying I can play that part).


But they’re totally invisible when in the box.


Full reveal coming next week!

Check out our other DIY Cedar Window Boxes here.

I am a part of ACE Hardware’s blogger panel and I have been compensated for this post and products used.
This post was written by myself.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

My New Saarinen.

One of my most amazing furniture acquisitions while we were in Tucson was this beautiful farm table.


When I found it on Craigslist it was in rough shape. After my own refinishing attempts, sweet Natalie from Natty by Design got her hands on it and brought it back to life. It’s magnificent in every way…one solid piece, thick chunky legs, hand-crafted, two drawers, heavy as all get-out…it’s a real gem.


Unfortunately, it just doesn’t fit our current dining space well like it did in our Arizona home. It’s just a tad too big. Instead of using it as a dining table it’s mostly a collection table for homework, backpacks, bills, etc.

The other day I was browsing a local antique furniture store and came across this vintage Saarinen table. I’ve wanted a real-deal tulip table for years.  It’s a modern classic.  Despite the fact that the base and table top had been sprayed with a primer only and it was in rough shape it was love at first sight.


The edges of the table are hammered which is fine because it’s a tad too big anyway.


I need to find someone who can shave a few inches off without hacking it up.  If I had my druthers I would have the metal base powder coated and find a white Calacatta marble top.  By the time I’m done with it I may have ended up investing the same amount of money it would cost to buy an actual Knoll Saarinen table.  However, there’s something deeply satisfying about putting your own signature on a piece.  It’s the knowing that yours is totally unique and something no one else has because you put your own sweat and tears into making it beautiful.
(That’s what I tell myself at least when I add up the receipts in the end).

In the meantime, it’s sitting on our back patio while I research the best way to refinish it.
Oh, and our farm house table is for sale.
Dimensions: 7 feet long x 40 inches wide x 31 inches tall
Price: $550.
Located in Sandy, Utah.
email: smhinckley(at)yahoo(dot)com
Please buy it so I can get to work on the Saarinen.